I recently rewatched the Disney movie, The Sword in the Stone, with my two partners. It’s old and a classic, I guess, but I had a big problem with it… The ending was dumb. The rest of the movie was silly, but the ending really misses the mark for modern audiences. The movie, in brief, is a series of adventures in transfiguration; Merlin changes young Arthur into various animals, and while in that animal form, Arthur must overcome…challenges or dangers. Fine. At the end though, Arthur pulls the sword from the stone and is crowned king.
The issue is literally the very last scene. Little King Arthur is sitting in his throne and chatting with his buddy the owl, when he starts to freak out. He’s scared, he’s nervous, etc. He tries to bolt, and the Owl encourages him. Finally Merlin shows up, who totally ditched him (was he supposed to be the role model?), and while wearing beach shorts and shades, he kinda helps ease Arthur’s anxiety. The end.
Blargh, that’s not how it should have ended. Instead, there could have been some character growth. Arthur could have reflected on his adventures as a squirrel, fish, and bird, and realized that because he was able to overcome those challenges, he can handle whatever being a king had in store for him. Part of the message to young Arthur throughout the movie was to use his imagination. At the end, he could have used his imagination, and said, ‘I can do this. I can use my imagination to solve whatever problems come my way…And you know what? I’m going to have a really big table, but a round one. I’ve never seen that,’ etc. The ending could have reinforced the message of the movie, but instead it was just a way to close the story without really showing growth.
Am I fired up about this? Not really, no. But it could have been better. I think Disney should do a remake with a better ending, and with less squirrel girl-silliness. Which reminds me, how about having a female character in the movie? Ignoring the love-crazed squirrels, there was the kitchen staff woman who came out screaming one time because the dishes were washing themselves, but we really don’t know anything about her. All we know is that she’s female-bodied and hangs out in the kitchen… The witch was hardly a person, let alone a woman, so she counts even less in my book.
So there you have it. Disney, remake the movie but put women in it as actual characters, make it meaningful, and have some character growth happen. Thank you.