Robin Hood - Prince of Thieves (Blu-ray)

Kevin Costner triumphs as the legendary Sherwood Forest outlaw leader in this epic adventure bringing a 12th-century medieval world to spectacular screen life. Enhancing the fun are 12 added minutes of footage not seen in theatres, especially more juicy malevolence of Robin Hood's archenemy, the Sheriff of Nottingham. Morgan Freeman, Christian Slater, and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio also star in this lavish production lensed in Britain and France, where historic structures, majestic forests, and vividly realistic recreations of Olde England combined to create a world at once ancient and ageless.

Prince of Thieves was a great reboot to the rather played out Robin Hood saga. Instead of retelling the traditional story, it modernized the tale and freshened it up for a new generation. This film stands up remarkably well, and I love Alan Rickman's performance as the Sheriff. I guess we'll have to see if Ridley Scott can do it again with another adaptation next year.

The HD presentation is a bit of a disappointment with a soft look and poor contrast. Blacks are washed out, which hurts the depth and dimension, resulting in an overly flat image. Compression artifacts are never a problem, but unfortunately, it doesn't look much better than a high-quality DVD.

The soundtrack is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1, and I’m thrilled to see Warner including lossless tracks on all its titles. Presentation here is good, but the film's age and sound design keep it from being top grade. Unfortunately, the action lacks the dynamics we’ve become so accustomed to, and the dialog is a bit harsh. Although it pales in comparison with today's best movie sound, this track does have some body, and the surround soundstage is convincing.

Extras include a pair of commentary tracks from the director and various cast members along with a vintage TV special about Robin Hood.. There's also a live performance of the film''s theme song by Bryan Adams that relaunched his career into the stratosphere. Finally, you can watch the film's trailers.

This is a solid Warner catalog title, but the presentation comes up a bit short. Although it's a subtle improvement over the DVD, I was hoping for more.

Release Date:May 26, 2009
Studio: Warner

Movie: 7/10
Picture: 6/10
Sound: 7/10

Review System

Oppo BDP-83 Blu-ray player

Planar PD-8150 DLP projector
120" Stewart StudioTek 130 screen w/Carada Masquerade masking system

Onkyo Pro PR-SC885 pre/pro
Outlaw Model 7900 power amp
Exact Power EP-15A voltage regulator
Exact Power SP15x4 balanced power transformer

Paradigm Reference Signature S8 front L/R
Paradigm Reference Signature C5 center
Paradigm Reference Signature ADP surrounds
Paradigm Reference Signature S6 rears
Dual SVS PB12/2 Plus subs
Dual SVS 25/31 subs

Cables by Accell, Nordost, Blue Jeans, and Better Cables