This film was my number one pick on the list I submitted, however, it was also the one I hesitated most about submitting. As a huge fan of animation (my world cup list was made-up entirely of animation) I worried I was too biased towards the film, as while I love it, I love it because of its’ fantastic animation. The story and characters, if I’m being honest, are not that well developed, and as a result the movie largely has to stand on its’ visual treats alone. So that gets the question going, is looking beautiful enough to make a great film? Obviously, I think it is. Also, describing the film as merely a visual masterpiece is misleading. The story may not be as engaging as other animated fare, but the invention of the action is in my opinion unmatched. The Escher-like chase with the Cobbler and the Thief, the theft of the golden balls, the Thief’s attempt at stealing the jewel, and the fantastic, 20-minute long war-machine sequence are all fantastically imagined, not just meticulously animated.
I hope this film will get a good discussion going, as I think some people will love it and some will hate it (hell, there might even be some that are just in-between). Anyway, I think people even marginally interested in animation will find this film at least interesting. For those who don’t know, the film has a remarkable backstory to it. Richard Williams had 15 minutes of the film left to animate, but after meticulously animating it for almost 30 years, he was kicked out and the film was haphazardly completed, resulting in unmitigated shit with disregard for quality animation, making the film often look like something you might see on PBS Saturday morning, only not as good.
Fortunately, a man named Gilbert Gilchrist compiled everything he could from the original film, from complete scenes to unfinished animation to low quality prints to panels from the storyboard. What results is an even more imperfect film than what the final product would be, but still a towering achievement in animation, and for me a stunningly beautiful one.
As I said, I struggled with whether to submit this for fear that some might not enjoy it, or attack it for being an exercise in style over substance, but I know that there are many that love this film, and I love this film, so in the end I decided it was the right thing to do. I think at least people will find this an interesting discovery, even if they don’t love it. Its’ backstory alone is intriguing, and the uncobbled version is an interesting curio not only in that it shows the film Richard Williams had hoped for, but also that it shows different processes and stages of animation in the same film. I think at least in that sense people will not feel I have wasted their time.
At any rate, I feel like I sound too apologetic here, when I really am not. This is one of my favorite animated movies ever, and I am very excited to show it to other people. I always have a blast watching it. If you get the DVD version, be sure to check out some of the extras, as they are very interesting and should give you a more detailed backstory on the film. I hope you enjoy!
Oh cool – I didn’t realize this was in the cup! And I didn’t even realize that there was a “recobbled” cut!
Anyway, my siblings and I used to rent this from our blockbuster all the time when we were kids – we all loved it! I’m definitely gonna revisit this – it may even draw me in to voting in the cup!
But, yeah, style > substance. And I’m only half joking! :)
Ok and it’s up against a film from Latvia. My parents are hosting a girl from Latvia this summer, so I’ve been meaning to watch some Latvian films. So I don’t really have any excuse not to participate in this match!
One of my favorite cartoons, i still own my vhs tape.
Some stills that will hopefully get people interested:
I hope this match gets lots of attention, R&B. The Thief and the Cobbler (recobbled) is truly wonderful.