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DOUBLE REVIEW OLD & NEW OF DISNEY'S SWORD IN THE STONE

First Summary Short review of THE SWORD IN THE STONE from an old archived short version writeup: Disney Score: ***
This has as much to do with King Arthur as The Phantom Menace does with Darth Vader as a clumsy pre-teen squire named "Wart", working for a mean step-father and bullying brother, befriends the wizard Merlin, more goofy than wise, and his talking pet owl.

Merlin turns the kid into several animals including a fish, squirrel and bird, teaching him more about Darwin's natural selection than anything that'd aid him in his future position as King of England, which is only shown for the last five minutes after "Wart" pulls the titular sword from the stone with inevitable ease. The songs aren't too annoying, the animation looks good, and it definitely won't bore the kiddies. Adults, however, might take a snooze.
THE RECENT LONGER REVIEW OF THE SWORD IN THE STONE
Release Date: 1963
This 1963 animated Disney flick has as much to do with King Arthur as THE PHANTOM MENACE does with Darth Vader, as a clumsy pre-teen squire/squirt nicknamed "Wart," hard labored by a mean yet overall beloved step-father and a downright bullying, square-jawed brother, who, if and when comparing the large and small, the latter seems much less likely the next ruler of England. But little bro works from the bottom, up, befriending the wizard, Merlin, more goofy than wise, and his talking pet owl, Archimedes, sort of an intentional scene stealing comic relief throughout while taking himself seriously. And for the overall children's lesson, Merlin turns the kid into several creatures including a fish, a squirrel and a bird, teaching him more about Natural Selection than anything concerning a future position as King of England, which is only shown for the last five minutes, after Arthur/Wart pulls the titular sword from the stone with inevitable ease to the shocked chagrin of everyone, especially dad and brother.


This film's Wile E. Coyote
The opening folk song, something John Denver would have turned down a decade later, is annoying and horribly dated, sounding like the only flaw (the opening and continuous song) in the Rankin/Bass HOBBIT years later... But still, the animation looks terrific, and this tale, a prequel that shows no sign of what it's leading to except, as already mentioned, THE SWORD AND THE STONE is viewed only in the beginning and end: with a bizarre action-packed middle that definitely won't bore the kiddies. Thus, what really stands out are the adventurous troubles had for each morphed-into animal while the only bringdown is a lovelorn squirrel who gets her heartbroken when Wart aka Arthur becomes a boy again.. although she is pretty darn sexy for a rodent...

Merlin the Wizard
Either way, this was a much less beloved Disney venture, delivered in the early sixties after classic animated hits like BAMBI, PETER PAN, DUMBO, etc., had already come and gone, and yet it still moves decently enough with a cult following all its own and, despite being a forgotten underdog through and through, STONE still has some bark: You just have to listen real hard to really get into the swing of things.

More Owl
RATING: ***
TRIVIA: This feature is shown, along with many other cartoons, in select theaters, lately, and costs only $5 dollars, which is less than half the price of a regular ticket, and there are only two trailers instead of six: The only problem in this particular vehicle is the modern, not classic, Animated Short beforehand, which, concerning clocks, is as dull as dull can be...

At DisneyLand, while there was, long ago, a ride concerning almost all the movies... even though, back then, it didn't seem so commercialized, and would take years, actually, for the reverse to occur: that being rides becoming movies (PIRATES anyone?)...

Right as you enter the Magic Castle, there was (& maybe still is) a sword inside a stone that only lifts once a day? Is this memory correct or not? But what is completely recalled, though having nothing to do with the movie at hand, is that Stacy Keach did the voice-over for the Submarine Ride, which, before becoming FINDING NEMO propaganda, was an educational exploration of the sea including cool, surreal mermaids; and Orson Welles narrated INNERSPACE, another ride that is no longer.
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