As a cartoon, it isn’t horrible.. but considering the expectation set by Disney animated feature films, the only word that comes to mind is “lackluster.” "The Black Cauldron" is not one of the more memorable Disney films and less than 3 hours after viewing, I cannot remember the names of any of the characters. This film aspired to be dark and, while it manages to be darker than the other films in the Disney canon, its last minute censorship has created an awkward combination of "almost good" and "kinda bad." Even though they cleaned up most of the gore, the horrific death of The Horned King (which kept this film from a G-rating) gives a brief taste of how amazing this film could have been. In its time, Disney relied on family audiences to bring money in at the box office but I believe that if they released a dark, PG-13 animated film today, they could still draw in a large crowd (like this PG-13 franchise that you may have heard of called "Pirates of the Caribbean"...) The story feels so disjointed with random characters wandering in to the story for eight seconds and then disappearing for the remainder of the film (unless they manage to sneak into the last scene for no explainable reason... to deliver the resounding final line of “Yep!”). I nominate Gurgi for the “Most Annoying Character in Cinema History Award.” I feel confident that the Academy will unanimously vote for him. Like most people, I spent the whole movie wishing that he would die and, just as I thought that my dream had come true... he came back. And to make matters worse, every redemptive moment was erased during his obnoxious comeback and I wanted to see him die again. I can't give the film my lowest rating because, at the very least, Disney animation is always quality and this film dabbled with a few early computer graphics. That being said, there just aren’t any great, memorable Disney moments. Aladdin has the “A Whole New World” carpet ride, Lion King has Simba climbing Pride Rock, and The Black Cauldron has... the climactic kiss lasting less than two seconds before an abrupt change of mood. I can't really support watching this film when you could be watching a Disney masterpiece but if you insist on watching, at the very least it will give you an appreciation for the GOOD Disney animated films and have your imagination exploring "The Dark Disney Film That Could Have Been."
[Pictured: Gurgi, the most annoying Disney character ever]