Alas, Poor Scrappy: Gurgi sacrifices himself to destroy the Cauldron Born Army, but he is resurrected.
Anticlimax Boss: Despite all the build up the character had, the Horned King doesn't put up much of a fight before he is sucked into the cauldron: he lunges unarmed at Taran and grabs him, showing no display of powers or fighting abilities whatsoever, and is killed when Taran pushes him in the general direction of the cauldron.
Broken Base: The movie as a whole. Either it's one of Disney's most unique underrated classics, with an enchanting world, likable characters, and a genre Disney hasn't tackled much (high dark fantasy/medieval fantasy ala Lord of the Rings - the closest we have to that is Sleeping Beauty); or it's one of the most generic, cliched movies that tries to be something ambitious but mostly comes off as a poor rip-off, and barely stands out compared to the other fantasy films of the 80s (Labyrinth, The Never-ending Story, The Last Unicorn...).
Counterpart Comparison: With Link. Predating The Legend of Zelda by a year, Taran wears clothes and carries a sword strikingly similar to those of Link in his very early years. Plus looting dungeons, working well with animals, wielding a magic sword, having to stop a very old Big Bad from getting an artifact of great power, and breaking lots of pots. Also, Eilonwy seems to be this to Zelda.
Peter Jackson and Andy Serkis seem to have taken inspiration from Gurgi's voice and mannerisms...
Heck, the comparisons to The Lord of the Rings don't end there. After all, the story happens to be about a boy from the countryside guided by his elderly mentor to go on a quest to destroy a magical artifact that would kill the evil overlord ruling over the land. You draw your own conclusions from here.
Ensemble Darkhorse: The Horned King. Even if the movie failed at the box office and is one of the lesser known Disney feature films, The Horned King is a cult favorite within the Disney fandom and many times is compared with the likes of Maleficent and Chernabog. He probably would've had a respectable presence in Disney properties if it hadn't been for the movie's poor initial reception. Fans have even demanded Disney to let the Horned King to make an appearance in future Kingdom Hearts games. Being played by the late John Hurt probably has quite a bit to do with it.
And Japanese Love the Horned King: Popular enough to appear in several video games as the Final Boss and to be the center of the Cinderella Castle Mystery Tour at Tokyo Disneyland. Heck, if anything, he's a constant throw in for a possible Kingdom Hearts villain for what it's worth.
Most of the violence and death in the movie (both what was allowed to be shown and what Katzenberg left on the cutting room floor) these days wouldn't be out of place on Cartoon Network's Adventure Time.
The magic sword sounds and glows much like a lightsaber, as well as being able to cut through most anything. The Horned King also has a habit of throttling his underlings when they have failed him. Then Disney acquires the rights to Star Wars.
Most Annoying Sound: The witch's deranged laughter quickly becomes this when she does it constantly in her scene.
Gurgi's voice, to most viewers.
Never Live It Down: The troubled production and ultimate box office failure of the film shook the Walt Disney Company so much that even after the successful revitalization of its animation department in the years that followed, they largely ignored it for the next decade or so and have released virtually no merchandise tied to it; not even of Princess Eilonwy who remains absent from the Disney Princess lineup. It eventually received a full VHS release and later a DVD release thanks to its respectably cult following, but remains one of its least-publicized pictures.
Gurgi isn't quite as bad as most examples, but he has the makings of one: a small, nonhumancomic relief character with a grating voice whom the filmmakers are desperate to prove is cuter and more charming than he is.
Creeper may also qualify, given his tendency to break the mood during some of the Horned King's more genuinely frightening scenes.
For some folks, Taran qualifies as one. Most people find his bragging annoying, and they do not like either how he patronizes Eilonwy in a very sexist demeanor ("What does a girl know about swords, anyway!?").
So Okay, It's Average: The wider consensus of the film, which agrees that while it's far from the worst animated movie and actually has a few good points, its story and characters are thoroughly underwhelming with few of the traditional Disney elements to compensate for it.
Squick: Orwen's unsettling attraction to Fflewddur.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: The Horned King is held by some to be a genuinely terrifying Disney villain, yet sadly has little to show for this due to his surprisingly easy defeat at Taran's hands.
They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: Who else is disappointed Taran had to give up the awesome magical sword midway through, instead of maybe using it on The Horned King?
True Neutral: The three witches. They're more concerned with serving their own goals than getting involved in the war between good and evil happening just outside their swamp. It's possible that this is the very reason they were appointed to guard the Black Cauldron in the first place—they have no interest in using it, only having it, and it's apparently completely safe from the Horned King so long as it's theirs. The only nasty thing they do is transform people into frogs and eat them, but judging by their actions, it's possible they only do that to intruders.
Vindicated by History: Its noticeably darker tone, new animation format, Executive Meddling and a lot of bad luck made 1985 viewers see the film as a train wreck; modern viewers can appreciate it more.
Visual Effects of Awesome: For all its problems, the film's animation stands out as one of its more polished elements and really lends itself on the dark tone and atmosphere of the story.