Movie Review – ‘The Sword in the Stone’

Hello everyone! 🙂

Welcome to ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog and I’m Tim Bradley!

A lot of us know about the legends of King Arthur as depicted in the books by T.H. White. I’ve seen it portrayed a few times on film and TV, including the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Battlefield’ and the movie ‘The Kid Who Would Be King’. But my first experience of Arthurian legend was at a really young age.

That was when I saw the Disney animated film called ‘The Sword in the Stone’. Released in 1963, ‘The Sword in the Stone’ tells the story of a young boy named Arthur who gets educated by the old wizard called Merlin before he pulls ‘the sword from the stone’ and he becomes the King of England.

My parents and I got to re-watch this film on Disney+ recently. It was nice to see this movie again. I loved watching it as a kid, even though I didn’t get the Arthurian legends at the time. That may be because the film sort-of loosely follows the Arthurian legends. It doesn’t bombard us with too much info.

The moment where Arthur, or Wart as he’s often called, pulls the sword from the stone is only in the flim’s climax and he becomes king shortly after that. Beforehand, it’s mostly Arthur/Wart being taught by Merlin on the facts of life which involve him becoming a fish, a squirrel and a bird at times.

I found those sequences where Arthur/Wart gets to meet Merlin; have him as his tutor; and learning things when becoming a fish, a squirrel and a bird very entertaining. They do take up most of the movie and I’m not certain it’s in the T.H. White books, but they were pretty enjoyable to watch here.

I think had a follow-up sequel been made, we could’ve seen more of Arthur being the King of England with Merlin guiding him. I’m surprised Disney didn’t do a direct-to-DVD animated sequel of that. At the time of this review, a live-action film adaptation of ‘Sword in the Stone’ is in the making.

I did enjoy the characters featured in this story. This includes Arthur/Wart himself, although I did find his voice kept changing a lot from low-voice to high-voice. That’s due to the actors who voiced him including Rickie Sorenson, Richard Reitherman and Robert Reitherman, making it inconsistent. 😐

There’s also Merlin, who I found very funny and entertaining at times. He’s old and eccentric, and I could easily imagine the Doctor from ‘Doctor Who’ ending up like him. 😀 Despite his eccentricity, he’s clearly fond of Arthur/Wart when he trains him, even when he has his doubts of anger at times.

Merlin has a talking, crotchety yet highly educated pet owl called Archimedes, who’s voiced by Junius Matthews. The reason I bring the voice actor up is because Junius Matthews was the original voice for Rabbit in the ‘Winnie the Pooh’ franchise from 1966 to 1977. Very uncanny that, isn’t it? 😀

I wonder if Peter Capaldi will voice Archimedes in the live-action adaptation of ‘The Sword in the Stone’, since he voiced Rabbit in ‘Christopher Robin’. 😀 Other characters in this film include Sir Ector, Arthur/Wart’s foster father and Sir Kay, Arthur/Wart’s irritable foster brother and Ector’s son.

One character my Dad remembers most fondly from ‘The Sword in the Stone’ is Madam Mim, who is a black-magic witch and Merlin’s nemesis. I enjoyed the scenes where Arthur/Wart as a bird met Madam Mim before Merlin soon showed up and they fought each other using a lot of magic tricks. 🙂

There are plenty of comedic moments in this film as well as musical moments. The songs and music for the film were composed by the Sherman brothers – Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman. The songs featured include ‘That’s What Makes the World Go Round’ and ‘A Most Befuddling Thing’.

I greatly enjoyed seeing ‘The Sword in the Stone’ again on Disney+. It’s been a nice film to revisit. I don’t know whether the live-action remake will be as good as the original version, but it’s always nice to look back on these films that I used to like as a kid. I’m glad I’m making the most out of using Disney+ lately. 🙂

Thanks for reading!

Bye for now!

Tim. 🙂

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