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The Black Cauldron Reviews

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Ely M.
December 22, 2013
This may be the nostalgia talking, but I've loved this film for a long time.
December 16, 2013
A guilty pleasure of mine, not that great but has enough scale and ambition to keep me invested. I love it for what it tries to do rather than what it does do, take that for all its worth.
December 6, 2013
One of the worst Disney films ever made, the Black Cauldron recognizes rock bottom for Disney Animated Studios. The plot is weak, there is little character development and the story is way too dark for a Disney Animated Feature. This film was truly rock bottom
November 30, 2013
As the 25th and final of the "classic" Disney films, a lineage started with Snow White and The Seven Dwarves nearly 50 years before this film was released, The Black Cauldron's serviceable sword and fantasy story may seem a bit of a missed opportunity. I kept thinking a very simplified Lord Of The Rings, although it's inspired by a completely different set of books, which reportedly hold a greater depth than what Disney execs eventually allowed to seep through. That said, the story should probably go down well enough with younger male viewers, even if the villain (John Hurt) and his army of the dead may be a little too vivid for very young ones. On a technical level, though, the film is extraordinary. The animation stretches back to the lush, detailed style of the earlier Disney features, before the simplified look of the 50s and 60s, and as such, is a wonder to behold. Silky smooth character animation, backgrounds imbued with dark and rich colours (working with a palette that is in fact darker than usual Disney fare) enhanced by some nifty special effects. It had the highest animation budget to date, and it shows.
April 20, 2012
Not perfect but still worth watching.
The Movie King
November 2, 2013
"Get up you fools! Kill!"

For many years, the Disney studio has dedicated themselves to keeping the imagination in the child in all of us and delivers usually excellent and stellar visual effects. But in 1985, Disney hit rock bottom with their fantasy adventure The Black Cauldron, an infamous flop that was notoriously beaten by The Care Bears Movie at the box-office (Ouch!). The film was also hated by many people, particularly parents who were disturbed by darker moments of the film (this was Disney's first PG-rated cartoon). Jeffrey Katzenburg, head of Disney animation at the time, supposedly went as far at to cut violent scenes including decapitations to appeal to more families, but the film was still considered too scary that it wasn't released on video until a decade later. Looking at it today, while it's not Disney's perfect, epic masterpiece, it's an underrated Disney adventure that I think is worth a second look.

Taran is an assistant pig-keeper who longs to be a knight and hero in the medieval land of Prydain. When it's discovered that the evil Horned King is after a magical black cauldron that will allow him to unleash an army from the dead and that the cauldron can be found by Taran's future-predicting pig, Taran goes on the adventure of a lifetime, teaming up with a princess, a minstrel, fairies, and a creature named Gurgi to find the cauldron before the Horned King does and save the kingdom from mass destruction.

One thing that you have to admire when watching this film is the animation. Disney retuned to fantasy-styled animation, something the studio hasn't done since Sleeping Beauty, with impressive medieval looks and stellar colors, and looking at it today, it's outstanding. There's a reason why I love the traditional, hand-drawn, 2D animation, and The Black Cauldron is a fine example of Disney's excellent animation. The best part in this animation is the design of The Horned King, one of the creepiest Disney villains in the history of Disney villains, right up there with Chernabog from Fantasia.

The Horned King is a creepy villain, and John Hurt's voice is chilling. Hurt's sinister voice is the sole reason why I like this film. The other characters are fun as well. Taran's voice is not super mature, but I appreciate the character's determination to doing good. The princess needed a ton more development in why she ended up in the adventure, and same thing with the funny minstrel, but they are pretty fun characters. Gurgi can be annoying, but I was entertained by his personality.

While The Black Cauldron is a fun film, there are a few flaws I had. As I said earlier, the princess and minstrel characters needed more development in why they joined the adventure with the hero. Also, The Horned King's goblin sidekick is very annoying and not really that evil. And last, the most disappointing thing about the film is Elmer Bernstein's score. While I was impressed with the heroic and adventurous themes in the film, the score lacks emotion and some cues, including The Horned King theme, is the exact same theme as the Zool theme in Ghostbusters, which was a much, more memorable score. It's really disappointing because Bernstein is one of my all-time favorite composers and has developed many memorable themes in his excellent career, particularly The Great Escape and The Magnificent Seven.

