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Superman's Pal

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Location: Prague, Bohemia
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Subj: Re: sword and sorcery review #26 "The Black Cauldron" (1985)
Posted: Wed Aug 10, 2022 at 03:14:40 pm EDT (Viewed 98 times)
Reply Subj: sword and sorcery review #26 "The Black Cauldron" (1985)
Posted: Mon Aug 01, 2022 at 11:11:19 am EDT (Viewed 148 times)

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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?

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.

I know this is one of the first Disney movies I saw in the theater as a kid. I also think I had some school picture-book version of it. Having said that I can't remember a thing about it.

Maybe 10 years ago the wife and I were trying to go through and watch the entire catalogue of Disney feature animation and I know we saw this again and it didn't leave much impression. I still don't remember much of anything about it. I'm not sure why that is.

Like not too long ago I rewatched another childhood favorite, The Last Unicorn from Rankin/Bass. Not a great movie but not bad, but at least I can remember the more memorable bits. I can't recall anything from Black Cauldron. It probably helps for you to have a working knowledge of the book series.

All I remember is people saying it was too dark for Disney. It also wasn't a musical. Even the Rescuers and Aristocats had a few numbers in them, didn't they?

That is a really dumb complaint from Siskel.

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