11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 2 January 2015
For many, this will not rank amongst Disney's finest, but it has a special place in the hearts of those who grew up with it on the cinema screen, on TV, VHS and DVD and I have been looking forward to getting it in a high resolution format release. It's one of my favourites due to many reasons, but I have always appreciated the animation style from the Disney films of this period, including the Jungle Book and Robin Hood. It's a scratchy, sketchy, energetic style, unlike the rich visuals from early Disney classics or the polished style that had evolved by the 1980s. Not that you'd know it from this blu-ray release, as every frame has been scrubbed clean to within an inch of it's life by the most horrific example of digital noise reduction you are ever likely to see.
Any dirt, film grain or scratches that may have been present in the source would have been much more welcome on my HD screen than this blurry, artificially smudged mess. Any detail that was originally there is now, well, not. There's a comparison video that somebody has posted on youtube which demonstates this very clearly. In one scene, the sword glows with individually animated stars, however on this blu-ray, they appear only as vague blobs.
I was determined to disbelieve the previous reviews on this score and purchased this disc on the high street. Thankfully, I was able to return it. To avoid similar disappointment, all you can do is wait in the hope that Disney realise what a terrible job they have made of this "digitally restored"/destroyed version and see fit to issue a proper release some time soon.
29 of 33 people found the following review helpful
on 3 August 2007
Among Walt Disney's thirteen animated works, none has been put aside and forgotten as much as The Sword in the Stone, which is really a shame, knowing that this is a no less delightful Disney experience, it is different in the fact that it tells a different kind of story, it is less intriguing but it offers lots of cool scenes and some memorable characters.
The story in 1963's The Sword in the Stone revolves around education, education is the main theme and the moral is that you can't be anyone without a good education (Although in the real world we know that that isn't always the case). When England is left to perish without a king, a marvelous miracle occurs, a sword placed deep into a stone with the words that whoever pulls it out will be king of all England. Strong and mighty men give it a try, all failing and with time the sword is forgotten.
The people of England then decide to have a knight tournament, in which the winner will be crowned king of all England. Wise wizard Merlin soon realizes that it takes more than strength or plain brutality to rule a country so he decides to educate a young servant boy by the name of "Wart." With different tricks and the help of his wise owl Archimedes, Merlin manages to teach some of the most important lessons to the young boy. Each of these lessons are taught in fun ways, by turning Wart and himself into different sorts of animals, he teaches about intelligence against strength, gravity and even love while at the same time, showing him about how different animals must struggle to survive.
On the other hand, the son of Wart's master, Kay is the perfect example of no brain and pure strength, Merlin realizes having someone like him as king would bring the land to destruction so he must hurry and bring up Wart before Kay wins the knight tournament and is crowned King. In the end, Wart's hard-working brain defeat's Kay's strength and leads to be one of the greatest kings in the "history" of the United Kingdom.
Fun, colorful scenes, great characters and lively music make this a quite memorable Disney classic. Every scene from beginning to end is filled with fun, including one in which Merlin himself must use the logic of his own lessons to defeat the hilariously evil Madame Mim, once again, by turning into different animals, surely one of the greatest scenes in the film. Animation quality may not be of the sharpest kind, however the animation itself is lively and realistic, characters are very expressive and move about realistically. Backgrounds can get annoyingly "lazy" but are not as bad as in, say, "101 Dalmatians." The movie is a little dated because of its references to the 1960's, but it is still quite fun to watch at any time, any year. Highly recommended, being the last animated feature Walt Disney saw through completion and indeed one of their greatest and most interesting.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on 29 October 2013
I cannot understand how an animated movie can be so badly ruined. The DNR, which I am always against because it alters the original aspect of a movie and results on lack of detail, is so excessive in this "restoration" that it creates ghost lines, blurry figures and backgrounds, a huge lack of detail and an ugly, artificial softness in the drawings. Companies that are supposed to love their movies should never use DNR, that is a crying shame. Why Diney decided to ruin this movie to me will be a mistery to me. Why the obsession with artificial DNR, here and anywhere else, will always be a mistery to me. I never thought I would feel uncomfortable while watching this very dear movie from my childhood. SHAME ON DISNEY, SHAME ON ALL COMPANIES USING DNR.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 16 July 2015
(This is a review of the blu-ray disc, not the film, which is a certified Disney classic.)
Oh dear! Disney, the once and future king of high-definition transfers, has not only dropped the ball but the ball has bounced out of the court, rolled onto the highway and been flattened by a convoy of semi’s.
The picture has been scrubbed to death soooo much that much of the motion is smeary – to the point that I thought there was something wrong with my AV equipment. But after reading other reviews I was relatively relieved to learn that it is just the disc at fault.
As it is merely an ‘anniversary edition’ the supplements are thin on the ground as well.
