Some things survive, though. Classic Disney movies seem to be particularly good at this, being almost as good to watch both as a child and as an adult. But one movie in particular from the Disney canon stands out for me: Robin Hood.
This charming retelling of the classic tale about a rogue from Sherwood Forest had such an impression on me as a child that whenever someone mentions Robin Hood to me I immediately think of a fox in a fetching green tunic, even now. I rewatched the movie recently, and although I hadn't seen it in some 20-odd years I could still remember all the best lines, the best moments, the music...all while seeming to be slightly different from the extra insight and perspective of being an adult now. And you know what? I still love it.
Which is strange: Robin Hood has always been seen as one of the weaker members of the Disney canon, coming out in the company's dark days of the 70s. In fact, Robin Hood was the first feature length movie that Walt Disney himself had no hand in making, having passed away six years prior. Add to this the much-documented financial troubles they were having and the brewing staff troubles (11 of the most prolific animators in the Disney payroll were to walk out 6 years later, including the legendary Don Bluth), must've meant that many audiences and critics sat down to watch Robin Hood expecting something bad from Disney. And you know what they say about expecting something negative...
Well, the thing is, when I was a kid in the late 80s and early 90s I didn't know about any of that, and even if I did I wouldn't have cared. My mind was far too small to care beyond my own small bubble of a world, and all I saw was a delightful story of woodland creatures prattling about a forest and wearing middle-age costumes. Oh sure, looking back now, you can see the telltale signs of a studio in trouble: animations recycled over and over (I lost count of the number of times I saw the same animation of the Sheriff of Nottigham walking towards the camera with different backgrounds, and the musical herald of Prince John is used just as many times), and the style is inconsistent at times: just look at that opening credits sequence and see how the rooster is drawn with a finer pen and far more detail than anybody else there.
But I honestly don't mind this: not only does the scrappy nature of the production add to the charm, but these problems are small fry compared to what is solid storytelling, classic good vs evil without any complications, and moments of genuine darkness that Disney are so, so good at. If you don't get even just a little bit moved by the whole 'Not in Nottingham' song sequence, from the jail to the arrest of Friar Tuck, then you have a heart of stone.
Robin Hood was a huge part of my childhood, and it is one of those rare things which revisiting upon adulthood doesn't break the magic but actually bolsters it. That's the sign of something truly special.