I’m reasonably sure that this was one that I never watched before. I’m not sure how, given how much I’ve always loved Camelot stories and my serious love for Disney Animation, but sometimes things slip through the cracks.
I was unbearably delighted by this movie. I think this is my favorite era so far. I love the quirky animation, the silly characters and top notch gag comedy. Merlin is so much fun here and my favorite versions of Arthur are when he’s good hearted and tries his best (even when he falls up short) and the boy Wort here is certainly that. Merlin is determined to make him thoughtful and compassionate, all things that will serve him well when he becomes king.
Each of Merlin’s lessons, an adventure where they turn into animals and see a different point of view is a great deal of fun. (The squirrels being particularly prophetic, “That’s not the last time you’ll have trouble with women, boy.” No, no it will not be.) And Arthur’s step family could give the Tremaine’s a run for their money with their abuse, but like Cinderella he remains optimistic and kind. He wants to be a knight, but knows with his unknown birth he has to work twice as hard. Merlin urges him to look beyond that ambition, to use his mind and imagination.
It’s unclear whether Merlin knows Arthur is the Once And Future King here, he knows that boy is someone special, but who and what exactly that means is murky, and that does make the story a lot more fun. Merlin knows he’s doing this for a reason but he has no idea what that reason is. And it just makes everything fun.
Next week we’ll talk about The Jungle Book another one that I have some crazy childhood nostalgia for. We watched this one a lot as kids and I’m looking forward to it.