I often like to watch films numerous times, to see if my initial perception of the films hold up or if I can find more information or qualities in the film that I missed the first time I saw it.
One of the films I re-watched was Disney's “The Sword in the Stone”, directed by Wolfgang Reitherman. I watched the film in Mexico, so I could not really understand the dialogue in Spanish. Consequently, I was not caught up in words, and was able to experience the film as purely visual storytelling. Able to gauge the film as a graphic story, I came to a new conclusion – first, the draftsmanship and design was not that good. Too simplistic and crude. And, the film is very episodic, which I didn't remember from the first time I saw it. Now, I get a lot of criticism for my features being episodic, but “The Sword in the Stone” is basically 8 different sequences that are not really that connected. In other words, there's no build-up of emotions or drama, which is okay in a comedy, but for a drama like this – it's death. So, on a second viewing, I give “The Sword in the Stone” a C-.
The other film I've recently revisited was “Sinbad”, the Brad Pitt adventure film that supposedly almost brought down Dreamworks. As I recall, my first appraisal of the film was somewhat mediocre – I didn't hate it as much as the critics, and I did like the action sequence where the Eagle chases Sinbad and his female partner down the giant glacier.
Well, after seeing it again, I have a much different opinion – the film really stinks! How could Jeffery Katzenberg sink over 100 million dollars into a project that looks as bad as this?
The animation is atrocious – the evil goddess voiced by Michelle Pfeiffer is so badly drawn, she changes design from drawing to drawing. And the mix of CG in the boat, and the eagle, compared to the traditional animation for the humans is jarring to the eyes. Not to mention, the script is just plain flaky.
I think “Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas” ranks up there (or should stay down there) with “The Black Cauldron” and “Quest for Camelot” as some of the worst animated features ever.