The Black Cauldron

Rated 3.0

Long treated like one of the bastard children of Disney cartoon features—and, not without coincidence, the last animated film to begin production before Jeffrey Katzenberg overhauled the animation department—Ted Berman and Richard Rich’s 1985 The Black Cauldron has finally received a proper special-edition release. The dark-for-Disney story concerns a young pig tender named Taran, a long-lost cauldron containing a powerful ancient evil and the evil Horned King, who aims to use the cauldron to raise an army of the dead. A fidgety adaptation of the Lloyd Alexander novels (which are themselves thinly veiled juvenile versions of the Lord of the Rings trilogy), The Black Cauldron has some stirring moments that hint at the story’s potential. However, there’s a touch too much Bluth-iness in the awkward animation, and an unfortunate surfeit of fuzzy, talking what’s-its.