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on 16 April 2015
Director Ted Berman takes Disney in a brave new direction. No musical numbers, no girl power princesses, darkness and a sense of malevolence you never knew they had in them. But it still has Disney values of friendship and the greatness of the little guy. I was 10 when I saw this at the movies. I'd avoided Disney for being sappy (victim of Snow White poisoning years earlier). This is a very dark movie. Totally un-Disney, but all the better for it. Wouldn't recommend it for the very young as it goes to dark places. A really great, out of character venture for a studio that usually provides more saccharine stories. Real shame they haven't done more like this or ventured in this direction again. The animation was great at the time but won't necessarily satisfy the computer animated generation. No one believes me when I say this is a Disney movie. It's a real shame that for their 50th or 75th venture they don't try going out on a limb once again, it works. This was roughly the era of Willow, Labyrinth and The Dark Crystal, all great kids' movies with darker edges than we'd go and see these days. Try this out, remember it's darker and the animation looks rougher than we'd like these days but see what Disney can achieve when they don't follow their own well worn path.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 5 February 2016
The Black Cauldron is a 1985 American animated feature dark fantasy film produced by Walt Disney Pictures and originally released to theaters on July 24, 1985. The twenty-fifth animated feature in the Disney Animated Canon and Disney's first PG-rated animated film, the film is based on Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain book series, which is in turn based on Welsh mythology.

The film centers around the evil Horned King who attempts to secure the Black Cauldron in order to rule the world. The Horned King is opposed by the heroes Taran, Princess Eilonwy, Fflewddur Fflam and Gurgi.

The film is directed by Ted Berman and Richard Rich, and stars the voices of Grant Bardsley, Susan Sheridan, Freddie Jones, Nigel Hawthorne, and John Hurt. A video game based on the film was released in 1986. The film is notorious for being a major box office disaster for the Disney company and being considered one of the worst entries in the Disney Animated Canon (along with Home on the Range and Chicken Little). Though, the film has gained a cult following.
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this is an underrated and seemingly largely forgotten Disney feature. It's pleasingly dark (too scary really for small children - but then so is all the best Disney, e.g. Beauty and the Beast, Pinocchio, Lilo & Stitch, etc.), handsomely animated, and has a strong voice cast. It's concise and well-structured enough to never outstay its welcome, and though it might appear generic "high fantasy," it's different enough and magical enough to have its own identity. If anything, it's almost too slight: it feels as if it should be longer and more epic - or as if it needs to be a chapter in a bigger saga (and it is of course an adaptation of the first / second book in Lloyd Alexander's "Chronicles of Prydain" series of fantasy novels.) But I think it definitely succeeds more than it fails, and in among the dark fantasy it also has a charming sense of innocence and honesty, refreshingly free of the sort of post-ironic, irritatingly "meta," gratingly smart-mouthed and "Oooooo-look-at-me-and-how-clever-and-knowing-I-am!" winks at the audience which permeate so many modern animated features. It's an entertaining, well-made, well-told story. Worth 79 minutes of your time. I'd recommend that if you watch it you also get hold of the five books in the Chronicles of Prydain series and read them too. You'll enjoy the film more by being able to contextualise it in this way, and you'll find out the full story!
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on 23 November 2015
I remember that I was so little when I saw this. The only memory of it was the sadness I felt but I didn't remenber what made me sad.

Many years latter I foung the books on a book fair, and the memories returned. I got the Chronicles of prydain that were used to make this animation and I got this dvd. This story became very precious to me when I realized why I was sad. It also inspired me like Neverendingstory and other books to create new worlds as an artist and writer.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 1000 REVIEWERon 8 April 2010
This is a film that really made an impression on me when I saw it in the cinema as a child. Not normally a fan of the saccharine Disney style, I hadn't been keen to go and see it. However, I came away from the cinema with a totally different opinion of Disney. This is a much darker film than their usual fare, with the usual schmaltz mixed with a good dose of what can only be described as horror.

Telling the tale of Taran, a pig keeper who gets mixed up in the war against the Horned King, who needs the magical and evil Black Cauldron of the title in order to bring alive his army of undead warriors. There are the usual Disney elements here - talking animals, comedy villain sidekicks and moral lesson. But much, much, darker than usual with the demonic Horned King (voiced by an underused John Hurt), and armies of skeletal spectral warriors creeping across the land. I loved it then, and I love it now.

