Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Artifacts of our Childhood #2: The Sword in the Stone

Mr. Mime, Criswell, whatever-you-want-to-call-me here.

I really don't remember this film too well, as I haven't seen it in full in years. But recently one of the characters was reintroduced to me, and the particular scene the character appears in came flooding back to me, and I realized something rather peculiar about the scene that made me rethink the film. I rewatched it online just now to make sure I was remembering it correctly. And sure enough, I came to the same conclusion: the movie didn't end the way it should have.

"But whatsyername," you think, "didn't Arthur pull the sword outta the rock and become king? That's what's supposed to happen!" And you'd be right, that is what's supposed to happen, but Disney somehow made it so that I didn't want it to play out that way.

Think of the film's plot as a figure walking down a path. It walks straight along, never veering, its destination always in mind. It reaches a fork in the road and sees a new, pleasant-looking path heading towards the left. It decides to take a short detour. After all, it's only a little distraction, something entertaining to lighten the mood, how can it hurt? It's sure to turn back to the main road eventually.

It's all fun until the plot realizes that this new path is leading towards something entirely different from its original destination. It looks around and sees the original path to its right and quickly leaps back. But before it continues on its way it stops and turns wistfully back at the alternate path, and wishes it could go back. It would have been better if it had kept going the other direction. But no, it has to stay true to the source material, so it sadly waves the other story goodbye, presses on, and never looks back.

Don't know what I'm going on about? See for yourself:

When it comes to fiction, it takes a lot to make me cry. This has to be one of the saddest moments in animation right here. The poor young squirrel fell for Arthur at first sight, and loved him enough to save his life, only to see her true love transformed into probably the most terrifying thing known to the animal kingdom: a human. Her heart is broken. She likely doesn't even begin to understand what happened.

At least the fat squirrel seemed disgusting and lustful enough to the point where I don't think anybody cared about her when Merlin changed back to normal. That was actually funny.

But seriously, just read the comments on these videos. Did Disney know what they had done here? That what they had written has made so many wish that Arthur had gone on to live a happy life with a pretty young squirrel who loves him? Do they know now? Will they ever?

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