US Animated Movie (1985). Disney. Pr Joe Hale. Exec pr Ron Miller. Dir Ted Berman, Richard Rich. Spfx Bill Kilduff, Phillip Meador, Ron Osenbaugh. Based on the Chronicles of Prydain series by Lloyd Alexander. Voice actors Grant Bardsley (Taran), John Byner (Gurgi, Doli), Phil Fondacaro (Creeper), Nigel Hawthorne (Fflewddur Fflam), John Hurt (Horned King), John Huston (Narrator), Freddie Jones (Dallben), Susan Sheridan (Eilonwy). 80 mins. Colour.
Pigkeeper Taran, apprenticed to sorcerer Dallben (> Sorcerer's Apprentice), tries to shield the oracular pig Hen Wen from the Horned King, who seeks to discover through the animal the location of the Black Cauldron, into which, eons ago, the Gods cast the Spirit of the most Evil king the world has known. From the Cauldron the Horned King hopes to release a host of deathless warriors, the Cauldron Born, and with them conquer the world. Aided by the waspish Eilonwy and various Witches and Fairies, Taran averts the threat. Although disliked by the critics and reputedly by Lloyd Alexander himself (his several submitted treatments were rejected by Disney), TBC can be seen as an ambitious and largely successful attempt to bring High Fantasy within the domain of the Animated Movie. Previous essays in this field were Ralph Bakshi's The Lord of the Rings (1978) and Jim Henson's The Dark Crystal (1982). [JG]