I'm not sure the U certificate is totally appropriate, I think a PG would be better. As a 9 yr old kid I know it gave me nightmares!

This is a nice presentation, 5.1 surround sound (which shows of Elmer Bernstein's excellent score nicely). In widescreen. The colours seem a bit washed out and dingy at times, but if memory serves it was like that in the initial cinema release.

Well worth getting, especially for those looking for something a little different from the usual Disney fare.
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HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 20 December 2010
With an out of control $44m budget it never even came close to recouping, The Black Cauldron was perhaps Disney's most ambitious attempt to kickstart some life back into their animated features as audiences were turning their back on them. A dark(ish) sword and sorcery adventure that would be their first 2.35:1 widescreen animated feature in three decades and their first animated feature to earn a PG rating (and that only after cuts), despite some lavish and detailed animation the end result is let down by a weak stop-me-if-you've-heard-this-one-before story that feels watered down by too much caution and fear of alienating their existing audience. It's set in a not-at-all Tolkeinesque past where an evil Horned King is looking for an object of great power (a cauldron containing the soul of an earlier evil king) that will enable him to turn the corpses he collects into an army of the dead with which he can conquer all Middle-Earth - sorry, Prydain - with only a young pig boy, a scullery maid pretending to be a princess, a cowardly bard, a pig who can see the future and a cuddly scavenger standing in his way. Unfortunately their quest to find the cauldron before him so they can destroy it isn't particularly challenging: in fact, it's downright easy. Nor is it that difficult to wrest from the witches who guard it thanks to their love of a good bargain. Even the grand finale feels rather on the small side, limited to the Horned King's castle where his Cauldron-Born army are defeated before they can be much of a threat en route to a Raiders of the Lost Ark-style climax.

As a result the film's pleasures are largely visual, with the scope animation often particularly impressive and innovative for the day, enhanced by some beautifully designed background layouts which were particularly impressive seen on the big screen in 70mm (it was the last film to be shot in the 70mm SuperTechnirama system and to utilise Disney's Multiplane Camera and the first Disney film to use computer technology) but seem slightly less so on the small one. Elmer Bernstein also contributes one of his best scores, giving the film an epic scale that isn't really matched by the story. The characters veer too much to the bland but unobjectionable - the hero seems a close relative of the young Arthur in The Sword in the Stone - which is a criticism that at times can be levelled at the film itself. You can see the effort and artistry in almost every frame, but the story never really justifies it. It's an okay fantasy adventure, but it always feels like it could and should have been much more.

Disney's 25th anniversary DVD certainly gives the impression that the studio was less than enthused by the result: originally planned as a two-disc edition, the end result is a single-disc release that boasts a superior transfer to their earlier issue but only features an alternate nine-minute sequence with the Fairfolk, art galleries and Donald Duck cartoon Trick or Treat as extras while the trailer from the previous issue has not been carried over.
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on 5 August 2017
For me it's one of the best Disney movies. Excellent animation and a darker kind of story, unlike the usual Disney narrative, with a genuinely grim villain. It's a shame Disney didn't made more of these kind of movies.
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on 17 February 2016
This was ... surprisingly gruesome. I watched it as a child and had the full horror experience. Many years later, I thought I mis-remembered how gruesome and dark it was. Nope, I didn't. I would definitely not inflict it on small children without ready access to their parents and definitely not right before bed, but it's a pretty decent Disney movie that seems largely unknown.
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on 14 December 2015
A classic Disney movie that I believe may be one of their best.
The lore is fantastic, and appeals to both children and adults, although I'd argue this is slightly more adult oriented that other Disney classics.
The artwork is great, the image and sound quality are fantastic, it really is as simple as that.

Definitely worth the purchase, I just wish it was available on Blu ray.
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on 26 February 2016
One of the best films made by Disney.

This brings back memories from the 1990s. A time when I was growing up and for some reason this was my favourite movie as a child.
It was the first thing got me to like fantasy/adventure in general. Hence why these days I enjoy things like Game of Thrones among other things.

Bought this for my two cousins. I hope they enjoy it.
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