a critiQal film review The Black Cauldron (1985)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: When he discovers his prize pig, Hen Wen, is clairvoyant - and the evil Horned King needs her help in finding the Black Cauldron - pig-keeper Taran tries to flee, but to no avail - Hen Wen is quickly captured. Now, with the help of a magic sword -and a few odd friends - it’s up to this unlikely hero to rescue Hen Wen from the Horned King before he can capture the Black Cauldron.

326 words (Est. Reading Time 1m 37s)
  • ...a decent addition to any Disney collection.

Until I saw The Black Cauldron, I had totally forgotten about The Chronicles of Prydain that I had read years ago. I was a bit surprised by what I saw.

The books seem to have been kiddied-up, for lack of a better term. The books always seemed a bit dark to me, and so it was no surprise that the movie was a bit lightened, being a Disney movie. But it was lightened more than expected, with Gurgi thrown in more for comic humor. I don’t remember him from the novels, but it has been years, so I’m not sure if he was in them or not. Despite all this, The Black Cauldron actually turned out to be a good movie.

The characters were voiced well, especially Gurgi. Is it just me, or does some of his dialogue, as well as his voice, remind anyone else of a certain ogre from “The Gummi Bears” (TV) with his “munchings and crunchings”? I wonder which came first? Anyway, Gurgi does a great job lightening the tone of the picture and making it a bit more kid-friendly. Nigel Hawthorne also does a good job as Fflewddur.

The animation is a bit rustic for our times, but it still does the trick. One great thing to watch for: in the trailer, watch how they tout the new “70-millimeter” film to make the picture more vibrant! It’s a far cry from films these days. The characters and scenery are all very well-drawn, as would be expected of a Disney film.

If you haven’t seen The Black Cauldron yet, I don’t know why, unless you’re not into animated movies. If you are a Disney collector, though, you’ll surely want to pick this up on DVD as soon as possible.

For those of you with kids, this is suitable, but it does contain some scary (for Disney) scenes, so you may want to watch it first.

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