As an act of goodwill and to restore faith in the fans, Disney really should remaster this transfer and offer an exchange scheme. (Or at least offer a remastered disc as a reward on their DMR site for those who have already redeemed the points for this version.)
In short, there is not much point in upgrading from the DVD. But don’t let this one slip put you off all of Disney’s catalogue. All of their other blu-rays I have watched have been exemplary. Which is what makes this release such a disappointment.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 July 2014
Loved this film as a child and have wanted to get it on DVD for ages. It didn't disappoint, my husband and I found it as good and as funny as we remembered. It has some of the most hilarious characters and witty lines of any Disney film, in my opinion.
The colour looks like it has been brightened up for DVD but other than that the quality of the animation looks untouched, it certainly doesn't look overly remastered and it has the excellent hand-drawn quality of the great old Disney films.
The one downside is that there wasn't a widescreen option so it looks a bit square and boxy on a big modern TV, but you stop noticing that after about 30 seconds and just enjoy the film.
There are also a couple of little extra animations; a Goofy-style one about knights and a Mickey one, possibly others that we haven't watched yet.
Overall, if you liked this as a kid you will still love it, and if you've never seen it before, splash out your £5 and see it!
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 29 March 2013
Got this for our son for his birthday, he loves it.
OK it's now over 50 years old but it has been re-mastered and the colours are vibrant..
We all find the irritable owl Archimedes funny ( voiced by Junius Matthews who also provided the voice for Rabbit in Winnie the pooh )
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on 16 December 2005
I have an extensive Disney collection, and "The Sword in The Stone" is- in my opinion- by far the best. The graphics are "old school", the songs are fantastic, the characters have so much personality, the story has some great twists and turns, and the script is witty and memorable. It is a lovely adaptation of the King Arthur story and very re-watchable. Those who try and compare it to other "modern" Disney movies really shouldn't; as brilliant as modern day computer graphics are, this often overlooked gem shines through by virtue of its content. This is original Disney at its most magical.
on 31 October 2013
I really do think this is one of Walt Disney forgotten pieces of Art. The Sword in the Stone is an all time classic. It's defiantly the best interpretation of King Arthur and the Round tables that I've ever seen, in fact looking back, I'm not sure I even realized that's what it was about, because I got so caught up in the magic of Merlin and Wart. I have probably seen this film thousands of times, so many times, I actually had to go and buy another DVD, because it had just been played so many times. My brother who shows no interest in Disney at all, even asked to borrow it one night, as he remembered it from his childhood. The characters are fantastic and really funny, each one so different yet really entertaining all the same. Brilliant animation. I'm so happy to have this in my collection, I'll defiantly be passing this one down to my children one day. It's a must see, lovely to watch at Christmas too.
on 3 January 2013
This is a great version of the Arthur/Merlin story to span the age barriers. As the title and front cover suggest, it is a cartoon form of the beginning of the story when Arthur obtains possession of the sword and is 'educated' by Merlin. Arthur is a well-meaning but slightly accident-prone boy, and his adventures and lessons lead to much hilarity and to many magical moments. There is much life philosophy being imbibed at the same time. It grabs the attention of children from a very young age, but is also watchable for those older children who enjoy the Merlin series on tv, and is fun, light entertainment for younger Harry Potter fans. The 'duel' between Merlin and the witch is great fun. This film is brilliant for adults to 'share' with young ones, and if you have any around it's a great excuse to watch it yourself!
15 of 19 people found the following review helpful
As other reviewers have duly noted, this film (first released in 1963) is based on the first of four parts of T.H. White's The Once and Future King (1958), focusing on Arthur's birth, childhood, and youth before he became king of England. The film has been reissued as a 45th anniversary edition. It features the well-selected voices of Sebastian Cabot (Sir Ector/Narrator), Karl Swenson (Merlin), Rickie Sorensen (Arthur/"Wart"), Junius Matthews (Archimedes), and Alan Napier (Sir Pelinore). Frankly, I was underwhelmed when I first saw it many years ago and had little patience with the antics. While seeing it again recently, I found the film much more entertaining and frequently charming.
In our family, a film's "acid test" for grandchildren is for them to want to see it again, immediately. After I watched it with several of the younger ones, they requested that but agreed, instead, to check out "Merlin's New Magical Academy Game," passing on the other bonus features. I would not rank The Sword in the Stone among the "classic" animated features produced by Disney (e.g. Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) and Pixar (e.g. Finding Nemo, Ratatouille, Toy Story, Toy Story 2, and WALL-E) as well as DreamWorks' Antz and Shrek. However, how many animation features do?
Perhaps there are other grandparents and parents who also saw The Sword in the Stone years ago, as did I, and are not inclined to have a copy available for children to see. I urge them to reconsider because it possesses a unique "magic" of its own. I think they will also enjoy the bonus features. Hopefully this reissued version will attract the interest and gain the appreciation the film clearly deserves.