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Reviews Comments: An underrated classic The Black Cauldron film/book review by Higurashiblood 98

This movie is sadly overlooked for many other lighthearted, forgettable Disney films. I, for one, find many Disney movies to be tacky, cheesy, and flat-out unrealistic. You will never find anyone dying, any blood, any realistic themes or character development at all, instead all of it is just hokey garbage, and my god, the singing gets on my nerves!

This is a departure from the traditional Disney formula, and "The Black Cauldron" gets mistreated due to its desire to be different. I admire films and things that want to be different. Things that are always the same are dull and uninteresting to someone like me. I first watched this film when I got it on video. I still have it as well.

I absolutely adore this movie. Everything about it is great. For once, you have a villain who's appropriately scary and mysterious, he's not hokey at all, he's completely and utterly terrifying. The Horned King is one of my favorites. Taran is the Frodo type, always wanting to get into trouble and being somewhat of a dreamer. Arguably, the most annoying was probably Gurgi.

The plot was really well-executed, too. It did feel a little rushed near the end, and it felt like they tied too many things together in a hurry to be finished. However, the plot is absolutely amazing for a Disney film. This film wanted to show children the dark side of life, how good and evil don't exist, how there are only good and bad decisions. It's sad that this film doesn't get all the love it deserves. It's an excellent series for what it's worth.

The music is creepy, the animation is superb, the characters are well-done, and the villain is memorably scary. What more could you ask for?


  • brownmon
  • 22nd Nov 13
I agree that the ending was a bit rushed, maybe a fight with the Horned King and Taran. But I do agree with its message, self-sacrifice, Taran gives up his sword in order to get the Black Cauldron and then surrenders the Cauldron for Gurgi and Gurgi sacrifices himself for the heroes because he considered them friends. It's a powerful message that's rarely seen in Disney films today, it really shows the Power of Friendship at its finest, rather than getting into fights to get your happy ending. It's all about give and take, and it rewards itself for it.
  • ElectricNova
  • 26th Nov 13
So a film can't be good if it doesn't have blood and death in it?

  • rolls eyes*
  • Tuckerscreator
  • 26th Nov 13
You will never find anyone dying [in a Disney movie.]

Ah, Bambi, Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, Tarzan, Up, Finding Nemo, Pocahontas, Dinosaur, The Incredibles, Brother Bear, Pirates of the Caribbean, etc.
  • Karalora
  • 27th Nov 13
I have to disagree with the reviewer. A couple years ago, I watched The Black Cauldron for the first time since its initial release in 1985. I was eight at the time, and I retained few specific memories of it beyond vague positive feelings. Upon re-watching it, I discovered that these positive feelings were entirely unjustified. The film is a mess. The animation is technically of high quality, but that's about it. The plot is all over the place, the characters are flat and bland, the musical score is completely lackluster. This was Disney's attempt at a Lord of the Rings-type epic, but it very clearly isn't their strong suit.

As a side note, the reviewer disdains the traditional Disney musical format, but the song sequences in a musical usually reveal a lot about the characters and/or move the plot along. In some ways, The Black Cauldron proceeds as if it had originally been made as a musical, but the song sequences were cut in post-production without any replacement dialogue to establish the characters or scenarios.
  • LightningArrows
  • 10th Feb 14
Erm, no offense, but this is less of a review and more of a biased statement. What you wrote implies a lot of things that are incorrect.

First, you seem to imply that a film is bad unless it's ZOMG DARK N' EDGY N' FULL OF BLOOD!!1!11one! And no. This is not true. By that logic then every single R-rated movie ever would be an Opus. Darkness is a tool, not what makes or breaks a story: it can help, but it isn't what actually makes a story good. It's not about the tools, it's how you use them.

Second, no one ever dies in a Disney movie? ...have you ever actually payed attention to Disney movies at all? It is actually rather uncommon for a Disney film to not kill off at least one character. Granted, 95% of the time it's either the villains or somebody's parents, but it still counts. Besides, Cauldron doesn't do that much differently in regards to who it kills off when compared to other Disney movies: the only characters to die onscreen are the Horned King (the main baddie) and Gurgi (who comes back to life). Here's a list of Disney movies that have onscreen deaths (discounting the fakeout deaths/the ones that came back to life). I can't list them all because we'd be here all day, but here you go:

The Lion King: Mufasa, Scar

Tarzan: Tarzan's parents, Kala and Kerchak's baby, Kerchak, Clayton, Sabor the leopard

The Hunchback of Notre Dame: Frollo, Quasimodo's mom

Bambi: Bambi's mom and an unnamed bird character

Mulan: the elite Chinese troops, including Shang's father; the entire Hun army, and also Shan Yu

The Little Mermaid: Flotsam, Jetsam, and Ursula

The Princess and the Frog: Dr. Facilier, Ray the firefly

And there are actually more, but I'll stop here. This list only has films from the Disney Animated Canon itself.

...actually, now that I think of it, it'd probably be easier to list the Disney films that don't kill off anyone.
  • Welshbie
  • 31st Mar 14
Yeah, all your review services to do is remind me that this DISGRACE of an animation has, is a "cult" following.

Unfortunately the word "cult" is usually a justifiably negative term and using it within any context of praise is actually doing a disservice to Disney canon in general.

The only bunch who seem to enjoy this botched-executive-meddling-garbage are necrophiliacs.

Yeah no, disagree. We NEED story. Without story, the bad guy, his motives, back-story, personality are rendered be-muddled and meaningless. Other Disney productions managed to accomplish and develop far-more-threatening villains within the permitting plot. Scar, Monstro, and Gaston are but to name a few. Each disturbed and intrigued us in their own unique way, because they were powerful, cunning, intimidating AND ABOVE ALL gave contrast to the protagonists and their plight.
  • JamesPicard
  • 1st Apr 14
Chiming in on the disagreement, though with a different topic, um, yes, there is good and evil in this movie. The Bad Guy is called a Viilain because HE'S EVIL! THAT'S WHAT VILLAIN MEANS! The guy wants to take over the world with an Army of the Undead! THAT! IS! EVIL! This whole 'there is no right or wrong, only good or bad choices' thing makes no sense. Yes, sometimes good people make bad choices, but that doesn't stop some people from being truly evil. I don't care what this guy's backstory is, his goals and methods are wrong, and he needed to be defeated. He was evil, and there have been, are , and will be people like him in the real world.
  • Welshbie
  • 2nd Apr 14
@James Picard. Does he? His motives are sadly confused, because thanks to executive meddling and the story writers' brains falling out, the story in the last arc of this film... GOES TO POT. Seriously Quest For Camelot has more explanation and exposition than this flick ever did (and that's saying something). This isn't good vs evil, its big bad vs bigger bad. And the laughable "moral" of the story? Kill yourself so some all-powerful witches can bring you back to life. Being resurrected IS NOT a sacrifice.

Give me a break. They didn't even have the courage to kill off Gurgi properly.

Its the reason why the plot sucks so hard - they just didn't care.
  • BrightLight
  • 30th Aug 15
Ignore the idiotic fools who don't like this movie pal, this is Disney's Magnum Opus in my opinion!
  • BrightLight
  • 30th Aug 15
I can't edit my previous comment. Damn.

What I mean is that this film is Disney's Magnum Opus.

  • UPDATE: TV Tropes have finally added an Edit Feature. YES!
  • TheRealYuma
  • 18th Oct 15
It's a cartoon. That "flat-out unrealistic" point is a moot one. Also, the Queen died in Snow White, Bambi's mother died, Ichabod Crane, the protagonist, died (if I remember correctly), Maleficent died and I do believe there was some visible blood there.

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