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Taran is an assistant pigkeeper with boyish dreams of becoming a great warrior. However, he has to put the daydreaming aside when his charge, an oracular pig named Hen Wen, is kidnapped by an evil lord known as the Horned King. The villain hopes Hen will show him the way to The Black Cauldron, which has the power to create a giant army of unstoppable soldiers. With the aid of a stubborn princess, an exaggerating bard, and a pestering creature called Gurgi, Taran will try to save the world of Prydain from the Horned King. As the new friends face witches, elves, magic swords, and the Cauldron itself, Taran starts to learn what being a hero really means and that some things are more important than glory.
Centuries ago, in the land of Prydain, a young man named Taran is given the task of protecting Hen Wen, a magical oracular pig, who knows the location of the mystical black cauldron. This is not an easy task, for The Evil Horned King will stop at nothing to get the cauldron.
I remember this film being publicised as a trailer on certain Disney video tapes when I was about 10 and I remember how much I wanted to see it because I thought it would make a great change from the likes of &#39;Pocahontas&#39; and &#39;Hercules.&#39; Like &#39;Oliver and Company&#39; (which is better but not quite as underrated as this one despite my original claim of Oliver being the most overlooked Disney film from the 80s), I also thought that it was originally released in the 90s but due to its obscurity, it was in fact released in 1985 and it was a box office failure. Unfortunately I didn&#39;t get to see &#39;The Black Cauldron&#39; until I was 20 when I rented the DVD from my now-defunct local Blockbuster and I really quite enjoyed it then. Today I watched this for the first time in nearly seven years on Amazon Prime Instant Video and sadly I found my second viewing more underwhelming than my first viewing.<br/><br/>The film&#39;s weak points include its somewhat slow pacing, the similarities between Dallben and Fflewddur Flam, the frog jumping from the cleavage of one of the witches being a bit too adult for this film, the dragons looking similar to Maleficent from &#39;Sleeping Beauty&#39; in dragon form, the darker scenes lacking in detail, Eilownwy&#39;s line &quot;Use the sword&quot; and Taran using it being similar to something out of a Star Wars film and, as the Nostalgia Critic said in his Disneycember review for this film, the more powerful/dramatic parts of Elmer Bernstein&#39;s score sounding similar to that from &#39;Ghostbusters,&#39; which came out the year before this film did. As another reviewer has said, I also found the demise of the Horned King very dark albeit its impressive scanimation effects.<br/><br/>On a more positive note, the strongest points of this film include its engaging if somewhat complicated story, the animation being smooth with effective lighting and cel-shading in parts in spite of its sketchy, linear look, the backgrounds being intricately detailed, some funny moments, parts of Bernstein&#39;s score sounding different from that in &#39;Ghostbusters&#39; by making them sound medieval, more upbeat and majestic and most of the characters being diverse. Taran is talkative yet heroic, Eilonwy is one of Disney&#39;s most underrated princesses although helpful and gentle, the Horned King is sinister and reminds me of Skeletor from He-Man while Gurgi, Hen-Wen and the Fairfolk (small fairy-like creatures) are cute. I also found the small green goblin character comical and he made me consider him an early basis of Pain and Panic from &#39;Hercules.&#39; Although I would like to have had the characters to speak in Welsh accents, their voice acting was full of clarity, especially from Grant Bardsley as Taran and Susan Sheridan (also the voice of Moomin in the 1990 2D-animated adaptation of Tove Jansson&#39;s books and Noddy from my childhood favourite stop-motion show &#39;Noddy&#39;s Adventures in Toyland&#39;) as Eilonwy. <br/><br/>All in all, this may be the weakest feature-length Disney film I have reviewed to date here on IMDb but it was worth watching for its special effects, story and range of characters. 7.5/10.
The Black Cauldron is a far cry from most films of Disney&#39;s dark period (1961-1988) in terms of aesthetics. It is a beautiful film to look at with its dark fantasy world, appealing character designs, good score and lush backgrounds that remind me of the detailed backgrounds for Sleeping Beauty. And that is about all the good I can say about this film, which is a dreadfully boring narrative mess.<br/><br/>The plot has little direction to begin with. There is no focus or clear goal to propel the story forward. None of the characters are interesting. Taran might be the weakest of Disney&#39;s animated leading men, having virtually no personality traits other than his cockiness and desire to be a great warrior. Love interest Princess Eilonwy is the same. Fflewddur is mildly entertaining comic relief, but aside from that he serves little purpose and could have been cut from the film with no consequence. Gurgi is to this film what Jar Jar Binks was to the Star Wars prequels. There are pathetic attempts at character development, but Taran and Gurgi&#39;s arcs are so weak that they leave little impact. The Horned King could have been an awesome villain, but he barely DOES anything, leaving most of his work to the ever annoying Creeper, who manages to liposuction all the coolness from the Horned King&#39;s scenes.<br/><br/>I doubt I&#39;ll be watching this again anytime soon. It&#39;s looks are nice, but the story and characters are not emotionally resonant enough to make the whole product memorable. It&#39;s sad, because I love it when Disney delves into dark territory. Such a shame.
A fun-but-uninspired swords-and-sorcery story.
Many of the changes have been made in the movie including merging 2 books, &quot;The book of Three&quot;, &quot;The Black Cauldron&quot; into a rushed movie.<br/><br/>1. Many of the characters has been left out of the movie. Important characters including Coll, Prince Ellidyr, Prince Gwydion, Gwystyl, Adaon, Kaw the crow, Medwyn, King Smoit, horses has been left out.<br/><br/>2. Taran tries to forge a sword but fails while Coll gets mad at him, he also tries to touch the book but gets hurt doing so. The movie has Taran playing with his pig Hen Wen and also has her show the prophecy to Taran.<br/><br/>3. Taran in the book runs after Hen Wen and meets Gwydion while in the movie he walks with Hen Wen but loses her in the forest, he then chases after Hen Wen who&#39;s taken to the castle and Gwydion is absent.<br/><br/>4. Taran and Gwydion get captured by the Undead Cauldron Born and taken to Achrens castle where they are tortured and Achren the witch breaks Gwydions sword. The movie has Taran sneaking into the Castle of the Horned king.<br/><br/>5. Taran finds a magic sword Dyrnwyn and he escapes with Princess Elionwy and Fflewddur Flam and the castle crumples to the ground. The movie has them escaping with the guards chasing after them but the castle still stands.<br/><br/>6. Doli and King Eiddileg are Dwarves and Doli doesn&#39;t get to be invisible until the second book. The movie depicts them as Fairy Folk and Doli can be invisible anytime he wants.<br/><br/>7. In the Marshes of Morva, Taran trades with the 3 witches for by giving Adaons Brooch for the Black Cauldron. The movie has Taran trading his Drnwyn sword instead.<br/><br/>8. Taran and his friends meet with the Morgant army and get captured by them. Prince Ellidyr sacrifices himself by jumping in the Black Cauldron and destroying it, and his horse jumps off the cliff and dies. The movie has Gurgi jumping in the Black Cauldron and destroying the undead army but the Black Cauldron remains undamaged.<br/><br/>9. The Horned King chases after Taran and his friends on horseback in battle and fights Taran who tries to use the sword Drnwyn but a word is said and the Horned King burns up and dies. The movie has Taran shoving the Horned King into the Black Cauldron and the castle crumbles to the ground.<br/><br/>10. Taran, Gwydion and his friends honors Ellidyr who died to destroy the Black Cauldron. The movie has Taran demanding the 3 witches to bring Gurgi back to life by trading the Drnwyn sword.
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