The Black Cauldron
The Black Cauldron is a 1985 American animated adventure fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Feature Animation in association with Silver Screen Partners II and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The 25th Disney animated feature film, it is loosely based on the first two books in The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander, a series of five novels that are, in turn, based on Welsh mythology.
A young boy and a bunch of misfit friends embark on a quest to find a dark magic item of ultimate power before a diabolical tyrant can.
Why It Rocks
- Much like The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Pocahontas, it shows that Disney is more than capable of making films that are light-hearted, innocent, and happy-go-lucky.
- Wonderful animation with nicely done backgrounds and setting.
- Nicely done grasp to its source material, The Chronicles of Prydain.
- Brilliant voice acting, mainly from Grant Bardsley as Taran and Susan Sheridan as Princess Eilonwy.
- Well-done character and story development.
- The Horned King and his undead army are nightmarish, spine-chilling antagonists to watch.
- Memorable, interesting characters, such as the main protagonist, Taran.
- The plot for the movie is very original and well thought out.
- Though the film has its funny and heartwarming moments, it can also get very serious and suspenseful at times which is something very new and original for Disney.
- It can get extremely dark for Disney’s younger target audience, which spawned some controversy.
- Some scenes were edited in post production. One, in particular, the Cauldron Born scene, has a very noticeable jump on the soundtrack due to a jarring cut.
- The characters come across as underdeveloped at times, as does the plot. (It's a condensation of the first two Prydain books.)
- Gurgi can get rather annoying at times.
- Since the film bombed at the Box Office, it nearly caused Disney to file for bankruptcy.
- Expanding on that topic, it flopped so hard that The Care Bears Movie was more commercially successful.
The film holds an approval rating of 53% on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 32 reviews, with an average score of 5.54/10. The critics' consensus stated "Ambitious but flawed, The Black Cauldron is technically brilliant as usual but lacks the compelling characters of other Disney animated classics.
Roger Ebert of The Chicago Sun-Times gave the film 3 1⁄2 stars out of four praising the film as "a rip-roaring tale of swords and sorcery, evil and revenge, magic and pluck and luck...And it takes us on a journey through a kingdom of some of the more memorable characters in any recent Disney film." He noted how "involving" the story was, and felt "the key to the movie is in the richness of the characterizations, and the two best characters, I think, are the Horned King and a fuzzy little creature named Gurgi."