DVD Talk
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Reviews & Columns
Reviews
DVD
TV on DVD
Blu-ray
International DVDs
Theatrical
Adult
Video Games

Features
Collector Series DVDs
Easter Egg Database
Interviews
DVD Talk Radio
Feature Articles

Columns
Anime Talk
XCritic.com
DVD Stalk
DVD Savant
High-Def Revolution
Silent DVD

discussion forum
DVD Talk Forum
Resources
DVD Price Search
Customer Service #'s
RCE Info
Links

DVDTalk Info
Review Staff
About DVD Talk
Advertise
Newsletter Subscribe
Join DVD Talk Forum
DVD Talk Feeds


Special Offer

Search: For:
Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » The Thief and the Cobbler
The Thief and the Cobbler
The Weinstein Company // G // November 21, 2006
List Price: $19.95 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Thomas Spurlin | posted November 14, 2006 | E-mail the Author
Buy from Amazon.com
C O N T E N T
V I D E O
A U D I O
E X T R A S
R E P L A Y
A D V I C E
Rent It
E - M A I L
this review to a friend
P R I N T
Printer Friendly
Picture a cauldron prime for melting. Mix together the artwork of M.C. Escher and the tales of the Arabian Nights. Sprinkle some very quirky dialogue and a few stomach-churning songs. Stir until finely melted and the result would be The Thief and the Cobbler, an entertainingly, yet odd family animated work. It's difficult not to see the similarities in storyline between this film and a popular Disney animated classic. However, while comparable in specific elements, The Thief and the Cobbler is undoubtedly a different and strangely mesmerizing experience.

EDIT:

The true roots of the Thief and the Cobbler story are vague and difficult to decipher. During the production of this film, which started in the mid '60s and served as a true work of passion over the ensuing years, the famed animator Richard Williams sadly had to detatch himself from the product due to deadline issues. What ensued after this was a resurfacing of sorts on The Thief and The Cobbler and several different versions. New voice-acting and musical scores were brought in to add some new elements to the film. Instead, it's more of a light and airy affair, whereas the core quality portions of the film illustrate what could be a masterpiece underneath the mass re-editing. The version reviewed here is a re-edited version which is not the animator's portrait.



The Film:

Set in times before the story of Aladdin and Ali Baba, this tale involves Tack the Cobbler (Matthew Broderick) and a mysteriously goofy Thief (Johnathan Winters). While these two poor guys are unrelated at the start of this tale, The Thief manages to get young Tack in trouble in the middle of the royal courtyard by unintentionally aggrivating the Grand Vizier Zig-Zag. Amidst Zig-Zag's rage, Tack is dragged to King Nod's halls for judgment where he meets the lovely Princess Yum-Yum (Jennifer Beals). While the cobbler is off falling in love with the princess, the thief manages to sneak all over town, through the palace's drainage pipes, and up rooftops to reach the elusive Golden Balls that have never been removed from the city's highest peak.

The Thief and the Cobbler is eccentric, indeed. Granted, the animation is truly captivating. With eye-twisting optical illusions that might make Escher blink once or twice, the scenery will dazzle the mind. However, the complex nature of the landscape doesn't blend as well with the simplistic tale of love and conquest. The Thief and The Cobbler is an eye-splitting piece of work with likeable characters inside a purely surface-level plot. This works well for younger audiences as it provides visual confections and an uncomplicated storyline to digest.

Also, the (edit: re-recorded) voice acting isn't too shabby, either. Broderick's Tack is entertaining and likeable, while Beals' Yum-Yum is mildly sultry and sweet. However, the presence and dialogue of the Thief dances on the stranger side. The jokes that come from the goofy little bandit seem forced and mildly grating on the nerves instead of entertaining. Then again, his obvious jokes might translate well to the younger audience. What seems entirely odd and out of place are the poorly toned songs. Instead of fueling the story, each piece seemed to bring the film to a grinding halt and wouldn't allow for advancement until the music stopped. Thankfully, these musical interludes only erupt a few times during the film.

The Thief and The Cobbler left this reviewer scratching his head. After a bombardment of visuals that engaged aaesthetic needs, this Arabian tale lacked the heart to intertwine with the razor-sharp landscape. With more development into the characters involved (especially the young cobbler), this film could potentially establish a stronger foundation than that of a wildly imaginative visual feast.


The DVD:

Now, The DVD of The Thief and the Cobbler is one nifty package. Housed in a keepcase with coverart and disc, the DVD sans slipcover is relatively plain. However, this slipcover comes with a groovy pop-up scale of the Arabian city from the film. Often times one might purchase a DVD just for aesthetic purposes. The Thief and The Cobbler is one of those cases in which it would be wholly worth it just for a "Limited Edition" pop-up slipcover.

The Video:

The Thief and the Cobbler is presented in a fullscreen 1:33.1 aspect ratio. Put bluntly, I wasn't overly impressed with image quality. On the positive side, the colors that poured through jumped through the print. The source material is obviously one of grand impact and striking beauty. However, detail wasn't very sharp and dusty specs ran fairly widespread across the print. This is all a shame because this film is such a visual gem. The video presentation left some to be desired, but was still strong enough to capture its beauty.

The Audio:

Through the Dolby Digital track, voices were a bit on the soft side, but were still legible. The Thief's mumblings, Zig-Zag's hypnotically strange voice, and Tack's mid-high speech all carried through fairly well. The music graced the speakers well during their portions, as well. With the material given, the audio quality is pretty decent.

The Extras:

The only extras are previews included at the front of this disc.


Final Thoughts:

The altered version of Thief and the Cobbler is a psychedelic, visually captivating film that even younger audiences can enjoy. A cute, straightforward storyline dances atop this convoluted, beautifully engrossing landscape. While these elements, as well as some odd aural choices, don't blend seamlessly whatsoever, they do provide an entertaining experience that the family can enjoy. Give it a try and Rent It to see if the visual style and dialogue hits the spot.



Thomas Spurlin, Staff Reviewer -- DVDTalk Reviews | Personal Blog/Site
Popular Reviews
1. Legend of Hell House
2. Pumpkinhead
3. All That Jazz
4. Chaplin's Mutual Comedies
5. The Walking Dead: Season 4
6. Last Man Standing Season 1
7. Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!: The Criterion Collection
8. Wilfred Season 3
9. Welcome Back, Kotter: The Complete Series
10. On the Beach


Special Offers
DVD Blowouts
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
Alien [Blu-ray]
Buy: $19.99 $9.99
8.
9.
10.
Special Offers
Release List Reviews Shop Newsletter Forum DVD Giveaways Blu-Ray Advertise
Copyright 2014 DVDTalk.com All Rights Reserved. Legal Info, Privacy Policy, Terms of Use