HOME ABOUT SUPPORT US SITES WE LIKE FORUM Search Fanboyplanet.com | Powered by Freefind FANBOY PLANET
OnTV -- DVD Today's Date:

The Sword In The Stone:
45th Anniversary Edition

It doesn't matter that Disney got an Oscar nomination for the sentiment; they got it wrong. Beauty and the Beast isn't a tale old as time. The Hero's Journey, however, should qualify. When you look at Disney's back catalog, you notice that they did one of the best, clearest examples of it when they adapted T. H. White's take on the Arthurian legend, Sword in the Stone.

Covering the legend from a child's perspective, the movie traces the development of a lowly British squire named Wart. His father, Sir Ector, puts all his praise and pride in the oldest boy, Kay, a character whose Bill Peet design influenced Dragon's Lair.

Of course, young Wart has a greater destiny, to be King of all England. For now, though, he has to learn unlikely lessons in manhood, taught by that crazy wizard Merlin and his crotchety owl Archimedes. Even in 1963, it was a pretty standard, though compelling, story, and Disney didn't pursue it beyond White's first novel, leaving the rest of it to the Broadway musical Camelot.

Released at the height of America's Camelot craze, the film celebrates its 45th anniversary this year. And the best way Disney knows how to celebrate is to put it out on DVD. Despite the film's charm, it's not one of the studio's bigger efforts. The most memorable thing about it would probably be the Wizards Duel between Merlin and Mad Madam Mim - a classic battle in logic that's wildly inventive. Still, for a single-disc Disney DVD, the studio packed a good amount of extras.

Most of the extras are strictly for kids' enjoyment. As always, there's a set-top game, this time built around Merlin. Providing a thematic tie-in, you can access the classic Mickey Mouse short "Brave Little Tailor" and a Goofy cartoon, "A Knight for a Day." You can make it an old-fashioned movie night -- just like Pixar does. If you have one of those singing children, they can go directly to the songs in the movie with the lyrics in subtitle.

But that also highlights one of the weaknesses of the film. The Brothers Sherman had not yet hit their stride, and though all the songs in The Sword in the Stone are nice enough, none of them really get under the skin. Some might not even remember that the movie had songs. So a feature on the Shermans seems a bit beside the point, except they may be the only major players left alive to actually interview.

A small photo gallery also has its place, showing some preliminary artwork for the film and nodding to the King Arthur's Carousel at Disneyland. Though it's a bit of a stretch, for older fans it's nice to get an excerpt from "Walt Disney Presents," seeing Walt himself do a bit of hosting and stage magic - though obviously aided by camera trickery.

The Sword in the Stone is a great way to introduce kids to the Arthurian legend. Teach them all about Excalibur. Older ones might notice the similarities to other stories, which offers you the chance to nod smugly. If Luke Skywalker had spent some time transformed into an Ewok, maybe we wouldn't hate them so much.

Derek McCaw

Our Friends:

Official PayPal Seal

Copyrights and trademarks for existing entertainment (film, TV, comics, wrestling) properties are held by their respective owners and are used with permission or for promotional purposes of said properties. All other content ™ and © 2001, 2014 by Fanboy Planet™.
"The Fanboy Planet red planet logo is a trademark of Fanboy Planetâ„¢
If you want to quote us, let us know. We're media whores.
Movies | Comics | Wrestling | OnTV | Guest | Forums | About Us | Sites