By the time the dramatic fireworks start popping off, each one feels earned.
The movie's neither hopeful in contrived ways, nor hopeless in different contrived ways. Somehow it manages to be wonderful
One of the worst ways to make a cult movie is to set out to make a cult movie.
I'd heard about this movie from a Sierra game but never got a chance to watch it until the late 1990s. It seemed to have an interesting premise; a magical artifact, a would-be hero, an enchanted princess, a funny furry, and a minstrel. It's like Dungeons and Dragons or something. And I actually enjoyed watching the film. But later I read the books that inspired this Disney film, Lloyd Alexander's The Chronicles of Prydain, and was a little taken aback by all the differences from the books. Some things were just wrong. I won't say for those of you who haven't seen the movie or read the books, but you'll see what I mean. It might be decent for those of you who like D&D-styled films but if you're a fan of the Prydain books, steer clear! I don't know if I'll watch it again. Give me The Book of Three or the original Black Cauldron book any day.
This movie is a rather low point in the history of Disney studios. The story revolves around a king (who looks like the Devil) who aspires to be the lord of all things, needing to get a cursed cauldron that has been hidden because of his potential evil power. And the only one who can possibly tell him where the cauldron is hidden is Taran, who has in his guard a sow with divinatory powers. Summarized, thus, its not difficult to understand the illogical confusion of this script, nor the terrible way the characters were conceived. The animations are also not very good, with a heavy, strong trace, low light and dark colors. Disney has always used us to exquisitely crafted, visually elegant and bright films. What happened here? Wasn't the theme of the film dark enough? We also have the problem of music. This film, against the habit of this renowned studio, has virtually no soundtrack. To conclude, I leave here a parental warning: this film, although it was intended for young people, is not suitable for impressionable children. At least that's my opinion. Some scenes are strong, sometimes impressive and scary.
The Black Cauldron will never go down as a classic in Disney's history. It was a complete commercial failure upon first release and it's somewhat easy to understand why - no musical numbers (just an underscore), no fairy tale romance, steps on the dark side an awful lot etc. Negatives: The protagonist is very irritating, the voice work for Taran, Eilonwey and Gurgi is grating and distracting. There's a few animation inconsistencies and the story-line does feel a little scattered and unfocused at times. Examples of this is when they encounter the witches and the fairies. The jump scares are quite overwhelming too - it makes any viewer anxious of what's going to happen next. Positivies: The villain is seriously one of Disney's best. The Horned King is haunting, mesmerizing, powerful and terrifying all at once. He's very impressive and I would class him in my top 10 Disney villains. The animation, though inconsistent, is very beautifully drawn at times and detailed (the design of the castle). I also love the scene where the Horned King summons the dead and they march together. It's very haunting to watch but also chilling in a satisfying way.Yes, The Black Cauldron is certainly not for everyone. And it's definitely not geared towards children. But none the less I enjoy it and it's one which I will considering re-watching soon.
I watched this movie expecting a movie for children but a while in I had to notice that it is not at all suitable for children under the age of 6 or even 10. Other than Bambi for example the unsuitable content isn't limited to one scene but is pulled through half of the movie beginning with the body and ending with the movie. The beginning is cute and the characters are nice and funny but now and then you feel a bit freaked out by some situations. The tension is built up in the body and explodes in the final leaving young minds exposed to the spooky action terror drama set up at the end. If I had seen this movie at primary school age I'd be traumatized and I would have the permanent fear of losing someone. To put it in a nutshell for me it was a big mistake and I am desperately disappointed in Disney.