Monday, 3 June 2013

The Black Cauldron Review

The Black Cauldron

Release Date: 8th May 1986 - Australia

Production Companies
Walt Disney Pictures
Silver Screen Partners II (in association with)

Walt Disney Studios Motion
Pictures Australia

Genre: Animation/Family

Rating: PG

Runtime: 77 minutes

Budget: $25,000,000

Box Office Gross: $28,701,061

Plot Summary
Whoever releases the
mysterious Black Cauldron's
powers will be invincible!
The fearsome Horned King
will do anything to possess
it, but he is challenged by
the most unlikely adversary:
a young assistant pig keeper
named Taran who dreams
of doing heroic deeds. With
a motley team of the brave
Princess Eilonwy, a minstrel
named Fflewddur Fflam, and
Hen Wen, a remarkable pig
who can predict the future,
Taran embarks on a quest
to stop the Black Cauldron's
evil once and for all. Will he
have the courage to succeed?

Voice Cast
Grant Bardsley - Taran
Susan Sheridan - Princess Eilonwy
Nigel Hawthorne - Fflewddur Fflam
John Byner - Gurgi/Doli
John Hurt - The Horned King
Freddie Jones - Dalben
Arthur Malet - King Eidilleg
Eda Reiss Merin - Orddu
Adele Malis-Morey - Orwen
Billie Hayes - Orgoch
Phil Fondacaro - Creeper
John Huston - Narrator

Story/Directors - Ted Berman
& Richard Rich
Based on "The Chronicles of
Prydain" Novel Series - Lloyd
Story/Producer - Joe Hale
Story/Storyboard Artist
(Uncredited) - Peter Young
Story - David Jonas, Vance
Gerry, Al Wilson, Roy Morita
& Art Stevens
Additional Dialogue - Rosemary
Anne Sisson & Roy Edward
Additional Story Contributions -
Tony Marino, Steve Hulett,
Melvin Shaw, Burny Mattinson,
John Musker, Ron Clements &
Doug Lefler
Conceptual Artist - Tim Burton
Animation Camera Supervisor -
Peter Anderson
Film Editors - Armetta Jackson-
Hamlett, James Koford &
James Melton
Music - Elmer Bernstein

Ambitious, dark and completely scary that THE BLACK CAULDRON is and I find that this animated feature is very imperfect and a bit of a disappointment to the fantasy fans. The problems that lie in the film are the story and the characters including the main protagonist Taran who is a bit of a fool and his voice is changing and the princess sure she's a good one but we don't actually see her kingdom. On the positive side, I do compliment it for the animation, the music score by Elmer Bernstein and I find that the sidekick Gurgi who acts like Gollum from LORD OF THE RINGS which might be the inspiration for Andy Serkis's acting and I do feel bad for him because people find him a nuisance, but he's actually a poor and lonely creature who just have no friends.

There is one more thing that we mustn't forget about is the villain The Horned King who is probably the scariest looking Disney villain. John Hurt did a highly remarkable job for doing that eerie voice-over of the character and no one has ever mentioned Hurt for portraying that menace.

THE BLACK CAULDRON does not quite meet the benchmark of the other Disney classics. I would personally stick to the other cult films that were animated and made by the same studio like ATLANTIS (click here) and TREASURE PLANET (click here).

Star rating: (3/5) Average


  1. I believe that I watched this when I was a kid but barely remember it, probably for good reason though. From what I remember watching Atlantis years ago, I agree it was a good solid animated film, same for Treasure Planet. I am curious as to what the company has been doing in recent years.


    1. You don't know anything yet but good choice, I can say that Atlantis and Treasure Planet are Disney's overlooked animated treasures that needed more love. As for The Black Cauldron it is clear that it was a unfortunate precursor to those two films.