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The Black Cauldron (Disney Gold Classic Collection)
The Black Cauldron
Disney Gold Classic Collection
Actors: Grant Bardsley, Freddie Jones, Susan Sheridan, June Foray, Clarence Nash
Directors: Jack Hannah, Richard Rich, Ted Berman
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
PG     2000     1hr 20min


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Movie Details

Actors: Grant Bardsley, Freddie Jones, Susan Sheridan, June Foray, Clarence Nash
Directors: Jack Hannah, Richard Rich, Ted Berman
Creators: Al Wilson, Art Stevens, Burny Mattinson, David Jonas, Doug Lefler
Genres: Action & Adventure, Comedy, Kids & Family, Science Fiction & Fantasy, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
Sub-Genres: Action & Adventure, Animation, Animation, 7-9 Years, 10-12 Years, Comedy, Fantasy, Animation, Mystery & Suspense, Animation
Format: DVD - Color,Letterboxed - Animated,Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 10/03/2000
Original Release Date: 07/24/1985
Theatrical Release Date: 07/24/1985
Release Year: 2000
Run Time: 1hr 20min
Screens: Color,Letterboxed
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaDVD Credits: 1
Total Copies: 0
Members Wishing: 41
MPAA Rating: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
Languages: English, French, Spanish
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Member Movie Reviews

Rachel R.
Reviewed on 5/11/2010...
This movie is bound to warm the hearts of most folks who (like myself) make up the tippy top of the Gen Y iceberg. It has memorable lil fuzzy Disney characters, and the villain reminds me a bit of a fellow you may recall from Castle Grayskull??

Great Stuff :)
Damian M. (ratchet)
Reviewed on 3/11/2009...
What a piece of poop. Some good animation, but other so stupid. I want to see the stuff that was cut out that allegedly could have made this a PG-13 or even an R-rated Disney cartoon! There was one scene where one of the old witch's top started to come off and there was potential for boobage, but it was cut right there. Also, other cuts are evident by the jumps in the soundtrack.
1 of 6 member(s) found this review helpful.

Movie Reviews

The Lost Disney Animated Movie...
E. D. Garcia | San Francisco, CA | 06/08/2000
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Not too many remember when this movie was released... it BOMBED in theatres.
For starters, no one was ready for a PG rated Disney cartoon... especially one that IS NOT a musical. I think it lasted about two weeks in the theaters, then Disney pulled it.

(Something else people might not realize is that, while a failure in theaters, The Black Cauldron was modified and ported over into TV. It became one of Disney's most successful animated TV series: The Gummy Bears. While Taran, Eilonwy, and Creeper are renamed and not the main characters, they are in there!)

Left in the Disney vaults until 1998, this now restored full-length animated feature is a gem, if not a bit rough around the edges. Without your standard "filler" material of songs and silly dancing, The Black Cauldron uses dialog, stunning animation, and action to keep it moving.

The movie is dark, foreboding, and just plain creepy. It is rated PG, and I DO NOT recommend letting your kids sit in front of this one alone!

But for all its good points, The Black Cauldron strays far from Lloyd Alexander's books, too much is left unexplained, and you never get the chance to really care for any of the characters. Compared to other Disney movies, this is a major change as we're always drawn in and quickly bond with the lead characters.

Oh, and contrary to what other reviewers have said, this was NOT Disney's first PG rated movie. That honor goes to The Black Hole (1979).

While this movie is a must for Disney collectors, the rest of us could pass it up and not miss much."
One of Disney's most enchanting (and unappriciated) classics
Jake Stitch | USA | 01/22/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Being an avid Disney video collector, I of course saw trailers for this release hitched onto other 1998 tapes, and was genuinely amazed with them alone. Needless to say I ran out to the store August 4 of that year to buy my copy of this never-before-released-on-video animated Disney flick and popped it into the VCR as soon as I got home. I honestly do not understand why so many people who have reviewed this movie have called it bad. Sure, it's different, and yes, it did recieve a PG rating, but those are not nessesarily bad things. And, yes, appearently it IS different from the book, but, putting all of that aside, it is a WONDERFUL movie, and, unlike some reviewers, I'm very glad that they let it out of the vaults.Taran, dreams of being an incridible warrior, but soon finds himself reduced to searching for Hen Wen, a young pig he tends to that has run away. This eventually leads to his embarking on a quest to find the mythical Black Cauldron, which gives the one who bears it ultumate power, before the evil Horned King. Aside from the adventurous, dark mood, the movie carries other strengths, too. First off, the characters are amazing and can be related to. I too have dreams and fears just like Taran (in fact quite simmilar in one perspective), and he is like a welcome friend to me. Gurgi is cute and funny and is this movie's classic Disney sidekick; there's one in every classic, you know. Second, there's the annimation - it's amazingly mood-setting and obviously helped the animators learn a great viriaty of skills they would use in later films. Finally, there's the film's tear-jerking (yes, I did say "tear-jerking" in regard to Disney's "The Black Cauldron," folks) ending and the timeless moral that is illustrated within it -- I won't say what it is; you have to go rent (or better yet buy) this too-often-ignored Disney gem to find that part out. To top it all off, the original 1998 release has a very cool-looking cover, supposedly "FX packaging" according to some old TV spots; the Gold reissue has a wonderful (different) logo and cover image too.All in all, I can't find a negative thing to say about it. The DVD supposedly has it in widescreen, which I'd love to see - and the Gold Collection issue (in both VHS and DVD formats) has "Trick or Treat," a classic Donald Duck short. I don't know why I don't have this on DVD yet! It's something you and I should both make a point to get. Amazing! ***** 5/5"
Not a Disney "classic", but an interesting experience.
Jonathon Turner | Highland Park, NJ USA | 04/15/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)

