As far as Disney is concerned, The Sword in the Stone
was a portent of things to come, with slapstick upstaging storytelling, and cultural in-jokes substituting for wonder. Based on TH White's beloved novel The Once and Future King
, this Disney version chronicles King Arthur's boyish adventures. There's much to enjoy here as coach Merlin the magician shows the young Arthur, nicknamed Wart, the skills that will help him become the future ruler of the Britons. The transformation sequences, where the boy is turned into a fish, a bird and a squirrel are vintage Disney. The oft-repeated scene of Merlin battling it out with mean old Madame Mim still is worth a few chuckles, but it underlines the problem with most of the film--most of its scenes are only played for laughs. References by Merlin to television and other items of modern life also mar the generally innocuous landscape. Younger children will like it, while older kids will find it slower compared with recent Disney films. --Keith Simanton
Dazzling color and brilliant animation bring the medieval legend of King Arthur to life in The Sword in the Stone
. With a forest full of charm, spectacle, and wizardry, Disney's classic tale conjures up delightful entertainment for all ages. England is in the midst of a dark age and without a proper king, Young "Wart", an orphan and squire-in-training, is content with kitchen duties in his foster home--until he drops in on the extraordinary wizard Merlin and his articulate owl, Archimedes. Through three life lessons, Wart learns to set his "sights on the heights", armed with the most powerful forces on earth: intellect, wisdom, and love. When it's time to contest who will be king, Wart must use his newfound knowledge to do what no mighty knight has done before.