The Black Cauldron (1985)


I knew next to nothing about this going in, only that it was based on the first book of a fantasy series (not a faithful adaptation I heard) and a major flop. Throughout the movie there is an odd mismatch of tone, it’s much darker than most Disney movies, going so far as depicting blood in one scene and some of the monster design is almost inspired in terms of generic but effective fantasy. On the other hand there are continued intrusions of Disneyfied elements: sweets fairies, a secondary pet character, a naive hero right out of the Disney handbook and other stuff. Also the most cuddliest pig I’ve ever seen.

Still, I did enjoy the movie, while still too childish in many ways (it’s Disney after all) it does tell a more or less coherent story that doesn’t feel too much like a collection of disconnected elements strung together by a flimsy narrative, like a lot of the earlier Disney movies. Some of the visuals, for the time, were quite cool and while I wished it had been more mature throughout, it definitely is a lot better than many of the reviews I’ve seen made it to be.

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