"In 1985, Disney attempted to do a PG-rated swords-and-sorcery animated tale based on a good source material--Lloyd Alexander's CHRONICLES OF PRYDAIN. The resulting movie had a lot of winning things going for it--for one, the animation was impressive for its time, showcasing an early mixture of CG effects. A massive underscore by Elmer Bernstein (which remains one of the best for a Disney movie) substitutes singing characters here. In addtion, there are at least some well-defined (and created) characters, notably the young, inexperienced "pig-boy" Taran, the terrifying Horned King (voiced superbly by John Hurt) and of course the two "comic" characters, Gurgi (a Gollum-like character with a childlike innocence and more loyalty--and an equally cuddly voice) and Creeper (a great baddie sidekick for a villain).

And yet the movie is considered Disney's greatest failure. It is understandable to see why: for one, the movie flopped at the box office (in fact, it took more than 10 years after its theatrical debut to finally arrive on home video). Second, in trying to compress the five-volume "Chronicles of Prydain" into one movie, the story comes across as a little too overplotted and frustratingly leaves questions one is likely to have about its characters (and magic rules) unanswered. The third reason is that aside from the aforementioned quartet of Taran, the Horned King, Gurgi, and Creeper, the characters aren't as well defined or memorable as they could be. In particular, Princess Eilonwy (whose bitchiness from the novels has been noticeably toned down for the film) comes across as an underdeveloped heroine--her abrupt shift from berating Taran's boasting about who got them out of trouble to a quasi-romantic love interest felt jarring to me. The same, frustratingly, feels true for many of the other characters, even if some of them (Fflewdurr Flamm, an elderly minstrel whose harpstrings happen to snap every time he lies) are actually quite likeable and/or interesting (a trio of batty witches who hold the titular object).

But even with its flaws, THE BLACK CAULDRON is by no means Disney's worst animated feature (that prestigious title belongs to HERCULES and probably HOME ON THE RANGE). True, it is problematic, but I nonetheless enjoyed the movie and applaud the animators for painting a grim, gothic fantasy setting through art. If only the plotting and characters were better developed, it would've been a classic. I would definitely recommend reading the books to get a full experience on the universe Disney was struggling to portray but by all means try out the movie as well. It has a lot of high points and there are some great animation effects (notably when an army of skeleton warriors comes alive), even though it probably isn't one of Disney's best.

A word of caution to parents: this is probably not a good film for children to watch. THE BLACK CAULDRON was clearly rated PG for a reason--not anything in the way of graphic violence or profanity, but there are lots of scenes which do come across as nightmarish, especially those involving the Horned King.

As far as the DVD release goes, it's a bit sparse on the extras, but the slide-show feature on its production origins and spin-offs warrants the purchase alone. The visual transfer is well done (aside from a few film scratches and one period of dirt filter) and it sure beats watching a pan-and-scan version. The real star of the DVD, though is the Dolby Digital 5.1 sound mix. THE BLACK CAULDRON was originally mixed for six-track Dolby Surround, and the music by Elmer Bernstein comes across as brilliant and the dialogue separation is impeccable.

So there you have it, my impressions of this flawed yet grossly undervalued entry to the Disney animation cannon. True, it's far from perfect, but as long as you don't compare it to the books (and acknowledge that it was created at a time when the studio was in something of a slump), THE BLACK CAULDRON is enjoyable and leaps and bounds above the weakest animated films ever made."