The Sword in the Stone (Reitherman, 1963)
I was born and raised a Disney child and I never have grown out of it. Despite this, it has been a while since I’ve seen almost all of the classic animated Disney movies I grew up with. So I have decided I want to watch them all again – in order of release. When I finish, I will rank them all, and hand out my number scores from there.
Having not seen this since I was a kid, I’m not sure I ever realized this was about King Arthur’s childhood. Yes, I’m naive. Though, I think the fact that only the last little portion of this film is about the boy Arthur’s transition to king is a strength. What’s this actually about? An orphan boy with small dreams who happens upon a mentor that sees big things in him. Arthur (or Wart as he called by most) is a completely relaxed, go-with-the-flow boy perfectly willing to take advice and learn when the opportunity is given. Merlin is a different sort of character for a Disney movie. Yes, he’s a kind and wise mentor to Wart, but he’s also extremely impatient and stubborn. Heck, when Wart wants to take the opportunity to be a squire for his brother, Merlin throws a tantrum and leaves for Bermuda!
Despite the great characters in this film, it’s still not quite top-tier Disney. This is mostly due to what seemed to be the weakest animation of the bunch. I’m not an animation expert, but something about its aesthetic appearance didn’t flow or look as professionally Disney as I expect. Regardless, this is underappreciated and I’m not sure why it doesn’t get the credit the rest do. 7.5/10