Classics Review: The Sword in the Stone

“The Sword in the Stone” was released in 1963. (same year Akira Kurosawa’s High and Low came out) At the time of its release, it earned mixed reviews from critics. Overtime, The Sword in the Stone gained a cult following among Disney fans. Recently, a live-action remake is in the works. As of late 2022, a release date has yet to be confirmed. Pretty jarring we already got different interpretations of King Arthur including Clive Owen’s from 2004 and another with Charlie Hunnam in 2017.

During the month of December, I’ll be reviewing a couple of Christmas movies and Disney movies inspired by Nostalgia Critic’s “Disneycember.” Every December, Doug reviews selective films. What aforementioned Christmas movies or Disney movies should I review next? Please leave a comment and I’ll respond back.

I don’t care if SPOILERS are listed. We’re all familiar with King Arthur. Does The Sword in Stone hold up? Let’s find out, shall we?

Polished & Rusty Qualities

Polished: Voice Actors all did a fair job for their respective voiceover performances.

Animation is present in 2D format yet it still holds up for a movie released in the early ‘60s.

Humor has some funny moments containing slapstick and Merlin’s quirky personality.

Musical Numbers are ok.

Rusty: Walt Disney made a boo boo not double checking the first draft. He failed to tell the writers to make another draft to improve plot elements.

A Plot Hole involving why didn’t Merlin free Arthur from the clutches of his mean stepfather Ector and stepson Kay? Merlin’s got magic to make things less complicated. Imagine if Dumbledore never invited Harry Potter to stay at Hogwarts for an entire semester?

I get the plot Merlin’s training Arthur, but there’s no compelling villain powerful than either of them.

An unnecessary scene involving a female squirrel who has the hots for Arthur in squirrel form. At first, this was supposed to be a training sequence with Merlin teaching Arthur how to jump from tree to tree. The entire sequence is nine minutes long. This scene could’ve been done with a two options. I’m Doubling Down this con for making feel so stupid!

  • Option 1 – Merlin’s an idiot. He should’ve used his magic to teleport him and Arthur to a proper location with no animals around.
  • Option 2 – After saving Arthur’s life from a hungry wolf, it would’ve have been heartwarming for the female squirrel to become human and learn to control herself not to stalk Arthur. Plus, she could’ve been a valuable ally.

Although Madame Mim’s a memorable character, she only appears one hour in. She hasn’t done anything evil. If you’re gonna introduce a villain, you have to establish a motivation, a back story or have him/her show up earlier. Marlon Brando’s character Colonel Kurtz from “Apocalypse Now” has more screen time than Mim! I have no choice but to Double Down this con again for wasting a golden opportunity by letting Arthur pull the sword and fight Mim.

The Final Verdict: D-

No offense Disney fans, The Sword in the Stone is a miscalculation. As a movie critic, I have to give movies from past to present tough love, whether they hold up or not. Walt Disney failed to adapt a different take on King Arthur’s origins. If you wanna see a better interpretation of King Arthur’s mythology, watch Clive Owen’s version. The Sword in the Stone however, is a skip. I think the upcoming live-action remake will suck just like the original.

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