The fantasy genre and folkloric legends have always sparked the imagination of readers, but also Disney which, in 1985, brought Taron and the magic pot into the halls, however, making a half slip. Why? Let’s find out together
ORIGINAL TITLE: The Black Cauldron. KIND: Fantasy. NATION: United States of America. DIRECTOR: Ted Berman e Richard Rich. time: 80 minutes. DISTRIBUTOR IN ITALIAN: UIP. EXIT: 1985.
We are in 1985 and the fantasy genre depopulated in every kind of media possible. If on the one hand there are essential cornerstones, such as Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, on the other hand new myths and legends are born ready to make fans dream.
The echoes of Tolkien are still alive in the notes of the “unfortunate” Cirith Ungol and in the many rock and epic metal groups, the eternal sagas of Elric di Melniboné e Shannara are firmly in place among the heavy tomes, the dice roll on the “basted” tables for the sessions of Dungeons & Dragons and the cartons animated they cannot be outdone.
Obviously, when it comes to cartoons, could Disney be missing? Absolutely not and this is where the five-volume work of Lloyd Alexander, The Chronicles of Prydain, is noticed by the famous animation house.
Exactly, with the right “Shuffling” and “cut and sew”, the characters of the American author will come to life under the name of Taron and the magic pot (in original The Black Cauldron) going to occupy the twenty-fifth position of the Disney classics.
The direction is entrusted to the couple Ted Berman e Richard Rich, returning from the great work done with Red and Toby enemies, and the animation is entrusted to Andreas Leave (later he will also work on Basil l’investigatopo, Who framed Roger Rabbit and Aladdin among others) and Ron Clements (Hercules and Treasure Planet will also appear in his CV).
In addition, among the art directors, the name of a young Tim Burton and the voice of John Huston, in the original language version, tells the plot of the film. Not to mention the use of the technique ofAPT (Animation Photo Transfer Process) to animate the most complex scenes. What could possibly go wrong?
One answer could be the following. On $ 44 million budget, not a joke, the film it collects just under half, but this is it more a consequence than a reason real. Bad luck in general, bad choices, alignment of the planets? Maybe yes or maybe no, I think it needs to be revised anyway, but let’s proceed with some order. So I just have to I’ll give you the parola Taron!
The plot of Taron and the magic pot | The must-sees of animation
In the legendary land of Prydain there was once a king so cruel that even the gods feared him. Since there was no prison where he could be locked up, he was thrown alive into a crucible filled with molten iron. But his evil soul did not die and took the shape of a large magic pot. For centuries and centuries, evil men went in search of the magic pot knowing full well that whoever possessed it would have the power to muster an army of immortal warriors and thus, to dominate the world.
With this prologue, I must say slightly gloomy, we are told the events of the enchanted world of Taron and the magic pot. A world where a young boy, finding himself in front of a bigger undertaking than himself, will try to grow and fulfill the dream of becoming a great hero worthy of fame and glory helped by trusted friends.
But these, for the moment, are still the fantasies of a young protagonist who, in everyday life, helps the old and wise Dallben to guard the swine. Among these animals, however, there is one, indeed one, rather out of the ordinary.
This is in fact the little pig Ewy that, if one recites the magic formula while immersing her face in a tub of water, she is able to manifest visions. In a nutshell, it is an oracle on all fours that, unfortunately, must always be kept safe.
His last vision, unfortunately, reveals a tragic truth to Dallben and Taron. In fact, the evil undead king Cornelius knows very well of its existence and wants to capture it to find the magic pot and create an army of revived to conquer all of Prydain and beyond.
Taron must then lead Ewy to a safe place, but along the way he gets lost in one of his reveries and two wyivers kidnap the pig and take her to King Cornelius’ castle. Obviously our hero throws himself at his Chase and, while running, he makes a strange encounter with a bizarre creature.
The latter is the hairy and cowardly Gurghi who, continuing to refer to himself in the third person, initially offers to help our protagonist, but the fear is too much and he gives up. Taron therefore decides to leave for the castle, and try to save her by yourself.
