Considered one of Disney’s darkest animated movies when it was released, The Black Cauldron is notable for the presence of a young Tim Burton (the director of Batman and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory), who worked on the film as a conceptual artist.
It’s the story of a young boy, Taran (Bardsley), who is charged with protecting a psychic pig (yes, really) named Hen Wen who knows the location of the mystical Black Cauldron. An evil lord named the Horned King (John Hurt) wants it and will do anything to get it, so Taran and his band of friends have to face all manner of creatures to make sure that the Cauldron doesn’t fall into the bad guy’s hands.
The story of one boy’s quest, this has some bleak moments in the tradition of early Disney animated movies (Bambi’s mother dying, the scarier bits of Pinocchio and Snow White) that may not be appropriate for really young viewers. But slightly older kids will be fascinated by the storytelling (as based on the first two books of Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain), while adults will enjoy discovering one of Disney’s lesser-known animated movies.
Is The Black Cauldron suitable for kids? Here are our parents’ notes...
The Horned King is pretty frightening, as are his dragons.
Children may be scared when the dead soldiers appear as moving skeletons.
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