Year 2, Day 75 - 3/16/10 - Movie #440
BEFORE: I have a very vague memory of this movie from when I was a kid - Mom was hardcore about taking her kids to see every Disney movie, even the re-releases. If only she had known her son would end up working for animators!
THE PLOT: Merlin the Magician teaches a young boy who is destined to be King Arthur.
AFTER: OK, I know that there probably wasn't a real King Arthur, and his whole story is fiction and conjecture, but it still seems odd to focus on the childhood of the King, the time when he was a lowly boy and not really regal at all.
The part of the story that we know as the beginning of Arthur's story - pulling Excalibur from the stone (anvil?) appears in this movie as the ending. Everything that goes before that - meeting the wizard Merlin, serving as a squire, scrubbing pots and pans - should be a preface to serving as England's king, but I'm not seeing the connection. What about his experiences made him worthy? The movie fails to say.
Merlin knows he's destined for greatness, but HOW does he know? And turning Arthur into a fish, a squirrel and a bird - how does all that prepare him for being King? What lessons does he learn from it - that big creatures want to eat small ones? That lady squirrels are horny? Again, I'm not seeing the point, and this mostly feels like filler material until it's time to draw the sword. This kid should be learning about trade disputes, military techniques and the laws of England!
And about that sword - who put it in the stone, God? Again, no explanation. And what does Arthur do differently from other contenders when he pulls the sword? You got me...details, Disney, I want details! And I'm supposed to believe that there was a complete power vacuum in the U.K. for decades before Arthur came along? Unlikely...
I want to take some time here and give a shout-out to my cat, Merlin. He's 19 years and one month old, so in cat years he's starting to give the old wizard he's named after a run for his money. He may not be as active as he once was, he may sleep 20 hours a day, he's missing some teeth and he's acting cranky, but more power to him. He's been my companion for almost 2 decades, and I don't know what I'll do when he's gone. So keep rockin' that catnip banana, Merlin.
RATING: 4 out of 10 magic spells