Book to Screen: The Black Cauldron

unnamedDisney’s the Black Cauldron is one of the first book to movie adaptations I ever saw.  At the time I saw it though I had no idea it was ever a book, or rather a combination of two books.  I was just a kid and my parents took us in the old station wagon in our pajamas to one of the local drive-in theaters.

The Black Cauldron is based on the first two books in Lloyd Alexander’s Prydain Chronicles: The Book of Three and The Black Cauldron.  This series and the movie center around the character of Taran, a young orphan boy, Assistant Pig-Keeper to oracular pig Henwyn.

I loved the movie when I first saw it, which I think puts me in a minority.  This was one of those movies that came out during Disney’s “down” period in the 1980s.  It was a darker movie than others Disney had made, and it was PG movie so it didn’t do so well at the box office.

It was years later that I finally read the Prydain Chronicles.  I bugged my husband until he read them and we’ve read them to our son at bedtime at least twice.  I’ve suggested them to many students.

All by itself the movie is good but it is not a good adaptation of the the books just too many changes and seeing as it’s only 80-90 minutes long there is just so much missing.  I still watch it though, on VHS lol.  Actually with this trend in Hollywood to make movies from YA series I would love to see this series picked up and done live action/CG.  I think it could be so good.

All in all I’d say watch the movie first then read the books on this one or you will be disappointed. But hey for those of you that grew up in the 80s as we did, watching this movie is fun as it takes you back to that definitive animation style.

Do you remember the first movie adaptation you saw?


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