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The Black Cauldron (1985 film)

2 Ratings: 3.5
Walt Disney Pictures' animated 1985 fantasy film loosely based on the Prydain stories of Lloyd Alexander.

Disney's 25th full-length animated classic,The Black Cauldron, fills the screen with magic and wonder. This fun-filled tale of heroism overflows with colorful characters, trailblazing animation, and nonstop action. In the mystical land of Prydain, … see full wiki

Genre: Animation
Release Date: 1985
MPAA Rating: PG
1 review about The Black Cauldron (1985 film)

doesn't deserve the reputation it's received...

  • Apr 3, 2007
THE BLACK CAULDRON has continually been dismissed by Disney enthusiasts and moviegoers since it was originally released in 1985. It was definitely one of the more ambitious animated projects undertaken by the studio. Ten years in the making, it was also the most expensive project since 1940's "Pinocchio" and the first 70mm widescreen movie since "Sleeping Beauty" in 1959. In THE BLACK CAULDRON, Disney attempted to cram Lloyd Alexander's densely-written "Prydain Chronicles" books into one movie, and the result was hardly a hit, but it's not a flop, either.

Taran (voiced by Grant Bardsley) is a dreamer, looking to find his place in the adventurous world beyond the cottage of his master, Dallben (Freddie Jones). Taran spends his days tending to a mystical clairvoyant pig called Hen Wen. The life of Hen Wen hangs in the balance when the evil Horned King (John Hurt) decides to use her powers to find the location of the Black Cauldron, where all the evil forces of the world are kept. Hen Wen is spirited away to the Horned King's castle with Taran in hot pursuit. Once at the castle, Taran teams with young Princess Eilonwy (Susan Sheridan), eccentric musician Fflewddur (Nigel Hawthorne), and a cute little furry creature called Gurgi (John Byner). Their only hope lies in finding the Black Cauldron before it's evil powers fall into the wrong hands...

This is not your usual Disney fare. It's very dark, there are no musical numbers, no real "happily ever after" ending, and the overall tone of the piece does not sit well with the previous Disney animated movies. I believe the animators were trying to capture a feeling and mood that had been earlier established in other animated films of the period (Don Bluth's "The Secret of NIMH" and Ralph Bakshi's "Lord of the Rings" immediately spring to mind). Elmer Bernstein's music perfectly underscores every mood.

THE BLACK CAULDRON is a thrilling medieval adventure, and will appeal to those with a taste for that. Disney purists are sadly always going to have a problem with it, but hopefully it will be appreciated for what it is.

The DVD includes a set-top game called "Quest for the Black Cauldron"; the vintage Donald Duck cartoon "Trick or Treat"; still galleries, and the trailer.

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Related Topics
1990s edition, unknown illustrator

Published in 1964, this is the first book in Lloyd Alexander

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