The Black Cauldron | Chicago Reader

The Black Cauldron

The first Disney animated feature to be wholly assembled by the studio's second generation of artists. With its blend of whimsy and horror, it aims for the texture of the classic Disney features, and it develops a classic Disney theme—the adolescent trapped between infantile impulsiveness and adult responsibility—with deliberation and sensitivity. It's quite good, though by the impossible standards the film sets for itself it inevitably falls short: the character design is a little smudgy, the backgrounds are somewhat unimaginative, and the secret of Disney animation's unique depth—its impeccable perspectives and shadings—seems to have been irretrievably lost. But ultimately what's missing is that intimate, uncannily vivid feeling for children's emotional experience that defines the Disney masterpieces like Snow White, Pinocchio, and Dumbo, and that seems to have been the ineluctable creative contribution of Uncle Walt himself.

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