The Black Cauldron

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"Hidden by darkness. Guarded by witches. Discovered by a boy. Stolen by a king. Whoever owns it will rule the world. Or destroy it."
  • PG
  • 1985
  • 1 hr 20 min
  • 6.3  (40,153)
  • 59

The Black Cauldron is an animated dark fantasy film released in 1985 by Disney Studios. Directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich, the movie is based on the novel The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. The movie follows the story of a young pig keeper named Taran, who embarks on a dangerous journey to stop an evil villain from obtaining the power of the titular Black Cauldron.

The movie opens with a brief introduction to the fascinating world of Prydain, where mystical creatures like dwarves, dragons, and even undead soldiers roam freely. The age-old legend of the Black Cauldron is introduced, with it being the source of the evil Arawn's power.

Our hero Taran is a young and inexperienced pig keeper, who dreams of becoming a hero and proving his worth. His mundane routine is interrupted when one of his beloved pigs escapes, and he ventures out into the woods to find it. It's here that Taran meets a magical fairy named Eilonwy, who is being pursued by the evil Horned King's men.

Despite his initial reluctance, Taran, Eilonwy, and a talking creature named Gurgi decide to band together and undertake a risky journey to stop the Horned King from obtaining the power of the Black Cauldron. Along their journey, they meet several other characters, including a bumbling bard named Fflewddur Fflam, a wise old king, and various other allies.

The movie's themes explore the importance of defining one's identity, seeking adventure, and taking risks. The friendship between Taran, Eilonwy, and Gurgi is a significant focus of the movie, and it's heartwarming to see them grow and develop together. The animation's quality is impressive for its time, with detailed character designs, rich color palettes, and the intricate detailing of the magical beings and environments.

The movie's darkest moments occur when the Horned King comes onscreen, with his skeletal face and ominous presence. His minions, the Cauldron born, are undead soldiers brought back to life to serve his evil purposes. The film's animation, combined with the haunting soundtrack, really drives home the villain's menace, and young viewers may find the movie's darker elements intense.

The Black Cauldron is a movie that didn't receive much critical acclaim upon release, receiving criticism for being too dark and scary for its intended audience. However, over the years, it has established a cult following due to its unique atmosphere and animation style.

The voice acting in the movie is impressive, with Grant Bardsley doing a great job lending his voice to Taran, giving the character depth and emotion. Freddie Jones, who voices the old king, is a standout, with his voice exuding wisdom and kindness. Susan Sheridan as Eilonwy spends most of her onscreen time bickering with Taran, but her character adds a much-needed balance to the group.

Overall, The Black Cauldron is an underrated Disney gem that deserves more appreciation. It's a movie that can be enjoyed by both adults and children, with its unique blend of dark fantasy and a heartwarming coming-of-age story. While it may be too intense for some younger viewers, the movie's deeper themes make it a worthwhile addition to any animation fan's collection.

The Black Cauldron is a 1985 animated movie with a runtime of 1 hour and 20 minutes. It has received moderate reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 6.3 and a MetaScore of 59.

The Black Cauldron
Where to Watch The Black Cauldron
The Black Cauldron is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Disney+, Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent The Black Cauldron for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
  • Release Date
  • MPAA Rating
  • Runtime
    1 hr 20 min
  • Language
  • IMDB Rating
    6.3  (40,153)
  • Metascore