The Sword In The Stone (1963) Movie Review
Have you read the story of King Arthur back in high school? I believe most of us did. King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table was one of those fictional stories we have stumbled upon. The legend of a young boy drawing the sword of Excalibur in stone and becoming king.
Of course, who wouldn't forget about Merlin, the wizard? If you go to Disneyland theme parks, his image is always there.
This Disney film has, of course, the fairy tale aspect of it.
The movie starts with a brief narration about the King of England, Uther Pendragon, dying and leaving an empty throne. Then a sword magically appears stuck in an anvil stuck in a stone. Inscribed on the blade is a message that whoever removes it will become the King of England. Many people attempted to draw the sword but failed.
A young boy named Arthur went out to hunt with his foster brother Sir Kay. Due to his clumsiness, Sir Kay missed shooting the deer with his arrow and told Arthur to fetch it in the forest. As the young boy retrieves the arrow, he meets an old wizard named Merlin, who lives with his talking pet owl, Archimedes. Due to Arthur's lack of education, Merlin becomes his tutor. He also escorts him back to his home in a castle run by a prideful Sir Ector. Sir Pelinore, Ector's friend, announced that there would be a skirmish competition, and whoever wins will be declared king. Ector asks Kay to join while Arthur becomes his squire.
Merlin teaches Arthur different things. First, they both transform themselves into fish to educate him about physics. Then to learn about gravity, they both turned to squirrels. Merlin tries to become Arthur's full-time tutor, but the young boy gets confused when the wizard reveals his knowledge about future history. He soon transforms Arthur into a sparrow to learn how to fly with Archimedes. An accident causes the boy to meet Mim, a witch, and Merlin's rival. Merlin arrives, and the two engage in a duel of transformations. Even though Mim cheated, Merlin was able to outsmart her to illustrate the importance of knowledge over strength.
At the competition, Sir Ector reinstates Arthur as Kay's squire, which angers Merlin because he chooses games over education. He transports himself to the 20th century, leaving Arthur alone.
At the tournament, Arthur clumsily forgets Kay's sword. He went to fetch it back, but Archimedes saw the Sword In The Stone. Arthur removes the sword effortlessly and unknowingly fulfilled the prophecy. The tournament is halted, and Sir Ector demands Arthur put the sword back to prove that the feat he did is not a trick. He pulls it once again and is revealed to be the rightful king of England.
The newly crowned King Arthur with Archimedes sits on the throne. He feels unprepared for the enormous responsibility. Merlin returns from his vacation and vows to teach him to become a great king.
This film is almost too nostalgic for me. I remember owning a storybook, and I got fascinated by the story of Arthur and the Sword in the Stone.
I liked the film despite its short runtime. It starts slow but builds up until Arthur pulls the sword. It was fun and engaging. I was smiling throughout the movie.
Madam Mim is a pretty terrifying character. I like her as a semi-villain, and she looks scary, significantly when she transforms into different animals. I wouldn't say I enjoyed Arthur's foster family; they are an annoying bunch of side characters you want to throw out of the story. But of course, the stars of the show are still Arthur and Merlin, both are incredible. But I guess Merlin became more famous because his character transcends to video games and Disney's theme parks.
The animation is okay. I like it because I think it is way ahead of its time. The character movements may be pretty robotic, but it is still good. You can't expect much, mainly because the movie premiered in the 60s.
If you are really into some typical Disney animated films, this one's for you. The Sword In The Stone may have been overlooked by other classics like Little Mermaid, Lion King, or Pinocchio, but I still think this is a must-watch. Don't skip this one.
3 out of 5 stars.