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Reviews Disney / The Black Cauldron

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05/13/2018 11:11:25 •••

Almost works, but it has glaring flaws that sadly bring it down

The Black Cauldron is quite an infamous film in that it almost killed the studio that made it, and as a result it is rather obscure, although in recent years it has started to gain a small but solid cult fanbase. I have seen almost all the entries in the Disney Animated Canon, and this film is among the last ones of the Canon that I watched. I know that this is based on a book series, but I haven't read them, so I'm judging the movie on its own merits.

Okay, the first and biggest problem with this film is the pacing. It's terrible. Scenes often feel rushed, which is a big issue, since it prevents the characters from getting proper development, and this is sad, because I truly feel that this cast could have been quite compelling if they had been given more time to develop, but sadly even Taran (who is the main lead) gets almost no growth. There are also a lot of plot points that seem pretty big at first but go nowhere, such as Taran's sword, Fflewddur's lie detecting harp and especially Eilonwy's magic bauble, which practically disappears from the story after Eilonwy's introduction. As a result if this, the characters come off as bland, annoying, or both. Mostly both. Though at least no one gets annoying to a point where it is infuriating (though Gurgi comes dangerously close).

The Horned King is often described as the best aspect of the movie, and he is. However, he is also described as one of the most terrifying Disney Villains of all time... and I disagree. He certainly looks terrifying, don't get me wrong, but there is a difference between looking terrifying and actually being terrifying. The Horned King looks pretty badass, but sadly he doesn't do much: it is implied that he has great magical powers, but he never uses them, and he is defeated too quickly, and something that looks that scary should not go down so easily.

The musical score is also pretty lackluster. Not the worst, but I find it rather repetitive at times, and it sounds too B-Movieish. The animation is okay, but sometimes it clashes with the CGI and it looks awkward (though seeing that this was the first animated Disney film to incorporate CGI I'll give it a pass).

Overall, I wouldn't say this is a horrible movie, but it does have a lot of problems that hinder what could have been quite an epic story.


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