Sunday, January 15, 2012

The Black Cauldron

One of the overlooked Disney films is The Black Cauldron, made in 1985.  It was based off the first two books in a series by Lloyd Alexander.  I read the books and liked them, so I decided I had to see the movie.

The movie is...interesting.

It was and is an unpopular movie.  But I kind of like it.  Maybe that's because I read the books ahead of time, so I already knew and liked the story and characters.  In fact, the only aspects of the movie that I dislike are all things which were in the book, but got changed.

For example, Princess Eilonwy.  Oh, Princess Eilonwy.  She is the best character in the book series, hands down.  She takes control of every situation, and most of her dialogue is hilarious.  In my opinion, she basically steals the show away from the main character, throughout the entire series.

But the movie version of Eilonwy bears almost no resemblance to Eilonwy in the books.  And that just bothers me.  She is the best part about the book series, and in the movie, she is utterly boring.  Even Hen Wen, the magical pig that can tell the future (long story), is more interesting than Eilonwy.  Why did my favorite character suddenly get demoted to "not very interesting"?

I'm not sure what they were trying to do with Eilonwy in the movie.  Maybe they just approached her character in the wrong way.  Maybe they got thrown off-track by the fact that she's a princess, and they wanted her to be more in line with the other Disney princesses, so they completely changed her personality.

I'm not sure.  In the book, you don't find out that she's a princess until the last chapter.  She kept it a secret the whole time, just because she thought it was amusing to keep everyone else in the dark.  But in the movie, she's a princess right from the very first moment you meet her.  Maybe it would have been better if they followed the book and kept the princess thing a secret until the very end.

The main complaint people have with this movie is that it's too dark and scary.  I didn't have a problem with that.  They cut out a lot of the scary scenes before the film's release, and they tried to tone down the horror a bit by giving the villain a humorously inept sidekick.  However, the general consensus is that the movie is still too scary for children.

All in all, it's an okay movie.  If you can handle some scary scenes, you might like it.  If you're a big fan of Eilonwy from the books, you might not like it.  The animation and character designs are all very excellent, and the plotline is good, because it's taken from books with good plotlines.  I think I give this movie a 5.5 out of 10.


Anonymous said...

I used to love the Black Cauldron when I was little. But I didn't like Eilonwy because I thought her accent was really distracting.

Anonymous said...

Now I understand why people don't like this movie; because Eilonwy got transformed from awesome book character to boring, seterotype princess who nobody cares about.

...Oh Hollywood, why must you do that?

Moriah said...

I've never even seen The Black Cauldron before, I mean I've seen the previews before but never saw the movie. I think I have to watch it sometime.

Anonymous said...

My Mom never let me watch the Black Cauldron because she said it was too scary.

Anonymous said...

I like the Black Cauldron now, but I will admit the movie used to scare me when I was a child. In fairness though, Sleeping Beauty used to frighten me too. I mean, there is witche and curses, and a baby being taken away from her family under fear she might die, (and then lied to about her true heritage and name for 16 years), and then said baby is stabbed as a teenager and falls into a coma while her future husband is stabbing to death an evil witch that can transform into a fire breathing dragon? The old school Disney movies WERE a lot scarier than their recent ones. I mean, the cat in Cinderella is named Lucifer! I don't think Disney could get away with something like that today.

Anonymous said...

I saw "The Black Cauldron" at my grandparents house and it was interesting indeed! I didn't know what to think of it. One word: CHEESY! lol no harm done, Disney, but you could have done better.