Disney Should Make a Live-Action Remake of The Black Cauldron

It looks like Disney won’t stop making live-action remakes of their classic animated films. The new version of The Little Mermaid hasn’t been shown in theaters yet but that hasn’t stopped the House of Mouse from revealing they’re making a live-action version of Peter Pan for Disney+. Like my colleague on this site, I’m not exactly keen on the idea of Disney doing this as they’re never as good as the originals anyway. So why bother? However, I don’t think anything will stop Disney from doing this. If people will still keep on spending money to see them, why would they stop?

However, that did get me thinking of what live-action versions of classic Disney cartoon movies I would actually like to see. There’s a part of me that would like to see something weird, like maybe The Rescuers (so I can see Disney try to pull off making CGI mice and cats mingle with human actors) or The Sword in the Stone (just because I want to see the insane battle between Merlin and Mad Madam Mim in live-action form). But there is honestly a Disney animated film that I would really want to see made into live-action… in an unironic sort of way.

That would be The Black Cauldron.

If you haven’t heard of The Black Cauldron, well, I don’t blame you. It’s a fairly infamous film as it nearly caused Disney’s animation studios to close down. It was a huge box-office bomb, only raking in around half of its production budget when it was released. So, why would I want something like this be remade into live-action? Well, there are several reasons why I would love to see The Black Cauldron specifically get the live-action treatment.

The first reason why I would want this for The Black Cauldron is because, generally speaking, it’s a bad movie. And I’ve written about how I believe remaking bad movies can be a good thing. There are a couple of reasons why I think this, least of all is because remakes are almost always never as good as the original. This leaves a lot of room for improvement for remakes to improve on the original. Another would be because, since bad movies aren’t too popular in the first place, you don’t have to bother shoehorning in “nostalgic” bits because there isn’t anything to be nostalgic for! It’s kind of a win-win.

Another reason is the animated version of The Black Cauldron is refreshingly dark. This movie marked the first time a Disney animated feature film was given a PG rating. Why? Because of all the dark and horrific scenes it has. The Black Cauldron has probably the most terrifying villain in a Disney animated film in The Horned King. He’s not some bumbling buffoon with wild flailing arms like in other Disney cartoons. No, The Horned King is a nightmare-inducing monster who can control very dark magic. So, yeah, I’m betting five year-olds would needs their mommies and daddies by their side when he first appears.

There’s also the matter of how horrific some of the scenes are in the uncut version of The Black Cauldron. Yes, Disney actually had to remove some of the scarier scenes from the animated movie because, during a test screening, kids were crying and leaving during some particularly morbid moments. Now, wouldn’t we all just want to see Disney make a live-action version of something like this today? After all, we now have a PG-13 rating and Disney made full use of that with the first Pirates of the Caribbean movie. So, why not make a more teen targeted version of The Black Cauldron? You know that’ll sell a lot of tickets because of how dark and scary it’s going to be!

Finally, like a lot of Disney’s earlier animated films based on books and fairy tales, their version of The Black Cauldron isn’t all that faithful to the source material, The Chronicles of Prydain. The animated movie is based on the first two books of the series. But Disney did mangle the story and characters in an attempt to smush them together into one coherent story. Main characters central to the entire Chronicles of Prydain series, like Prince Gwydion and Awarn The Death Lord, are missing from the movie. Disney even reworked the ending because entire plot threads had to be reworked to fit both books into one story.

So, why not do it right? While it doesn’t really fit into the mold of a straight live-action remake of The Black Cauldron, they could do the Chronicles of Prydain right and take each book and make them into their own movies. There are five books so Disney could easily do five movies based on each of the books. This would be kind of a two-pronged attack as fans of the Chronicles of Prydain would get a more correct adaptation of their favorite books while fans who did enjoy The Black Cauldron could re-experience the original but with a fresh new look and a more solid story. Another win-win, right?

Now, did you notice I mentioned the original film is based on a series called The Chronicles of Prydain? Well, just to sweeten the pot, this does mean Disney has access to the holy grail of movie properties: a built-in franchise of stories they can adapt into movies and television shows! Hollywood just loves making movies and TV shows based on book series because of all the success they’ve had in the past. Just take a look at other big movie franchises like Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Narnia. Basically, if Disney still holds the rights to The Chronicles of Prydain, they’re basically sitting on a gold mine!

Of course, I don’t think Disney will ever do anything with The Black Cauldron ever again. They probably still think of it as a stain on their legacy as, like I mentioned at the start of all of this, nearly killed their animation department. They fail to realize The Black Cauldron has become a cult hit since then and this former black eye is now a badge of honor they could use. But they should use it in the right way. Besides, if Disney is making live-action movies, why not something as cult-ish like The Black Cauldron? It couldn’t hurt, right?

What’s your opinion on the live-action Disney remakes? Do you have any particular classic animated Disney movies you would think would work in live-action? Let me know in the comments section below!

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