Unfortunately the feat fails and, as a result, he is thrown into the prisons by Cornelius and his aide, lobnoxious and clumsy Rospus. Here he gets to know the Princess Ailin, accompanied by a magic ball in The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time style, and del old minstrel Sospirello, “Accompanied” by a harp to which a string starts every time he lies.
The trio however he manages to escape and, in the escape, Taron also finds one powerful enchanted sword capable of slashing alone, a kind of Excalibur 3000. Later they will come across some goblins ready to help them who will show them where the pot is, but you certainly do not think that the good Gurghi is completely gone, do you?
Either way, the evil artifact is jealously guarded by a group of witches in Morva who, greedy and even a little crafty, are certainly not ready to give it up for nothing. So will our heroes be able to save Prydain and the whole world?
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Thanks to his animation technique, Taron and the magic pot, he allowed the images to come to life in an even more lively and engaging way, accentuating the more dynamic and “dark” scenes. After all, we remember that the two directors had already worked on Red and Toby, enemies.
Exactly, because this film is really much more “raw” than the other Disney classics. The music by composer Elmer Bernstein (The Magnificent Seven, The Darkness Beyond the Hedge, The Great Escape, Remagen’s Bridge and The Rain Man just to name a few), in fact, take the place of the usual songs and act as a sound background for darker and darker environments.
Always in this regard, King Cornelius is indeed a dark and scary villain complete with bones and fiery eye sockets. If you then go and take a look inside his castle, the thrills will not fail and the same thing can be said for the skeletons, the wyverns and the other locations in the film such as the woods.
The atmosphere in general is then able to skillfully disentangle between moments of tragedy and comedy, in this regard, guess then where the voice actor of the mythical uncle Scrooge appears, as evidenced by the interactions with Gurghi e Sigh. I must also say that the discovery of the harp that is “forgotten” deserves and will always snatch a few smiles to tone down.
Let’s not forget that the same cycle of novels from which the animated work was taken is well suited to a younger audience as we are always talking about a coming-of-age novel. You can therefore add this to the “list” they gave you in school.
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Unfortunately, as you can easily guess, Taron and the Magic Pot isn’t exactly doing very well at the box office going to collect about half of the budget already spent. A real “blow” from which it was difficult, for the company of Topolino & Co, to recover.
This is primarily due to the fact that, unlike the other Disney classics, the darker and more raw atmosphere, as well as without any songs, did not make a good impression on the public accustomed to Disney productions. After all, and here we remember it, Walt Disney had died a few years ago and his departure meant that the parent company “slowed down” a bit the pace of the films released in the cinema.
L’“cut and sew” operation facts to the book have practically been taken into consideration two out of five books, he then did turn up your nose at Lloyd Alexander a little who was not very enthusiastic about the transposition. In short, a bit like it has already happened with the adaptation of Fritz the Cat and The tales of Terramare.
It must then be said that this it is reflected above all in the characters. In addition to a reduction in the size of the roles themselves, such as the old Dallben, even the names have undergone a certain type of downsizing.
Just think that it originally was Taron Taran, Sospirello was Flame Blade ed Ailin era Eilonwy. In this regard, it should be remembered that its own design was inspired by that of the protagonist of The Sleeping Beauty of the Woods. A format more congenial to the public accustomed to Disney-branded films.
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Unfortunately, there is very little left of this animated film in circulation, there are no hints or sequels, and the pairing of King Cornelius and Rospus appears in the series. House of Mouse – Il Topoclub sitting at one of the tables. The strange thing is to see him laugh, almost normally, while sipping a cocktail and enjoying the show.
Despite the short duration of the film and some not too good choices, Taron is the magic pot I liked it a lot both at the time and nowadays. A gem of animation, in my opinion unfairly, ended up in oblivion that deserves a second chance.
In conclusion, both the books and the film are easily available, but, to know all the other hidden treasures of animation, we recommend that you stay on TechGameWorld.com. See you then, dear adventurers!