Golden, Silver, and Bronze Ages >> View Post
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Post By
Paladin

Location: Prague, Bohemia
Member Since: Tue Apr 06, 2010
Posts: 1,966
Subj: sword and sorcery review #26 "The Black Cauldron" (1985)
Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 at 11:11:19 am EDT (Viewed 148 times)


Full disclosure: this film is based on one of my all time favourite book series "The chronicles of Prydain" published in the 1960s which I read regularly. There's no way this film could live up to the series and it does not follow the series closely. I recommend the book series 100 per cent. In many ways, it is a less cerebral, more emotional, version of Lord of the rings. So I'll be biased against this film by definition.

In the 80s, Disney animation was in dire shape, not recovering till "the Little mermaid". This is one of the films that nearly killed it. It was a huge flop.

It follows the adventures of a young, Welsh orphan "assistant pig keeper" named Taran, ward of a wizard, who dreams of being a hero. When his orracular pig escapes, he goes on a quest to find it. An evil lord called the Horned king wants to capture the pig. He meets companions along the way: Flueuder, a failed bard, Gurgi a strange creature and the Princess Elionwy. They must destroy a magic cauldron which animates dead warriors.

The film is better than it gets credit for. The animation is strong, downright scary at times. The voice acting and characters are interesting with developed personalities. It is probably better than most disney films for me. Its a film that I think woud be better remembered if it didnt have disney's name attached. The horned king might be the scariest disney villain ever.

Tarran is a hot-headed teenager who grows on his hero journey. Gurgi unfortunately is an annoying creature with a poor voice choice. Elionwy is sweet and a less-traditional disney princess. the best character is the bumbling bard, Fluewder, who's harp stings break whenever he exaggerates the truth.

the film was in production nightmare, and was critically acclaimed but a box office bomb. I came across this Siskel and ebert review in which Siskel has some of the stupidest critisim ever. His main complaint is that "the actors all have British accents. Why can't they have good old American accents?" Um, because the film is set in mythical Britain, maybe?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IXra6j6iyQI&t=334s&ab_channel=RetroTVnstuff

Overall, the film is better than it gets credit for and has a pretty heroic final scene. As long as you don't try to compare it to the vastly superior books.






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