1985’s THE BLACK CAULDRON represents Disney at its nadir as an animation studio, resulting in a box office failure and years of obscurity. It’s first PG-rated animated feature struggled to find an audience clamoring for its dark and violent tones. However, it has garnered a significant cult following over the years, with its tales of swords, sorcerers, and black magic-infused battles brought to life with stunning visuals that incorporate the studios first forays into computer-generated elements into its hand-drawn animated cels. Does it deserve obscurity, or is it about time to reappraise a hidden gem in Disney’s vast and storied filmography?
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The inaugural review of the 1980s film retrospective, looking at George Lucas’ monumental blockbuster. yes, it’s from 1977, but necessary to dip back to review the later films.
A couple of robots shuttle to a desert planet after their rebel spaceship is taken over by an Imperial star cruiser, capturing everyone on board including the Rebel Alliance princess, Leia. Leia has sent the robots to Tatooine to convey a message to a man named Obi-Wan Kenobi, who she claims is the only hope left for the rebels to beat the evil Empire. A pair of Tatooine farmers buy the droids after they are captured by some scavengers to use on their farm, and after the farmer boy, Luke,discovers the princess’ message, he heads to Obi-Wan to deliver it. While he is away, his family is killed by the Empire seeking the droids, as they make their escape from the planet with the aid of a galactic smuggler named Han Solo, and make their way to help the princess, who is now aboard a space station powerful enough to destroy an entire planet in seconds, the Death Star, to which the rebels have obtained plans that reveal a weakness to destroy it — if only their home base doesn’t get destroyed first.