The Thief and the Cobbler (aka Arabian
C Sound: C Extras: D Film: C
animator Richard Williams started to formulate the animated adventure film The Thief and the Cobbler (1995) it
seems he had very high ambitions, with thoughts of a grand visual experience;
the problem is this film is no Roger
Rabbit. Reportedly, it was in
production for years as Williams’ pet project.
The film takes most of its inspiration from (like Aladdin) the ancient Arabian Knights tales, the problem being
however Richard Williams left the pot on the stove too long and Disney beat him
to the bunch. Not only did Disney beat
him to the punch with their extraordinary blockbuster smash Aladdin, the art design and music of
their film was much crisper and better prepared. The
Thief and the Cobbler follows the tale of a poor peasant Cobbler and his
rise to fame and fortune at the side of a princess, while an evil and often
times humorous thief follows his every move unwittingly to the eventual occurrence
of the stealing of three, magical, golden, balls.
hit Aladdin with its peasant and
royalty, there is also an evil sorcerer type character who wished to marry the
princess and rule the kingdom (Jafar anybody).
Oddly enough his companion is a loud mouthed bird (vulture) who has an
oddly enough Jewish ethnic twang to his speech (Iago anybody). In the end the tale is quite passé having
followed the much better Disney’s Aladdin,
but it does have its own personal quirks.
animated feature’s background art is at times stunning with its very wide and
detailed landscapes, but the problem comes as the camera gets closer (so to
speak). The detail form far away as
previously stated is wonderful, but the detail on individual characters is quite
too simplistic and drab. The characters
seem to have been torn from a coloring book with little detail or life. The picturesque scenery I could look at in
stills for hours never the less.
technicals of this DVD feature are quite sad.
The picture is presented anamorphic 16 X 9/1.78 X 1 widescreen which is
the only upside to the presentation. The
picture quality is often grainy; the coloring is off balance with the dark and
bright colors being completely out of sync at times making the animation quite
bland, taking away from the splendid scenery and even individual
characters. The sound is equally as poor
in its Dolby Digital 2.0 format having high and low issues, at certain points
in the feature the sound is quite distant, not allowing me to partake in Mathew
Broderick’s charming voice. The extras
are not to be found and because the only effort the studio placed into this
‘Special Edition’ was a fancy pop-out cover featuring a splendid view of the
palace this is hardly a DVD to run out and buy.
this reviewer expected more from Richard Williams. The film seems to be hastily put together and
though at times resembles the wonderful Beatles animated feature Yellow Submarine, it is far from
containing enough heart to be passable as the classic it should have been. In the end hold off on this title and buy
- Michael P Dougherty II