Of course, one could also say that Disney has always been awkward at doing "darker" movies and that maybe those two movies really weren't that great.
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I recently thought about this movie and how it corilates to the more recent Atlantis. This was an attempt at a darker, more serious animated film on the part of Disney, it was a pioneer in the CGI department, and seemed to break alot of the established Disney traditions. However, many people thought that it didn't quite have the charm, and "fun" feel other movies did. Thusly it didn't get the publicity or support needless to say it bombed.
Fast forward to 2001 and Atlantis, Disney again trys to break the mold but again is met with a mixed bag of responsess, the movie keeps afloat (pun intended) but fails to garner the box office cloat that other Disney movies had.
Interestign parralells huh?
My main objection to 'Black Cauldron' was that I couldn't follow the plot. For my money, it's a prime example of excellent animation failing to compensate for flawed writing.
Just for the record; I have a significantly higher opinion of 'Atlantis'- at least I could tell what was going on.
I was extremely disappointed, as I love the books and have very pleasant memories of the Disney read-along tape as a kid. Why couldn't they have hired that narrator?
I think the plot really was the biggest problem, being much too disjointed to follow well. A good chunk of the film was reputedly cut out for being too graphic. The animation kept yo-yoing from good to bad to worse, though the stills I'd seen beforehand looked great.
Now why can't they remake this?!
A friend of mine had me watch this after telling me how good it was for ages. When I saw it, the plot was easy enough to follow, but it wasn't very good. I never read the original book it was based on, and this movie did not inspire me to ever pick it up. The plot was pretty predictable and the characters were annoying.
Atlantis had the same problem as the Black Cauldron in that the animation, (which wasn't particularly spectacular in Atlantis) couldn't compensate for a bad story. I had no problem with it being less bouncy and happy, I usually like darker stuff better, but neither movies cut it for me.
RogueMartian, Prisoner of Circumstance
I'm gonna sleep this off like a baaad hangover
"Cuz, y'know, nothing says stealth like neon-friggin'-orange." -Conekiller
I'm with RogueMartian. I'm not sure if the plot was overly complicated, since that's usually not a problem for me (I even got both The Maltese Falcon and the Mission: Impossible flick on the first viewings!--real life is another thing altogether, natch ;)). But pretty much every aspect of the thing had been done better somewhere else. The fact that it's the first time Disney was doing some of it isn't enough to make it a good movie.
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