I know there are a lot of people who have a fondness for this film as they grew up with it. I, however, saw it for the first time at the age of 24 – so have none of those attachments from childhood memories. It’s probably obvious why I am making this statement outright…
Right, where do I begin on this one. Coming hot off the heels of Disney’s biggest hit in decades came their adaptation of T.H. White’s The Sword in the Stone. It’s a story telling of the meeting of Merlin and King Arthur, including the lessons he learns before pulling the sword from the stone to become the King of England. It’s told for children, so adds a number of inaccuracies – but that’s the long and short of it.
Disney, as per usual, didn’t quite go verbatim with this source material. This worked plenty of times in the past, but with this film it just ended up with a narrative mess. It becomes a 79 minute film that feels like it somehow has an hour’s worth of padding… as nothing that happens in the central hour has any effect on the outcome of the movie. In essence, the majority of the film is a giant non-sequitur which serves no real purpose other than to give us a swimming song and a rather ‘interesting’ message about women sexually harassing men.
If that wasn’t distracting enough, there’s Arthur’s voice. Well, all three of them because the original actor hit puberty right after he started work and they didn’t bother to re-record the lines with the newer actors. I think this lack of care and consistency in Arthur’s vocal track is just endemic for what the rest of the film is. Even the animation style doesn’t remain that consistent from scene-to-scene.
I’m going to stop here because, for the moment, this is the worst Disney film I have seen for this list and I don’t really want to devote the same amount of energy on this as on the better films. Next time is The Jungle Book, man I am looking forward to that one after this.