I have such fond childhood memories of The Black Cauldron that I am going to warn you now, this is a biased review! To be fair, I have watched this movie many times over the years and I feel that it holds up. Released in 1985, this was one of few movies for Disney that did not light up the box office, and even to this day, Disney acts like the movie does not exist!
How to Download The Black Cauldron
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. If you like fantasy animated movies, check out also Shrek or Onward.
The Movie Review
This was the very first movie I ever saw in a theatre as a kid and it started my love for movies! In the UK cereal company, Kellogg’s had a promotion where you would get a little figure inside a box of cereal and then a playset you could cut out of the box. Looking back, Disney clearly had high hopes for this and thought it would be a bigger deal.
One of the interesting bits of trivia about The Black Cauldron is that Tim Burton worked on the movie as an animator! As a kid I always loved fantasy and this movie is a Disney fantasy epic and I think that is why it clicked with me so much. Even now, I cannot really think of another movie like this that Disney has made.
The story of the movie is what I feel is its strongest aspect. There is an evil Horned King that wants this magical cauldron so he can raise an undead army so he can rule the world. The Horned King is one of the most badass Disney villains of all time and it is such a shame he gets no merchandise!
On a farm, old farmer Dallben has a special pig called Hen Wen and Hen Wen has special powers, powers that could show the Horned King where the cauldron is! Fearing that the Horned King will capture Hen Wen to use him to find the cauldron, Dallben has his assistant pig keeper, Taran to hide him.
I really do like Taran. Taran is a young guy that has dreams of being a hero, but it is his daydreaming that leads to Hen Wen being captured. Thankfully Taran is very brave so he breaks into where the Horned King lives and tries to save Hen Wen. This does not go well and he ends up captured and Hen Wen is still missing.
From here, Taran joins up with Princess Eilonwy. An old bard called Fflewddur Fflam and a weird little creature called Gurgi. I love this group of characters and they feel like a Dungeons & Dragons party. Actually, the whole movie has a kind of Dungeons & Dragons feel about it which is another reason I probably like it so much.
The way that The Black Cauldron looks is amazing. This is one of the darker, scarier-looking Disney movies and I am sure there are a few kids who had nightmares over this. I also think for the time it was made the use of lighting and shadows is excellent and does well to create a more fearful and scary atmosphere. Now, like many Disney classics, there is no physical 4K release of this which is annoying as hell!
While I will always have a soft spot for The Black Cauldron, I do actually think this is a fantastic movie. It is easily a top-five Disney movie of all time for me and it is such a shame Disney likes to pretend it does not exist! I highly recommend you watch this and if you have kids that love fantasy, dragons, and stuff like that, they will have a lot of fun with this movie.
- This is the best Disney fantasy movie ever made
- I love how dark the movie is
- We have a great party of heroes and a dangerous villain!
- The animation and the whole look of the movie are fantastic
- There is still no physical 4K release of this and the HDR on Disney Plus is way too dark!
- Some younger children may find this a bit scary