Highlights: I’m really into Arthurian legend (my cat is named Merlin), so I have a soft spot for the Sword in the Stone. It’s a cute movie, and stays very close to the book it’s based on, “The Once and Future King.” Merlin is a great character. His whimsy and fun is captured perfectly, and he’s quite humorous as well. The film has a very British feel throughout, which makes sense and they did it well. The film is extremely lighthearted and enjoyable, the animation is good, but it’s probably not the sort of Disney movie you would want to watch again and again. At the ending of the movie is when I really want it to keep going, and to get into the knights of the round table and all of that, but alas, being a kid’s movie, that is when it ends.
Low Points: As fun as The Sword in the Stone is, the problem the movie has is the same problem I had with the first part of the book – not much happens. There is very little plot. The important events in this section can be summed up in about one sentence. Disney actually greatly benefits from adding in Madam Mim, who makes the film interesting and exciting. Otherwise it’s just turning into different animals and exploring, and sort of feeling bad for Arthur who is picked on by his foster brother Kay.
Music: This one is woefully low on good music, with just a few songs which are easily forgotten. There is a very short, but beautiful opening number sung over the opening credits, and then most of the songs are Merlin’s, though they are often spoken lyrics, which does not always make for great music. Mim also has a song that is pretty forgettable.
Villain Rating: The original story didn’t have a villain, so Disney added in Mad Madam Mim – a smart move for them. Though she isn’t all that scary and mostly comes off as quite silly, she is entertaining and makes things interesting. There are a few moments where we greatly dislike her – after all, who creates rules for a game and then immediately breaks them herself? Overall, however, we know Merlin will outsmart her in the end. She also doesn’t come into play in the movie until the very end, and then she just has a quick scene. Unlike other Disney villains, she is not a lingering force throughout the film. I would have loved to see a more present, powerful villain.
Fun Fact: This marks the final animated film that was released before Walt Disney’s death in 1966.
Where in the World: For some reason, The Sword in the Stone did not really catch on very well, though it was popular when it came out in 1963, so it’s not all that prevalent in the parks. Most notably there is a sword in a stone located in the Magic Kingdom, right in front of the carousel in Fantasyland.
My rating: 7.5 out of 10. A cute, fun movie, but not one that blows me away.
Mark Brown says
I forgot about this project of yours, lol!
I love this movie too and the Wizard’s Duel is either my first or second most favorite scene in any Disney movie.
[email protected] says
Yeah, I had so many other things going on that I hadn’t updated in awhile! The duel is definitely the best scene of the movie 🙂
Rachel Wagner says
I think this one is overrated. I agree with your feelings about the ending. I just don’t get how any of the lessons helped him become king or pull the sword in the stone? It doesn’t make any sense. The music is fun and duel is well done (but not Arthur’s duel so again how does it help him pull the sword?).
It’s also very blue and gray so artistically it isn’t my favorite. I don’t get why it is so popular.
[email protected] says
I actually never thought of this movie as popular. I don’t hear people talk about it much and I have only vague memories of it as a child. I do think the original story of King Arthur has so much potential that they could have done something really impressive with it, but the movie does feel like a bunch of random stuff thrown together, and then the famous ending that everyone knows. Have you read the book the Once and Future King? It’s been awhile since I read it but I think I remember it being similarly disjointed in the beginning.