1 The Mickey Mindset: Disney Animation Reviews #18 - The Sword in the Stone

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Disney Animation Reviews #18 - The Sword in the Stone

Disney Movie Review: 18/53 - The Sword in the Stone

Ryan Dosier - The second to last animated feature overseen by Walt Disney was 1963’s The Sword in the Stone. This is a notably weak feature for Disney with many of the elements affecting it for the worst. It’s a mostly forgettable entry with only one or two memorable characters and scenes but very little else worth remembering.

Through most of the film the usually incredible Disney animation is notably weak. The only character to stand out is Merlin, the phenomenal wizard. He is the only particularly entertaining character in the film—and he truly is a blast. He deserves a much better movie than this.

"Wart," or the young King Arthur, is a particularly poor lead character. He has no quirks or traits that make him stand out. He also has two different voices throughout the film, which is very distracting. Wart just sort of flies along with Merlin throughout for no real reason. He could have been so much better if given some more personality.

The only other somewhat entertaining character is the devious, wicked, mad Madame Mim. Mim is a delightful witch and quite fun to watch. Her duel with Merlin is the undeniable highlight of the film. The animation in the duel is incredible and some of Disney’s best, period. It’s a shame that such an impressive animated feat is saddled in such a faulty film. Mim’s inclusion in the piece is completely random. The climax of the movie makes me wish she were a more constant, foreboding force throughout.

As a whole, The Sword in the Stone is unremarkable. Even the backgrounds and layouts, which are usually amazing, are tawdry and plain. The dabble of music in the piece is uninspired and completely forgettable. But more than anything, the tone of the movie never comes together. In the beginning it’s a drama, in the middle it’s a fantasy comedy, and at the end it gets heavy again. The Sword in the Stone completely lacks focus.

However, the movie is still worth watching if one is brushing up on their Disney history. It was obvious that Walt Disney’s hand was not as heavily placed on this film (most likely because Mary Poppins was in production at the same time). Merlin truly is a joy and a spectacular character. Watching his hysterical interactions as a squirrel and Merlin’s duel with Madame Mim make the film worthwhile. Unfortunately the rest of the piece can’t hold the humor or wonder that is so clear and focused in those
two great scenes.

2/5 Purple Dragons


  1. From what I heard, Walt was not particularly happy with the results of the film, which was why he decided to be more involved with "The Jungle Book".

  2. And yet somehow this film is lovable. Who could forgot Archimedes?? The film does offer more humor and fun than it's given credit

  3. This has always been one of my favorite theatrical Disney movies since I always thought it was one of the funniest (my other favorites are "Aladdin", "The Emperor's New Groove", and "Hercules").

    Arthur's different voices would have helped the movie if only they had not given audiences the idea that Arthur was capable of switching from one voice to another and back to his previous voice so quickly (according to the Internet Movie Database, his voices were provided by three different actors, two of whom were brothers). If the movie had been made differently with those voices, it would have given audiences the idea that Arthur's voice had changed gradually over the course of several months (its story really took place over the course of several months, between July and January).