“How far will you go to change the world?”
Sword in the Stone is a dystopia science fiction-fantasy film and a re-imagining of the Arthurian legend. It combines elements of ‘The Sword In The Stone‘ (1963), ‘The Sorcerer’s Apprentice‘ (2010), and dystopian themes found in modern Young Adult literature.
The film is told from the perspective of Merlin, a once-kind-hearted wizard who became disillusioned and negative from the destruction of Earth by a global civil war and plans to ‘reset’ the planet back to its primal state thereby killing off all known humanity left.
In a futuristic ruined metropolis called Camelot where the only two main fractions of humanity remains. They consist of The Artificial – which includes test tube-born humans meant for organ harvesting for medical advancement and research, along with synthetic hybrid humans with high level artificial intelligence; and The Original – purebred humans with no cybotic elements.
The film opens with some purebred human hunters chasing after a deer through a deep jungle. When the deer disappeared into a dense mist, the humans stopped in their tracks. They noticed a sign that reads ‘DO NOT ENTER’ in red. Above a tree brunch stood a silhouette of a figure that leaped down and introduced himself as Merlin before obliterating the hunters into dust.
It is shown that Merlin lives in a forested abandoned Chapel on the outskirts of the city. He is a Magister, an ancient and powerful being with the power to use the majority of the brain power to alter much of reality – an ability known as Magic to the layman. One of the magical objects littered throughout the Chapel’s floor, a chalice, begin to glow and it caught the attention of Merlin.
Merlin observe a vision of 2 teenage boys wandering at the edge of the city on the surface of the liquid. One of the boys have a cybotic arm, which interests Merlin as he notes The Artificial and The Original doesn’t go along and it is impossible for them to be together. Regardless, he tracked them down and killed the cybotic human and kidnapped the other boy. The boy call himself Wart and it was revealed he lived with The Artificial even though he is a purebred human.
Wart doesn’t believe he is purebred and accused Merlin of lying and murdering his older brother, Kay. Merlin caged Wart and told Wart that he will be his new master from now and he will be forced to train and serve under him. Wart tried to escape but accidentally tripped over a sealed jar and an aggressive phantom wolf materialized. The Wolf followed Wart into the darkness of the forest before attacking Wart. Merlin appeared just in time to save Wart and seal the wolf back.
Wart decided to stay for the night and reveal his full name as Arthur Pendragon.
Even though Arthur only intended to stay for 1 night, Merlin tricked him to stay permanently by saying the Wolf has scent-marked Arthur and will be back to kill him. A few days later an Artificial scout party came looking for Arthur. A fight broke out after the party set the forest on fire. Arthur saw Merlin casting the spell and begin to beg him to stop. Merlin refuse and Arthur pushed Merlin down. Arthur’s pendant started to glow and in a flash of bright light, it dispelled Merlin’s magic. The scout party ran away after this.
Later that night, Merlin dragged Arthur down to the basement of the Chapel, which contains a high-tech laboratory. Firing it up, Merlin used the machine to scan Arthur’s body, which prove that he contains no cybotic component in him. Arthur still denies it however and he broke down into tears. Merlin explained that cyborgs are incapable of performing magic, only real humans can and Arthur did indeed cast a spell to deflect Merlin’s magic. Merlin then lied to Arthur that he needs him because Arthur is to be one to stop the on-going war as told by a prophecy.
Meanwhile, in The Artifical’s Headquarters, the scout party leader, Lance, reported to their leader, Lord Hector, that Arthur and Kay were killed by Merlin.
Throughout his time, Arthur came to learn even though Merlin was cold and heartless on occasion, he really cared for nature and animals living in the forest. Through Merlin’s notebooks and diary, Arthur learnt that Merlin has become hateful and angry ever since humanity waged nuclear war against each other due to differing ideologies and lack of resources. Things got worst in the later part of history when advancement in biotechnology improved that humans are now able to create artificial humans.
