The Black Cauldron is surprisingly a Disney movie I may not have seen recently. In fact... I don't even remember it though I am sure I watched it as a child. It came out in 1985 and I for sure saw all the movie back then. The movie is based off the first two books in the Chronicles of Prydain series by Llyod Alexander. The first is called the Book of Three and the second is called The Black Cauldron written in 1964.
I didn't love this movie. I don't know what it is... this is a darker Disney film. More for adults I think then kids. There are no songs in this film. Really this is a big fantasy novel series for young adults so I give Disney props for attempting to make this a film. This is like Disney's Lord of the Rings. Lloyd Alexander's reaction was this: "First, I have to say, there is no resemblance between the movie and the book. Having said that, the movie in itself, purely as a movie, I found to be very enjoyable." You usually don't get an author who is alive to be able to talk about the Disney movie based off their book.
I have a feeling most of you, like me haven't really seen this film. So let's talk about what the movie is about. The movie follows a young man named Taran who is an Assistant Pig Keeper at a farm. The pig is named Hen Wen and she can tell the future. Hen Wen tells Taran that the Horned King is looking for the Black Cauldron so that he can unleash it's power. The Horned King is also after Hen Wen since he knows of her powers. So Taran and the pig head to a cottage to hide. While they are on their way to the cottage Taran daydreams about being a big hero and loses Hen Wen. Now we get introduced to one of the worst characters in Disney film, Gurgi. Ughh... in the movie this creature is presented as a dog, the book he is a cross between a human and a beast. In the movie.. this dog is more like Jar-Jar Binks (Star Wars character).. or really Gollum. Seriously he sounds just like Gollum. In the book.. he is a much more agreeable character.
Next up in the movie we see Hen Wen being attacked and sent to Mordor oh wait.. umm the Horned King's castle. So of course Taran follows. Hen Wen is forced to tell the King where the Black Cauldron is. Taran falls in through the ceiling and is captured. Next we see him in the dungeons. While in the dungeon he meets Princess Eiloney (who by the way is the one of the only Disney princesses who is a princess by birth not marriage). They go to escape the dungeon and find a tomb of a king where Taran takes the King's sword. They also meet Fflewddue Fflam who is bard in the dungeon. They escape from the castle where Taran discovers the sword is magic.
|Do you seen Tinker Bell in this screen shot??|
So they leave and run into Gurgi again. While traveling they end up in a storm which takes them down to a cave where fairies live. The fairies reveal that the Black Cauldron is safe and hidden. Taran declares he will destroy it. So they travel there where there are three witches guarding it. The witches agree to trade the Black Cauldron for the sword that Taran found. The group is told that you can't destroy the cauldron but you can stop the evilness if a living being jumps into it willingly. The Horned King shows up and takes the cauldron and the group back to his castle. He uses the cauldron to bring back to life a group of zombie soldiers. Taran decides he wants to jump into the cauldron to save everyone but Gurgi won't let him and jumps in himself. This destroys the army and sucks the Horned King into the cauldron and destroys him too.
They escape and the witches come back to get the cauldron. The witches say they will give back the sword in place of the cauldron but the group demands Gurgi back. So now he is back to life. They all go back to the farm. Let's be honest... this film is so not typical of Disney. This is the first Disney movie to be rated PG and had to be cut down to not be rated PG-13. Disney does make a scary villain in this film though.. and I love that!
The book of course starts out much differently. It does begin with Hen Wen running off from the cottage. Taran tries to hurry and go find him but instead runs into a great warrior Gwydion who is also looking for the pig. Gwydion is the person who gives Taran the name Assistant Pig Keeper. They end up being captured in a totally different castle, though Taran does meet Princess Elioney there and Fflam. It is actually Elioney that gets the sword and later in the first book gives it to Gwydion. Gwydion isn't in the story after the castle scene till the end of the story.
In the book Taran actually meets Fflam by accident. Elioney decides to help Taran escape the castle for a little fun since she lives there with her evil aunt. He tells her his friend (Gwydion) is in there somewhere and she knows someone is in the next cell. So she helps that guy escape and then when Taran goes outside expecting to meet his friend he meets the bard instead. Who is just as surprised as everyone else. They end up teaming up together. Gurgi ends up with them because he kows Gwydion and then comes back to find him (he is missing) and he also ends up with the group. The Horned King actually dies in this book and never has anything to actually do with the Black Cauldron.
The books are quite good. A neat fantasy series that includes all the elements a fantasy would have. I really enjoyed it. The movie is one I have to watch again now that I have read the books. Sometimes I find that watching a movie after reading a book can make for a better experience. The film did so poorly at the box office that it didn't get released on home video for an entire decade!! That is crazy to me. There are so many rumors about what was cut from this film to make it PG. Honestly I don't think it's a terrible film but it just isn't my style. I really do enjoy the books though. Disney tried to make a great fantasy film but fell a little short with this one.
The Great Mouse Detective
The Hunchback of Notre Dame
The Princess and the Frog
Beauty and the Beast
Lady and the Tramp
Alice in Wonderland
The Rescuers Down Under
Oliver and Company
The Little Mermaid
The Jungle Book
The Emperor's New Groove
The Sword in the Stone
The Lion King
The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977)
Winnie the Pooh (2011)
Lilo and Stitch
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad
Make Mine Music
Fox and the Hound