7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
High on Beauty, Low on Plot,
This review is from: The Sword In The Stone [DVD]  (DVD)
This is one of those movies whose obscurity doesn't surprise me. This is a well-executed, beautifully-crafted movie, but its plot and pace never amount to what it promises.
This is the story of the upcoming King Arthur, more specifically when he is a little boy, employed as dishwasher for the local earl, whose pig-brained bully of a son is set to become the next king if no one can remove the sword Excalibur from its rock. Arthur's future looks bleak until eccentric wizard Merlin, along with his dry-witted owl Archimedes, arrives on the scene. Having travelled through time, Merlin knows Arthur's significance and sets to train him up to believe in himself through a series of field tests involving seeing himself in different situations. So Merlin changes Arthur into a fish and a squirrel, resulting in hilarious romping until Arthur stumbles upon the lair of the oddly fascinating albeit wicked witch Madam Mimm.
The trouble with this movie is that not much of significance happens. The plot seems pretty secondary. Most of the movie involves Merlin and Arthur on their little training missions. Excalibur plays a pretty small part indeed, and the movie doesn't really end on much of a high note, either, even though it's supposed to be one. So much more could have been done with the plot. This movie goes overboard with acting and forgets the plot. This A to B structure worked with the Jungle Book, but in the case of the Sword in the Stone, it's a point of storytelling that doesn't sustain itself.
Of course, what the movie lacks in plot it makes up for with visuals. They are stunning, I can tell you. The animation is beautiful and flowing, especially in the case of the wolf (a character I wish I had played more part in the movie) and the scene where Merlin and Mimm duel by turning themselves into all manner of creatures. In the hands of these people, this makes the Sword in the Stone worth a view for its visual excellence, making up somewhat for the thin story and development.
A pleasant, beautiful view, pretty low on substance but with a lot going for it in the visual department.