Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Black Cauldron

I've been hearing about this legendary film by Disney for years, and I decided to Netflix it and see what all the fuss is about.

Apparently, the film caused quite a scandal when it opened in 1985. This film was originated in the Ron Miller era, then Don Bluth led a palace revolt and Eisner and Katzenberg took over. So, it had a very bumpy birth – and it looks it. I hate to pile on a film when it's down, but it deserves to be down. What a mess.
The backgrounds are ugly, with a rainbow of bright colors, and the character design is ghastly. The animation is very crude, which is surprising because people like Andreas Deja, Mike Gabriel, Gary Trousdale, Ruben Aquino, Glen Keane, Walt Stanchfield, Milt Kahl, Mark Kausler and Tim Burton are listed in the credits. The voices are so-so, though the music by Elmer Bernstein is quite good.

But the killer is the story. The main character is this magic pig who disappears from the last third of the story for unexplained reasons. The evil character is not scary in the least, and all of the other characters are downright boring. And the ending of the film makes no sense at all.

Plus, apparently this was the most expensive film ever produced by the Disney Studios and it almost put them out of business. So if you want to see what not to do on a film, check out "The Black Cauldron". I rate it a D. See ya,


  1. Wow, you've never seen Cauldron until now? I'm surprised; and yes, it really is a mess. Fortunately for the crew it was a good hard lesson and they turned around rather quick. I think for such a big animation corporation it was good to have such a bomb - really brings the reality of failure back into thought.

  2. I think you botched up on the story. The pig's not the main character, it's the boy looking after the pig.

    But yeah, I did see it myself, and I really do think it's one of Disney's least to date. It just felt very unremarkable overall, it left very little impact on me, and from hearing about its colossal failure, it's pretty easy to see why it did so badly, due to its attempts at being really dark, its flawed execution and its shoddy storytelling, and not even the occasional spot of decent animation can save its look, either. Though I can honestly think of films that look worse, like Delgo and Happily Ever After...