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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Sword in the Stone
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127 of 135 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
For the 50th anniversary of on of their classic animated films, Disney has released such a sloppy, ugly, amateurish effort that I am ashamed to say that I pre-ordered.

The picture quality is washed out, blurry and lacking any detail - it has been digitally manipulated to the point where it looks like a kids paint by number coloring book.

I have never returned a Disney Blu-Ray and asked for a refund - in fact, I have never returned ANY Blu-Ray based on quality and asked for a refund - but I will now.

I would rather watch my years old SD DVD than this horrific mess. It's that bad, and the DVD is actually SUPERIOR quality.

Stay far away.

And Disney - do the right thing and offer fans a replacement and re-pressing. This is utterly embarrassing. It's obvious you don't care about this title, but fans would have had a superior product if you had simply reissued the DVD.
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185 of 200 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Well they messed this one up about as much one can. No one really knows what went wrong with the restoration, but the film is now blurry and ugly to look at for most of its runtime and is outdone by its 'older' iTunes HD counterpart and that is frankly pathetic. And even that release is being replaced with the newer 'restored' one. The sketchy artwork is clearly sourced from a dated master and has had all of its sharper qualities reduced to blobs in a decent portion of the picture because of EXCESSIVE DNR.

Sword in the Stone has been 'cleaned' within an inch of its life.... Easily the worst Disney transfer out there. We had some problems with Cinderella losing details to the DNR machine and we also had problems with a couple other discs. Fox and the Hound basically got very little restoration in parts and Aristocats + Rescuers had some softness but nothing to this scale. Those releases actually look quite good imho. This is just ridiculous.

After much debate, I consider the 60s films including Sword in the Stone and The Jungle Book to have some minor framing problems in the given aspect ratio here. Whether official or not I would still like to see a reframed 1.75:1 or better yet a 1.66:1 ratio more faithful to the elements of the film that have been chopped off. Sword in the Stone at 1.75:1, just like The Jungle Book, seems too congested for this aspect ratio. I'd say this one fares okay but it can still look awkward.

A 1.66:1 'middle ground' ratio like that of Aristocats or Fox and the Hound, which look great in that ratio, would have helped immensely to keep the original elements in play as much as possible while staying faithful to the theatrical presentation. Refer to recent comments for more in-depth discussion. Many people are still unsure of things related to how these films should look.

The OAR for the Xerography process (1961-1981) in Disney films is variable. They were animated at 1.33:1 so that when they were seen on TV they wouldn't be pan and scan, but they were also intended to be matted to a widescreen aspect ratio for theatrical runs. 1.75:1 is the booklet ratio suggested for theaters in America for the time by some accounts. 1.66:1 may have been popular in Europe. This doesn't obviously make what we have here truth, but we will never know what would be done today as the director and Walt Disney are dead.

I want to make it clear that this film is made unwatchable because of the DNR. I implore the reader to go to Bluray.com and read the review and then the forums to make up their own mind. The releases of 2013 including Robin Hood and Oliver & Company came out pretty well concerning their lower budgets. THIS ONE did not. The screencaps tell the story. It looks HORRID. Some scenes look okay but I'd say over 70% of it just looks like some upconverted garbage with way too much DNR applied. Disney applies DNR typically to make the cells appear as they originally were in their purest form; to get rid of the grain in other words so the animation looks as it did on the original cells. This goes way beyond that.

The film hasn't been preserved as it should have been. People need to at least start sending a message to Disney even if they do choose to purchase this. Sword in the Stone is a great animation film and a personal favorite of mine so I cannot let this go without a fight.
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74 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Disney should be ashamed!!!

The new Blu-ray of The Sword and The Stone is horrible, blurry mess!
I was ready to "blind buy" this Blu-ray, as I have with many Disney animated titles,
but the tools used to degrain (AKA DNR) this film removed so many details that the DVD now has superior picture quality
and more details and that should NEVER be the case.

The film is now blurry and details are GONE. I hope Disney shows that they respect their animation fans and redoes this release
with a new transfer that represents the film and retains all the details and marks a significant improvement in picture
quality over the DVD, instead of a film with all the grain removed that also took out all the hand drawn details.

I no longer trust Buena Vista Home Video knows how to treat their own back catalog of films, and that greatly saddens and angers me.
If they hate their animated films, they will continue to do to them what they did to The Sword and The Stone Blu-ray release.
Only someone criminally negligent who has no regard for their own history would release a product like this.

Also, now the iTunes HD digital copy has been "upgraded" to the same horrible transfer that looks like the whole film was smeared with Crisco.

