The Black Cauldron (1985)

…Oh God….I mean, this movie is bad…Really bad…ESPECIALLY for Disney…*sigh* alright let’s get this over with, this is the Black Cauldron….God I hate you…

The film revolves around an assistant pig keeper named Taran who works for the sorcerer Dallben. Taran is sent with a pig named Hen Wen who can see the future when it puts its head in to a bucket of water (Yeah it’s that sort of movie). Hen Wen is being sought after by a dark lord known as the Horned King (voiced by-I shit you not- JOHN HURT) who wants to find the black Cauldron which will allow them to take over the world. Along the way Taren meets Princess Eilonwy, a bard named Fflewddur Fflam (The inbred child of lazy writing and one of those obnoxious Welsh signs) and an annoying little fur ball named Gurgi.

When I was watching this movie I found so much to hate. Firstly the majority of the characters are really unlikable. I hate this main character especially the main character (another thing, the names are fucking stupid and I refuse to use them.) wants to be a great warrior. Alright, fine, your character has motivation, that’s a good thing. It gets annoying, however, when the kid NEVER SHUTS THE HELL UP ABOUT IT!!! I mean, I suppose they’re building him up as this cocky little brat so he’s ready for the realisation that he’s nothing but then he realizes that he can be a hero etc etc. The point is that: a) They really go overboard with the cockiness thing. B) It takes forever for him to go from being cocky, to being useless to being…wait…he never actually does anything, it’s always the sword or the villain’s stupidity. In fact the villain actually dies because he gets too close to the Black Cauldron and is torn apart. Th other characters are all either pointless or annoying, like the old guy at the beginning who says he will wait for the kid at the Inn and is never seen again until the final scene…Why!!?? The annoying creature thing isn’t that annoying but the whole thing where he knows him for about 20 minutes and then proclaims that they are best friends, is really stupid. The story is also pretty boring as is the action but, to be fair, there are some good things…well 2…ish. That’s right, I could only find two things that were good with it and even they had problems. The only two characters I actually found myself liking were the bard (and even then only barely) and the villain, despite the fact he does nothing he’s still voiced by John-read me a bedtime story-Hurt, I had to double-check that he voiced the character and frankly, I am thankful for that. Hurt’s career was saved by the fact that it was difficult to tell that he was even in this movie. The second good thing about this film is that the animation is finally making the progress that you expect of Disney animation…and that leads me to the biggest flaw with this film….


I mean, they barely even manage to hide it. This film came out in 1985, 7 years after Ralph Bakshi’s animated version of Lord of the Rings. The parallels are just astonishing, I mean they’re not even trying at this point! Right, let me go through this. The film’s story is as follows:

A young boy is told by his sorcerer friend that an object in his possession is sought after by a Dark Lord who wishes to use it to help him take over the world. The sorcerer tells the boy to meet him at a nearby Inn where they will plan further but something gets in the way, meaning that the boy is prevented from meeting his friend. On the way the boy meets an annoying, short character who he ‘befriends’ and is led to a large fortress which the other character warns against. The Dark Lord tries to find the boy and his now quite large party of friends using dragon like creatures. Along the way the party enter a hidden place where they meet a group of pixie/fairy/elves before moving on and having to cross through a large marsh which leads to a large fortress. In this large fortress the tiny, annoying friend and the main character fight over the destruction of the object, at which point the annoying character falls over the edge falling the destruction of the fortress which explodes and crumbles. The object is destroyed, as is the Dark Lord and all is well…

Spot the difference people. Hell, the design of the Horned King is very similar, in fact next to identical of the look of Sauron from Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings. The animation, at least the best bits of it, all seem to be inspired by the same sort of animation that Bakshi used. I take back what I said before, I don’t so much hate this film (don’t get me wrong it is a bad film) yeah it has its boring moments, characters and action scenes but the major flaw with this film is that it rips off Lord of the Rings, especially that final segment which is a scene for scene a rip off of the destruction of mount Doom and the battle in Moria. It disappoints me, I confess myself disappointed. Disney has always gotten this very well deserved reputation for, not so much being original, but defiantly adding meat to the bones of folk tales and fairy tales. This is just….Tragic…It’s the point that Disney really begins to fall, this is the low point in Disney history. Frankly, I would rather watch The Rescuers.

A really bad movie, at times good, progressive animation and John Hurt is difficult to hate. The villain design is good but the characters, the action and the story are all pretty boring. Not to mention the fact that it’s LORD OF THE FUCKING RINGS!!!!




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