Before we discuss The Thief And The Cobbler we need to discuss the Thief and the Cobbler. This was to be Richard Williams’ masterpiece. Richard Williams is most known for the animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He started The Thief And The Cobbler in 1964 and it was released 1995. Williams spent his own money to make the movie. There is actually a few versions of this kicking around. There the original version, entitled The Thief And The Cobbler, there is the Allied Filmmakers version called The Princess and the Cobbler and then there is the Miramax version called Arabian Knight, which is technically the version I’m reviewing though it exists under the name The Thief And The Cobbler.
Confused yet? Wait there is more, there is also versions of the film that feature unfinished parts which shows it as Williams intended it, these versions are the WorkPrint version and The ReCobbled Cut.
So the version that I suffered through for this review is the 1995 Miramax Arabian Knight version which is a soul-crushing ass of a film.
There is the this city which they call Baghdad, and it’s protected by three golden balls against King One-Eye. Just get used to the words balls and giggle accordingly. There is also exposition on Arabian Knights and stars and stuff. Our narrator is Tack, a cobbler and there is also a thief who’s internal monologue will never shut-up ever. The Thief isn’t a thief so much as a kleptomaniac but thief is a shorter word. The Thief tries to steal from Tack and that leads to Tack to getting trouble with ZigZag, the Jafar of this story.
We are then introduced to Yum-Yum who is the Princess and guess what! There is more to her than beauty and she wants more out life than her royal life. BITCH, DO CHARITY WORK! Zigazag arrests Tack and brings him before King Nod and Princess Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum takes a liking to Tack and breaks her shoe to spare him from ZigZag’s wrath. We then learn that ZigZag plans to marry Yum-Yum so he can rule the city. Which is the plan for every bad guy in children movies with an Arabian setting, marry the girl and then rule, heck that was the plan from The Swan Princess which we looked at last week. Oh well classics tropes and whatnot.
We then see Yum-Yum and Tack hanging before Yum-Yum takes her bath. As that is happening the Thief sneaks in to the palace looking for stuff to steal. The Thief steals Yum-Yum’s back scratcher and then runs into Tack and steals her shoe. Tack chases the Thief and is once again is arrested by ZigZag and puts him into a cell. Then queue the bland love you missing you song from Tack and Yum-Yum. After knowing each other maybe 20 minutes they love each other but then again they are so bland that they know everything about each other already.
The next day Tack escapes the cell as the Thief steals the Golden Balls. As that is happening the King, Yum-Yum and Zigzag learn that King One-Eye is going to attack. They then see the balls are gone and ZigZag manages to take the balls back from the Thief and tries to uses them as leverage to marry Yum-Yum which doesn’t work so ZigZag decides to give the Balls to King One-Eye. Hehehehhehe, Balls
Team good-guys learns about a good witch in the desert who might be able to help them, The Good Witch is King One-Eye’s Twin sister. Yum-Yum thinks she should go because she is smarter and faster than everyone else ever, in the history in the universe. She picks Tack to be her guide because likes him.
As they leave for the desert, the Thief follows. Why? Who knows? The Plot? They then meet brigands and they find the witch with little effort. She gives them vague advice mainly Attack or A Tack, get it? Ha! So clever. ZigZag convinces One-Eye to left him join their side if he can have Yum-Yum and he surrenders the balls. Hehehehhehe, Balls
Tack pretty much single-handedly defects the One-Eye with a Tack, ZigZag is eaten by crocodiles and his vulture Fido (Fido also never shuts-up), the Thief gives the balls back to the King and Yum-Yum and Tack get married. Yay, I so don’t give a shit.
This movie is a huge septic mess. The characters are just beyond weak, the story is laughable to the point of madness, William’s animation is lovely but the filler animation is the excrement of lesser animation. Really, it’s kind of fun and sad to spot the difference between the two even in a single scene.
Watching the ReCobbled cut, I would say that the idea of the movie was not a character driven as the titulars characters are pretty much silent. However that is not the case in this version as the once silent characters never shut-up, like ever. Well strictly speaking they think their lines. The Thief’s brain never stops with the pop reference which so, so annoying. The voice also doesn’t suit him. Tack is just as annoying but Tack sometimes says stuff.
The intention with Tack is he is supposed to be shy and then he turns into a hero but whatever character arc he is supposed to have is really weak pretty much non-existent. One could argue that the Thief giving the balls back could be a character arc but it’s not because he continues stealing. No character has an arc in this movie. Do movies need to have characters that have arcs? No they don’t but arcs do add interest. If the movie was as Williams has intended it to be where the movie was surreal artistic animated fantasy movie where the animation is star it wouldn’t matter but here in this version it does as that was the idea. But then again this movie was a lazy attempt to rip off Aladdin so who real cares about good character development.
ZigZag is Disney’s Jafar but with Vincent Price’s voice in rhyme. He is not remotely interesting. The most that can be said in his favor is Vincent Price.
The brigands were just awful, I hated every second of them on screen. Mainly because they are so dumb that they need to consult a book that tells them to attack but in like 5 seconds they forget that at least one of them can read. Fucking useless waste of paper.
Then we have our darling Princess Yum-Yum. Yum-Yum like pretty much every other Princess as she wants vague more-ness from life.
I will give her some credit, she does not have a self-esteem problem at all. She knows she is pretty, smart and fast, even though she doesn’t do anything that exhibits though traits beside being pretty which one can see. She doesn’t do anything really. She goes after the witch just prove her awesomeness to her father. She does managed to get away from ZigZag but she doesn’t really contribute to the final show-down. She’s bland pure and simple.
I have talked a little bit the animation and the songs. The trippy animation of Williams’ is wonderful and the trippy surreal-ness of the movie is the highlight. The crappy filler animation is awful.
Every single song in this movie is shit. They are all lazy and tedious. They were all added by Miramax. The song that was sung by the brigands made me want to chop my ears off. Then after that song the Thief compared it to Le Mis. The Fuck? Really, most of the Thief’s references are weird. I mean he references Mel Torme because kids know Le Mis and Mel Torme? But yes, the songs are mouth diarrhea. I have no positives.
The Thief And The Cobbler or Arabian Knight or whatever you want it call is a hot crap of a mess. It has no identity, it tries to to be Disney with the surrealism of Williams’ animation and the two do not mesh together.
Clearly Miramax completed it to cash in on Aladdin. It’s ashamed that Williams’ animation is basis for the cesspool assness. I recommend just watching the ReCobbled cut as it’s far less painful to watch. There is also more sex in the ReCobbled Cut, no seriously there is. You can find it on Youtube.Follow thehunchblog