Sunday, July 11, 1999

Jul 11 1999

Actually, I’m writing this ast 12:36 a.m. July 12th. Well, close enough. Insomnia has struck (the entire family, actually — everbody’s up).

I finally got my hands on Disney’s The Black Cauldron the other day — the last copy that Costco had. The Black Cauldron is a little-known Disney film that draws from a series of fantasy novels by Lloyd Alexander, and are highly recommended (particularly for the younger lot).

It’s a pretty good film, despite the story itself sucking rocks. Any film adaptation has to cut-and-paste the original plot, but this was ridiculous; they found a long-forgotten, amazingly powerful magic sword down the hall from the dugeon cell the protagonist escaped from. And which he shouldn’t have been in in the first place; isn’t the Horned King completely ruthless? Why didn’t he just kill Taran, who is of absolutely no value to him?

And Taran gives up the sword at the end? No, that sword was supposed to stay with him, as a reminder of all of his dreams, and the realities. The Fair Folk were all just way too cute, though they added one or two that didn’t look like Santa’s Elves rejects into the crowd scenes, just to show you how interesting they could have been.

Plus, the actual characters were much too Don Bluth-ish, particularly the three witches, who were supposed to be mystical (if slightly screwball) guardians of time, but turned into witlesss busibodies…oh, tanjit, I’m ranting. Oh well, not so bad as this guy complaining about Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings. And boy, does that one sound like it needs complaining about.

Anyway, don’t let me discourage you completely; as I said the film is pretty good. The animation itself is excellent, and the direction really impressive. Different emotional elements are handled with aplomb, particularly the gwythaints (dragon-like creatures). I’m not one to cry easily, but my eyes were brimming with tears at the emotional strings pulled at the end. This could have been a kick-butt, Secret of NIMH-level masterpiece, and is instead entertaining enough with flashes of brilliance. *sigh*

It’s a pretty good film, despite the story itself sucking rocks. Any film adaptation has to cut-and-paste the original plot, but this was ridiculous; they found a long-forgotten, amazingly powerful magic sword down the hall from the dugeon cell the protagonist escaped from. And which he shouldn’t have been in in the first place; isn’t the Horned King completely ruthless? Why didn’t he just kill Taran, who is of absolutely no value to him?

And Taran gives up the sword at the end? No, that sword was supposed to stay with him, as a reminder of all of his dreams, and the realities. The Fair Folk were all just way too cute, though they added one or two that didn’t look like Santa’s Elves rejects into the crowd scenes, just to show you how interesting they could have been.

Plus, the actual characters were much too Don Bluth-ish, particularly the three witches, who were supposed to be mystical (if slightly screwball) guardians of time, but turned into witlesss busibodies…oh, tanjit, I’m ranting. Oh well, not so bad as this guy complaining about Ralph Bakshi’s Lord of the Rings. And boy, does that one sound like it needs complaining about.

Anyway, don’t let me discourage you completely; as I said the film is pretty good. The animation itself is excellent, and the direction really impressive. Different emotional elements are handled with aplomb, particularly the gwythaints (dragon-like creatures). I’m not one to cry easily, but my eyes were brimming with tears at the emotional strings pulled at the end. This could have been a kick-butt, Secret of NIMH-level masterpiece, and is instead entertaining enough with flashes of brilliance. *sigh*

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