One day while out practicing magic together at a nearby ruined warehouse, Merlin and Arthur encountered a lady who introduced herself as Morgan. Merlin got upset for some reason and told Arthur that she is the leader of The Original and a Magister. She claims to be the Arthur’s half-sister and attempted to snatch Arthur away before the warehouse’s roll-up doors was knocked down and revealed a small army led by Hector. Morgan cast a spell and teleported out while Merlin created a smokescreen and ran away with Arthur.
Things goes on like this for a few years. And even then Arthur was capable of only the most basic of spells and not knowing how to cast any offensive spells. It was also shown Merlin start to grow fond of Arthur and became protective of him.
One night, there was an attack from both side and it caught a sleeping Merlin and Arthur by surprise. Hector, Lance and Morgan chased Merlin and Arthur down until they are cornered in the Chapel’s basement laboratory. Merlin tried to cast magic to defend themselves but it was to no avail as Morgan casted an anti-magic force field. Out of options and cornered in front of an ancient gate, Merlin told Arthur the true purpose of his pendant was to be the key to a secret doorway in the Chapel’s basement that no one have ever opened before. He believe Arthur is now at least strong enough to open the gate.
Just before Arthur place the pendant into a compartment that Merlin conjured out of the gate’s giant keyhole, Hector rushed in to snatch the pendant but was unsuccessful. Hector flew and hit Morgan and Lance, giving Merlin and Arthur a bit of time to open the door. Bright light shines intensely out of the pendent as Arthur pushed the compartment back into keyhole. As the stone doors started sliding out, a swarm of darkness rushes in to devour the entire room.
Opening back their eyes, Merlin and Arthur find themselves in a space-like surrealistic surrounding that is with floating cubes in the background. Grid-like stairs appear before them and a voice boomed in their mind. A feminine voice told them they are in a place called Avalon and is the heart of the universe.
As they walked up they reached a big river occupied by many empty rafts. Upon close inspection Merlin and Arthur noticed blue glowing orb on each of the raft. Merlin commented this is the Nether Lake and the orbs are souls awaiting judgement. The feminine voice was heard again and Merlin ran up to one of the raft. It was revealed his lover and pet familiar were killed in the war which left him all alone in this world.
Hector and Lance appeared at the lakeside and Hector took aim at Merlin. Arthur tried to call out to Merlin but he was to overcome with emotions that left him immobilized. In an ensuing fight between Hector, Lance and Arthur, Hector and Lance’s inner cybotic parts were exposed and the lake’s water shocked them both and they sink into the bottom of the lake.
The surface of the place became 2 dimensional and shattered, making Arthur and Merlin fall into nothingness. Plants and grass materialize and they find themselves in a garden with an apple tree and a young lady in the middle.
The earlier feminine voice belongs to this lady, who call herself Eve. Arthur started asking questions and it was then revealed that Merlin has been lying all along and he was just making use of Arthur to take over Eve and allowing Merlin to reshape the universe without any humanity in it. It was also revealed that Hector was protecting Arthur from people who would make use of Arthur and even if Arthur dies, he would just be born again as the next incarnation.
It was noted that Arthur’s pendant is the same gem from the Excalibur and any sword attached with the gem becomes Excalibur. The gem is the Excalibur. And the Excalibur can only be held and powered by Arthur and it is the key to Avalon.
Arthur became upset that he was being lied to but Merlin assure him that he no longer want to follow his original plan after spending time with Arthur. Still outraged, Arthur attacked Merlin and he materialize a glowing spiritual sword – his first offensive magic spell. Before Arthur could strike Merlin, a fireball shoot across and know Arthur down. It was Morgan. She grab Arthur and demand Merlin to step down. It was then revealed besides being involved in the battle that killed Merlin’s lover and familiar, and she is instrumental in starting the war against The Artificial. She wants to create the planet back to what it is, when Magister ruled over all forms of life.
While Merlin battle against Morgan, Morgan reveal her plan was to force Arthur to change Excalibur’s ownership to her so she could become the one and only (immortal) ruler of Camelot and the world. Morgan was later knocked out by one of Merlin’s spells which dissolved her youthful appearance and showed her true form – an ugly old lady. Before Merlin could run over to retrieve an unconscious Arthur, Morgan morphed into a medieval dragon.
