Posted on 6/27/13 06:25 AM
During the Dark Ages, the King of England dies, leaving England with no heir and no king. Magically, a sword in a stone appears, with a message saying that whoever pulls it out will be the next king. Many try, but they fail.
Many years later, we meet young boy Arthur. or Wart, a orphaned boy raised by knights. He's training to be a squire for his brother Kay, who wants to be a knight. Soon afterwards, Wart meets the Wizard Merlin, who wants to give him a proper education, which become a bother to his guardian, who wants him to do chores in the kitchen. Eventually, Wart ends up in England as a squire, but forgets his brothers sword. He finds the sword in the stone and pulls it out, and the rest goes on from there.
The Sword in the Stone is viewed today as one of Walt's weaker cartoons. I don't feel this as one of his best either, but it's certainly not his worst (Alice in Wonderland, I'm looking at you). There are many things to like about this film. The characters are memorable, especially Merlin, his pet owl Archimedes, and the evil wizard Madam Mim. In the best scene in the film, Merlin and Mim compete in a wizard's duel, a scene featuring great animation, even if the animation isn't as strong as previous Disney films.
The film also features some good comic relief. Some sequences feature Merlin turning Wart into various creatures to get a good point of view on animals. Wart turns into a fish, a bird, and a squirrel. The squirrel sequence is highly entertaining, with Wart being constantly annoyed by a female squirrel, who has a crush on him. Even funnier is Merlin's annoyance with an older female squirrel. Other humor comes from the owl, who is one of the funniest sidekick characters in a Disney film.
However, there are some issues in this film. First off, I had a small problem with the Wart character. Why is it that he is voiced by three different actors, when his character doesn't age in the film. Some people call that puberty, I call it as something that makes no sense.
One of the things that make a Disney film work are the songs in the film. Here the songs are written by the legendary Sherman Brothers, famous for writing songs in other Disney films like Mary Poppins, The Jungle Book, and The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh. In The Sword in the Stone, the songs are some of their weakest. With the exception of "Hokity Pokity Wokity Wak", everything else is forgettable and dull. Every time I hear "That's What Makes The World Go Round", I just want to bang my head against the wall.
While not one of Disney's best films, The Sword in the Stone does succeed as an entertaining Disney film nonetheless.