A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
The movie is intended to entertain rather than educate.
The movie offers positive messages about working together and believing in yourself and your friends. That said, characters do rely on weapons to solve problems.
Positive Role Models
There's clear delineation between good and evil characters. Taran is a brave (albeit initially reluctant) hero. Girls may be frustrated at the non-centrality of the princess, but Princess Eilonwy makes a strong showing.
Violence & Scariness
The Forbidden Forest and the enchanted marsh contain lots of scary creatures. Other scenes feature violent soldiers, skeletons, a dungeon with a tomb, and the menacing Horned King. The hero is faced with death in several scenes. An adorable sidekick throws himself into the black cauldron and dies before being brought back to life.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
A voluptuous witch attempts to seduce sidekick Fflewddur; at one point he's turned into a frog and nearly suffocates between her breasts.
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Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Drunken loutishness among the Horned King's followers.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this dark Disney animated feature (based on the Prydain books by Lloyd Alexander) will have much greater appeal for those who enjoy ghost stories and war epics than for fans of musical comedy. There are no songs, and even the comic relief involves violent images. The Horned King twice attempts to murder the hero, skeletons come to life and attack people, and witches use magic to hurl objects. For grade-school kids, the cute sidekicks and rapid pace will be appealing, but the many frightening images could fuel many a nightmare. Older kids and preteens interested in fantasy will enjoy the mystical plot. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
Perhaps the spookiest animated feature in Disney's collection, The Black Cauldron may frighten even fans of Goosebumps and other youthful horror videos. The main character is faced with death several times, while both animal sidekicks survive torture. With the face of a skeleton and a voice somewhere between Darth Vader and the Wicked Witch of the West, the Horned King emanates evil, while his minions act like representations of the Seven Deadly Sins. Prydain isn't exactly an inviting world.
Nonetheless, Taran makes a compelling hero. He starts out fearless because he has little to lose. As he makes friends, however, his concern for Princess Eilonwy (Susan Sheridan) and cuddly Gurgi (John Byner) makes him more cautious, until in the end he's ready to sacrifice his life to save the others. Girls may be frustrated at the non-centrality of the princess, but Princess Eilonwy makes a strong showing -- aside from a screaming fit near the end.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.
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Our Editors Recommend
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