An epic battle rage on which Morgan’s fire breathe starting a forest fire in the garden. Arthur regain consciousness and protected Eve from the heated battle. Morgan was no match for Merlin no matter what he did and decided to transform himself into a million viruses and trapping Morgan in a hasten time bubble that killed Morgan and himself in a few minute.
When it was all over, Arthur noticed Eve dying in his arm. Eve inform that this world is just a digital reconstruction of an alternate universe and the Garden of Eden is actually the Operating System of this universe and Eve used to be a Magister before giving up herself to becomes the Program to sustain the Operating System. If she were to die, the whole system will crumble and this universe will cease to exist. Her final words were that only a Magister can become a Program because it was the Magister that created this world. Everything around them starts to crumble into nothingness when a glowing outline of a keyhole appear. Arthur then place his pendant in it and a bright light shines and swallowed everything into the white light.
Digital fonts appear on the screen that reads “EVE.EXE Deleted. // New User ADAM.EXE Created. // System rebooting…”
A child wearing the Excalibur pendent is running uphill on a green grassland. The scene shows him smiling as he starts to look down onto a town below where purebred humans and artificial cybotic humans living and working harmoniously together.
The screen then tilt up to the blue sky and fade out.
Merlin Ambrosius – The supporting protagonist and a villain protagonist of the story, and told mainly from his point-of-view. He is a Magister who have lived for thousands of years and he plan to reset the universe back into the primal state where intelligence life doesn’t exist.
Arthur Pendragon/Wart/Adam – The main protagonist of the story. A mid-teenage boy who has a mysterious pendent that no one else can touch. He lives with The Artificial until he encountered Merlin on his 17th birthday. He goes by the name Wart given by Hector. He later took on the name Adam at the end of the film.
Morgan – One of the antagonists of the story. She is a rogue Magister who seek to have power and control only to herself. She wish to return to the glory days of the Magisters where they are god-like and control all form of life.
Hector – The hero antagonist of the story through not shown as such in the first act. He is the father of Kay the leader of the Artificial and want to take revenge against Merlin for his fallen son. He also secretly kept Arthur by his side to prevent anyone from using him to change the world.
Lance – A supporting character and Hector’s right-hand man. He is based on Lancelot of the legends.
Eve – A Magister who sacrifice herself to become the Program to run the Operating System that govern the entire universe. Though as a Program she cannot age, she can still die from mortal wound. She is based on the Lady of the Lake and named after the same character in the Book of Genesis.
Kay – The Sacrificial Lamb of the story. He is Arthur’s caring adoptive brother who went exploring with him on Arthur’s 17th birthday before being killed off by Merlin. He has an implication that anyone can be killed off in this film, no matter how significant they are in the original legend.
The Wolf – A spiritual wolf accidentally released by Arthur. The Wolf is used as a plot device to make Arthur stay with Merlin. It is also based on The Wolf in the 1963’s Disney film.
Merlin’s Lover and Familiar – The driving force behind Merlin’s action. When the war broke, Merlin’s lover, who is also a Magister, and his familiar were killed during an attack. Though immortal, Magisters can still be killed by mortal wound.
The Purebred Hunters – The redshirts that appears at the start of the film. They were used to show how merciless and cold-hearted Merlin is/has become.
Camelot – A once beautiful city and the capital of the world, now a giant ruins where the only humanity on the planet resides. The Original and The Artificial struggle to take over the various districts. Merlin live on the outskirt of the city, in an abandon Chapel.
Avalon – A place that exist somewhere within this universe that houses all the data of the world. It is the physical manifestation of the Operating System, a construction that allows the universe to exist. Within the story, The Stairway, The Nether Lake and The Garden of Eden where shown. Avalon is significant in that it is Arthur’s final resting place in the legends and the place where Excalibur was forged, both that happened in this version of the story. The Nether Lake is based on the rivers in Greek Underworld.
Contemporary Issues: Diversity and inclusiveness, power struggle, effects of war, advancement in biotechnology and ethics of what is considered a life if they were created artificially. It also fictionalize the theory that the world is a hologram.
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