Angrily,

Die-Hard Disney Animation Fan
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181 of 214 people found the following review helpful
on March 27, 2003
Format: DVD
I remember "The Sword in the Stone" as a widescreen movie, so I was dismayed to find that Disney had released this animated favorite to DVD in a cropped/pan-and-scan format. However, on further investigation, I discovered that, to my surprise, "The Sword in the Stone" was not a widescreen motion picture... at least not originally. Apparently, like "101 Dalmations" and other films of the late 1950s and early 1960s, "The Sword in the Stone" was made to be projected in one of two formats: either widescreen or full-frame, depending on the theater where it was shown. It seems that the Disney animators designed the film with a bit of 'extra picture' at the top and bottom of each frame; that way this 'extra' could be cut off without ruining the image in theaters playing it in widescreen. In other theaters, and on television, the film could be shown in a standard full-frame (1.33:1) format. So, according to Disney, the current full-frame DVD of "TSITS" is indeed the film in it's "original format'. Admittedly, it may not be the way that most of us remember this great little movie, but it is the way the folks at Disney made it.
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28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
I have the 2001 DVD and viewed the 2013 Blu-ray. I watched 5 minutes and thought I forgot to wear my glasses...then I checked through the rest and then promptly returned it. I almost burst into tears, it was SO BAD!!! My favorite Disney film of all time. You know the blu-ray is bad when the old "unmastered" DVD looks amazing in comparison. On the blu-ray, the crisp black lines (the best part of the art) were rounded and thinned out...like someone ran all the blacks through autotrace. All the color details looked blotchy and blurry like a bad watercolor filter. It's like a pirated copy of a VHS tape burned onto disc. Embarrassing and YES, it's incredibly THAT poor in quality. Here's a good review that highlights the visual flaws: [...]

I'm willing to bet the powers that be do not like the rough black lines. History tells us that during that period, Disney studios discovered the xerox machine and that they could save $$$ by xeroxing the pencils right onto the cels and use them in the film. Thus it purposely LOOKS like graphite lines and some of the construction lines appear in and out of consecutive frames. Very much the style of famed lead illustrator, Bill Peet (he's done a ton of children's books in that same sketchy style). And very much NOT the fine painted colored outlines of other films like Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty (totally different animation era, totally different illustration style).

Doesn't make it right to bastardize the original integrity of the film by any means, but it's a thought to match to a classic Disney style. And a VERY misguided one, I think.

Btw, I write this as my kid & I are watching the original 2001 DVD upscaled via blu-ray player on a large Sony flatscreen. Looks awesome.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
on August 12, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
As many others have stated, the video "restoration" done by Disney on this title is shockingly awful. The change in aspect ratio doesn't bother me as much as the woeful state of the video quality. It looks so over-processed to the point that detail is lost, everything has a slight blurriness, and color is over-saturated. It's bad enough to give you a headache after watching it for any length of time. The old DVD release looks so much better, and that version had a mediocre video transfer which gives you an idea just how bad this blu-ray is. I'm sure most kids won't care or notice, but if you are a collector or Disney fan, you WILL notice. Hopefully Disney will redo the transfer and issue a recall. Unfortunately, since this is considered a minor release in the Disney movie catalog, I'd be surprised if Disney fixed this situation.
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27 of 30 people found the following review helpful
on August 6, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
I never thought I'd say this about a Disney product, but I'm so disappointed. This new transfer is basically unwatchable. The digital noise reduction is so cavalierly applied and apparent that most of the scenes are blurry and lacking almost all of the pencil detail. I can't believe this made it past the door at Disney. I'm going to return my copy immediately.

BTW, check out the review at blu-ray.com. It's very thorough and has screenshots so you can see what I'm talking about.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on August 7, 2013
Format: Blu-rayVerified Purchase
Avoid this product. The Sword in the Stone has shown that Disney does not care too much for what they consider to be its' "B" or "C" titles. Each of those titles receiving the "High-Definition re-mastering" have produced a progressively worse viewing experience. Keep your original DVD of SITS because it shows much more detail. The blu-ray many times appears to be a child's paint by numbers project. The definition/detail has been compromised due to Disney's desire to "upgrade" the old cell animation to digital. They have gone crazy with the DNR scrubbing to remove the grain. With the grain much of the detail has been removed as well. It does not matter if the color has been boosted if the character's faces and the background are blurry. This is a truly pathetic transfer and I will be returning my copy hoping for a PROPER Disney re-release.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
The movie itself is a childhood classic for me however Disney completely ruined the video quality on the 50th anniversary Blu-Ray. Keep your DVD or find and old non 50th Anniversary copy. They applied some Digital Noise Reduction and it took out a lot of background detail and blurred all the line work. They also cropped the aspect ratio. Want to know how the Blu-Ray looks without buying it? Put on the DVD, press the Zoom button on the DVD player or TV, and then smear Vaseline all over your TV. Google AVSforum The Sword In The Stone is a Disaster to read more and see screenshot comparisons.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on August 11, 2013
Format: Blu-ray
Got the new Blu-ray as a gift for my son. First off, as others have noted, there's no iTunes download option as advertised. But more importantly, the picture quality is absolutely terrible, probably the worst looking animated title I've ever seen on Blu-ray. It looks like someone used digital photoshop filters to clean up a Chinese vhs tape bootleg.

Anyone interested in this movie would be far better served just buying the old dvd or even laserdisc (if you have a LD player) off an eBay seller for a few bucks than waste your money on this ridiculously overpriced release. Certainly makes me wary of buying other Disney Blu-rays of their old movies if this is what they have to offer.
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