The Thief and the Cobbler – 5 out of 5
There’s never been an animated movie like The Thief and the Cobbler. The film began its production in 1964 and ultimately became creator Richard Williams’ sole reason for living--just like how extreme self-loathing and lost Spanish treasure is my sole reason for living. He dreamed of creating the greatest animated film of all time. It ended up becoming a sort of golden idol for young and hungry animators and animation enthusiast due to its beyond impressive presentation…but, in nearly every sense of the word, Williams’ dream project was never actually completed.
|The cobbler lives in a desert city...and he somehow still remains pale.|
|Meanwhile, a bunch of spectators below are now clamoring for the army to destroy|
their city because they all made the mistake of looking up and discovering that
the thief doesn't wear anything underneath those robes.
Despite the film being about an unlikely hero, The Thief and the Cobbler is basically a tragedy. The film holds the record for the longest production as it took 28 years before any semblance of an edit would end up making it on the market (Fun Fact: Vincent Price recorded his dialogue for the Vizier in 1968 but the film wouldn't be released in any form until 1993—a full 25 years after recording and the same year we lost Price). Williams, in order to craft his masterpiece, would end up having to finance most of the film himself and, as the decades started to pile up, Williams would ultimately lose control of the film and it found its way to Miramax. There it was heavily edited, re-titled Arabian Knight, and ended up getting a limited theater release where it only grossed about $300,000 dollars—after costing nearly 24 million to make. (A whole bunch of other misadventures befell the production in between as well. You can read about it here on the film's Wikipedia...and then edit to say that you are now the owner of the film.)
|Go ahead, compare it to Aladdin. But Aladdin didn't have Vincent|
"Fucking" Price in it.
However, in 2006, an animator, artist and a huge fan of Williams’ work; Garrett Gilchrist, ended up starting a non-profit restoration project that, hopefully, would bring The Thief and the Cobbler the closest it will ever be to the masterpiece it was destined to become. Gilchrist (his last name sounds like a Germany swear word) would recruit most of the people who had originally worked on the film (except Williams, he no longer wants anything to do with the project apparently) and grabbed all available sources he could get his hands on to put together what would be known as The Recobbled Cut.
|Okay, you know your movie has a good bad guy when he sits on a throne of|
pale skinned, big breasted women.
Gilchrist would use original, grainy footage of the first edit, high quality DVD sequences from the Arabian Knight Japanese release and would even utilize pencil drawings and storyboards to help and get the vision Williams had. In 2006, he released what he called “Mark 2” of The Recobbled Cut and then in 2008 he unleashed a further reconstructed and restored version called “Mark 3”—yes, it’s pretty much like Iron Man’s suits here, people. Gilchrist even plans on releasing a “Mark 4” sometime this year. I watched the “Mark 3” version.
|Being a cobbler involves a lot of drinking and partying, I assume.|
|Here is the army out to destroy your preconceived notions|
that 2D animation was lame.
|These rough sketches were so good, they jumped out of my TV and made my doodles|
from my freshmen year chemistry class notebook its bitch.
It’s hard to really put into words properly how truly unbelievable the animation is in this wondrous work. The stills that I post with my reviews can’t encapsulate the scale this film is done on (but my epic comedy work in the captions will perfectly encapsulate how unfunny I am!). So, enjoy this clip…
I know right? That's fucking awesome!
|My girlfriend wants to paint the living room...and this movie just gave me the |
inspiration for the final look it will have!
The only real downside the film has is the fact its story and plot are incredibly minimal and are more in the shallow end of the pool. The story is one we’ve heard over and over again and is your basic “a common man rises to be a hero.” Nothing wrong with that…except when you take into consideration the epic, galaxy-sized grandeur that is the animation. The animation is such that it takes the passable story and non-complicated plot and makes them look even simpler and paltry in comparison. I need to emphasize that I didn’t think the story was bad, it’s just the animation takes center stage and steals the show to such an extent that the story and plot look like they were just written quickly on a soiled napkin in lieu of an actual script.
|I have no caption for this...just look at that detail!|
The Thief and the Cobbler is a film that I’ve only heard about for years and have seen small clips here and there. This was actually my first time experiencing the glory in its entirety (or close to its entirety it will ever see), with much thanks to the internet and the tireless efforts of Garrett Gilchrist. To sum up using a descriptive I never use to describe a film; this movie is magical. Take every animated movie you’ve seen from Disney, Dreamwork, Pixar and all those dollar generic animated movies you see on the budget shelf at your local Walmart and Family Video and multiply those by infinity and maybe you’ll come close to the artistry that is The Thief and the Cobbler. While I’m not saying those other companies' films are bad, it’s just that their animation—even with the aid of a computer—can't hold a candle to the animation that is depicted in this film. In fact, The Thief and the Cobbler stole their candle-holding hands and snapped them off because it would have been an insult if they even attempt to hold that candle.