Yes, there are flaws, and it's not a masterpiece, but The Black Cauldron is an entertaining and underrated Disney adventure, with excellent animation and visuals and fun characters. Despite the darker elements that scarred a lot of 80's generation kids for life, I think that kids today can handle a creepy-looking king and a skeleton army, and hopefully, if the story is true or not, Disney will release the director's cut edition featuring the "supposed" cut decapitation scenes.
Kieran F.
October 7, 2013
Interesting animation and etc but...not one of Disney's best(espicially in this erra where there was quite a few good ones) I think the biggest downer for me is it felt to similar to The sword in the Stone for it to be original.
September 29, 2013
It was a enjoyable and very exciting Disney animated family adventure. It had great animation, music, voice cast, characters, comedy, action, adventure, backgrounds and an interesting storyline. I used to like this movie when I was 6 years old. I would recommend this movie to kids and adults alike.
September 27, 2013
The film is gorgeous, and has a very intimidating villain. While far from Disney's best (mostly due to its boring main characters) the stuff that's good makes it at the very least an OK film.
Maineutral R.
September 14, 2013
This adventurous Disney film lacks almost all of what makes Disney animated features so good, such as the charm of the characters, the sense of wonder and the time given to the story. The voices are OK, the score is epic and the animation is as pretty as ever, but that's all this movie offers. A lackluster Disney film.
September 14, 2013
The Black Cauldron, for Disney standards it's an underwhelming film, with its lack of character development and faulty relationship connection in between the characters and to the audience, as well a bit of a rushed pace and with certain things left unexplained and unresolved. But, it still manages to be entertaining enough with its ambitious animation and (although flawed) intentions, (with the correct amount of the use of very early CGI), and epic music by the great Elmer Bernstein despite the somewhat dark nature of the film, not common for Disney back then or now. Flawed but underrated.
Dammy  G.
December 10, 2012
One of Disney's most underrated films. The main characters aren't great, but man do I love The Horned King.
August 5, 2013
Hllo M BChR HpPy :))))))))))
August 1, 2013
This one was pretty bad!!! First Disney movie to get a PG rating. Almost got an R rating!! Writing was horrid.
July 27, 2013
I find The Black Cauldron to be an extremely underrated Disney animated film. It strays from the typical Disney fairy tale,as it is considerably darker, but no less beautifully animated as some of their more successful endeavors. If you grew up in the 80's like me though, you were no stranger to darker themes in children's films, animated and live action alike. The story is well told, but more importantly, I love the characters and enjoy meeting each one on the journey. Princess Eilonwy is particularly charming, with the perfect mix of heroism and femininity, but sadly is neglected when it comes to the Disney Princess marketing.The villain is by far one of the most fearsome in all Disney animation history! In terms of pure evil he ranks up there with the very best of them, including Maleficent, Frolo and Scar. If you've seen the classics more times than you can count, be sure to seek out this lesser known gem. You'll be sorry you didn't do it sooner!
July 27, 2013
October 17, 2012
The Black Cauldron had so much potential, for having some really pretty animation, being shot in 70mm, based on a beloved book series and have some dark tonalities. But in the end it becomes forgotten in our subconscious and only remembered for what it could have been.

I remember seeing this once when I was really young and always hoping it would come on TV some time. It never did and it wasn't until last year that I finally saw it again, well half saw it, as I was only half watching it while on my computer. But I took the time to give this film my full attention and was sadly disappointed. During the film I spent allot of time on IMDB looking up facts about The Black Cauldron. That is was based on two books from The Chronicles of Prydain, and had about 16 minutes of footage edited from the film after completion. The Black Cauldron production can be traced back to 1971 and took over 12 years to complete. It is said that the 16 minutes cut from the film ultimately hurt the Black Cauldron, making it a lesser film. It would be interesting to see if I liked it better with the inclusion of this footage, but I don't know what could make it better.

Visuals: This animation heralds back to Sleeping Beauty with is gorgeous background detailing. This is one of the most non Disney looking Disney film I have ever seen and I just wish it had a better story to go along with it.

Acting: I loved the use of British accents in this. The voice of our hero is youthful and bright, John Byner's character voices are great. The Horned King's deep voice is frightening and John Huston's narration is a perfect fit, too bad we didn't get more of it.

Story: Oh the story seemed like it could have been great, but what really lacks here is the use of characters and there importance. Our hero makes no sacrifices, besides giving up his sword. The pig, Hen Wen almost becomes a mcguffin and becomes less and less important as the story goes on. Than all of a sudden the story comes to its climax much too quickly. Maybe those 16 minutes could have made up for all these problems?

Concept: There was so much potential! Some great themes could have been put to better use. Sadly the final product didn't work. Someone else should give this series a go.

Personal: I could have felt emotionally close to most every character here, but because of the terrible story telling, it all fell flat. I loved the images though.

Re-Watchablity: I guess I would watch, in hopes that it would become a better film, but I guess that's not how movies work. Someone please re-make this!

September 9, 2007
This early Disney movie mixes a few fantasy elements together for a solid adventure. A simple pig keeper's assistant, princess, minstrel, and fuzzball have to stop a tyrannical king from getting his hands on the fabled Black Cauldron. The animation is superb, and this underrated Disney movie should get a lot more exposure. Princess Eilonwy should be an official Disney princess, and Gurgy may very well have been the inspiration for Andy Serkis' portrayal of Gollum in Lord of the Rings.
July 12, 2013
'The Black Cauldron' was...strange. And with the the usage of the words 'kill' and 'curses' the movie takes itself seriously, even with a future telling pig. Only enforced with no singing. I liked the style of animation and would have liked if i had a chance to see more of it because i feel as though there wasn't much character development or background. I would have greatly appreciated it if we found out why Eilonwy was a princess. There was some humor although most of it was dark or mature such as when Fflewddur was turned into a frog by the witches and he got stuck in the witch who fancied him, bosoms. I really liked the fair folk and wanted to see more of them. Gurgi reminded me Gollum from 'Lord of The Rings' which was interesting and i found it rather sad when he did a heroic sacrifice proclaiming he had no friends. The voice acting was good and overall the film was also good, although i can understand why it's a cult classic now that i have seen it, with it's dark themes, sometimes confusing moments and a borderline happy ending. Still it's worth watching if only to see how dark a Disney film can become.
July 8, 2013
not really for kids, right?
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