Cinderella. Beauty and the Beast. Alice in Wonderland. Maleficent. The Jungle Book. Soon: Aladdin. Dumbo. Mulan. The Lion King. The Little Mermaid. Peter Pan. Live action remakes are Hollywood’s most lucrative trend. Maybe you’d say Marvel superhero movies or Star Wars films, but not if you take into account productions costs. Beauty and the Beast made back 1.2 billion against a budget of $160 million. Rogue One made 1 billion against a budget of $260 million. I’m sure the studio is working on adding Pinocchio, Snow White, and Tarzan to the fold as well, but the live action remake I’d like to see is one for 1985’s The Black Cauldron. It will likely never happen. If you’ve never heard of it, you’re in the majority. The film was made in the dark days of Disney (after Walt Disney himself died and before the company’s resurgence in the ’90s) and earned only half of what it cost to make.

Adapted from a series of children novels by Lloyd Alexander, the film chronicles a young pig-keeper named Taran who must retrieve a pig that was in his care before the evil Horned King gains access to its mystical powers. Along the way, there’s a princess, a bard named Flewddur Fflam with a harp that exposes his lies, a grumbling fairy, and (my favorite) Gurgi, a trickster dog-like creature. There’s a lot in the material that could be developed into a very strong adventure film. The core characters are great. I think the villain could use some tweaking to keep him from being just a big one-dimensional dummy. Apparently, Tim Burton worked on the film while at Disney but was fired because his ideas were a little too out there for the new bosses. One idea of his that I’ve heard was to give the villain sock puppets and have him be somewhat of a schizo. That could have been interesting.

With studio execs, off the heels of Game of Thrones massive success, looking all over for a high fantasy with crossover appeal, I think Disney should look into revamping The Black Cauldron and doing it right.

-Walter Howard-

 

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