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YMMV / The Thief and the Cobbler

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  • Accidental Aesop: A meta example. Along with Heaven's Gate, this film is a good cautionary tale of how trying to make your passion project literally perfect, with little concern for the realistic restraints of time, money and even human capability, can blow up in one's face.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: After being built up for most of the film as the ultimate threat to the Golden City, One-Eye is swiftly defeated just outside its limits. By a tack.
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  • Awesome Art: Try to remind yourself every ten minutes or so that the film was made entirely with hand-drawn animation, without a computer in sight. Because you will need to.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: There's a TON in the "Arabian Knight" (Miramax) cut, but one that stands out is the Thief encountering his mom in the plumbing pipes. It makes about as much sense as it sounds.
  • Complete Monster: Mighty One-Eye, from the original workprint and The Recobbled Cut, is a brutal warlord who introduces himself in the aftermath of a complete massacre of an army he and his army have defeated, forming a mountain of hundreds of corpses upon which One Eye announces his intent to bring the Golden City and all within to destruction. Regularly making a habit of abusing his personal harem and using them as living furniture, One Eye spitefully orders the treacherous wizard Zigzag thrown to his pet alligators even after Zigzag provides him with the means to invade the Golden City. One Eye is implied to make a regular habit out of mass slaughter and seeks to annihilate the Golden City purely as a show of his bloodthirsty might.
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  • Cult Classic: A veritable holy grail for animators and animation fans.
  • Ending Fatigue: The war machine falling apart. As one observer remarked, it "looks as if someone died from animating it," not only because of the exhaustive, incomparably amazing 3D hand-drawn animation, but for the fact that it goes on for nearly ten minutes after the villain has been defeated.
  • Ear Worm:
  • Evil Is Cool: The One-Eye's giant steampunk war machine is awesome, and the animation for its scenes is jaw-droppingly brilliant even by the extremely high standards of the rest of the film.
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  • Fandom Rivalry: With Disney's Aladdin, which clearly borrowed a lot from this film, which was already 20+ years into production when that one was conceived. Richard Williams would regularly show footage of it to the staff of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, many of whom would later work on it, which didn't help. The more pessimistic fans will say that Disney outright stole Williams' ideas, while those more optimistic assume that it was a pre-emptive Shout-Out, as they had no idea if it was ever going to be completed or not.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: To both fans and non-fans of Richard Williams, the Miramax version does not exist.
    • Word of God says that even Richard Williams HIMSELF refuses to acknowledge any version other than his workprint and the Recobbled Cut, only submitting the workprint for restoration and archiving.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment: The thief stealing the film at the end, considering what happened to the film in Real Life.
    • Also, the film was finally released under the title "Princess and the Cobbler" in September 1993. A month later, Vincent Price passed away. So Zigzag's final line "For Zigzag then, this is... the end!" is oddly prophetic.
  • Genius Bonus: In the Miramax cut, there is the Thief's mention of only hearing about soap in storybooks and songs. At the time of the film's setting, soap was considered more of a luxury rather than an essential for daily living, with everyone who couldn't afford it attending bath houses. Considering the Thief's occupation and the flies around his head, it is possible that he was denied entry to such establishments and had to live with the smell and the flies.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: It's implied in at least one version that the Thief is keeping the film until the reviews come in. The film has never been nominated any awards, and it's only the workprint that has been archived. Maybe one day he might actually give it back...
  • Hype Backlash: An increasing number of people are claiming that the film isn't quite the masterpiece its fans make it out to be, feeling that while the animation is top notch the storytelling is weak and several scenes are mainly animation for animation's sake rather than furthering the plot. (As this article puts it, Williams "had 95 minutes of footage for a 79-minute movie.")
    • Williams himself later said that this contributed to the film's ultimate fate. Because he was never sure when the film was going to be finished, every publicity piece on it had him declaring that it would be finished sometime soon. The fact that it never was ultimately hurt its reputation and made him look like a liar.
  • Jerkass Woobie: The Thief is a smelly, selfish... well, thief, who keeps finding various ways to get beaten up, first by an old lady, then a polo game, then a self destructing war machine and even a bed THAT COMES ALIVE FOR NO REAL REASON. He only gives up the golden balls by the end because he feels they aren't worth the abuse.
  • Mis-blamed: Calvert, who really liked Williams animation and tried to keep as much of the original as he could, gets most of the flack for the shoddy animation, but the Completion Company forced him to finish Thief as cheaply as possible and had the movie outsourced twice. Then again, it was his decision to add dialogue where it wasn't needed.
    • Who was it that made Tack tan in the middle of the night? The cel painters. Thankfully, the error has been fixed for Recobbled Cut Mark 4.
    • The Completion Bond Company, really. Contrary to popular opinion, they did not "steal" the film. Richard Williams signed a contract with them that said he would complete the film at a fixed date for a specific amount of money, of which he did neither.
  • Moe: Tack is adorable, particularly in the original/Recobbled Cut which plays him being a Cute Mute as far up as it will go (which makes his one line in a bassy voice at the very end — reportedly meant to have been played by Sean Connery — that much more unexpected).
  • Narm Charm: For some, the Calvert and Miramax versions are these.
    • Special mention for the Thief's snarky inner monologue, which for several is the only redeeming factor of the latter cut.
  • Nausea Fuel: Due to the camera angles and the extremely fluid animation on the 3D objects, it can be pretty easy to watch the war machine falling apart while getting a bit of motion sickness.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: By this point, the story of the film's exhaustive production, Williams' tenacity to make it perfect, and its eventual incomplete fate are far more well-known (and arguably more interesting) than what actually happens in it.
  • Padding: A handful of scenes, such as the polo game, the war-torn soldier returning to King Nod and especially the war machine, go on several minutes longer than they probably should for no greater reason that Richard Williams wanted the already awesome-looking animation to be even more awesome. Your opinion on these scenes largely depends on how long you're willing to watch animation for animation's sake.
  • So Okay, It's Average: The consensus of The Recobbled Cut and, by extension, Willaims' overall ambition. While nobody is going to balk at the god-tier animation or say that the Mirimax version is better, the story is generally agreed to be a sub-par fairy tale with sluggish pacing largely brought on by too much animation for animation's sake.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: The "Am I Feeling Love?" sequence.
  • Tearjerker
    • King Nod freaking out upon seeing his daughter on the battlefield.
    • The history and eventual sad fate of the movie itself could be considered one, particularly in regards to its creator.
  • Values Dissonance: Since this film started production in the sixties and ended production in the nineties, there was obviously going to be stuff that didn't carry over well. Special mention goes to some of the king's guards, which resemble blackface stereotypes with their dark skin and bright pink lips.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: THE WHOLE MOVIE. It boasts some of the most smooth, fluid, and overall painstaking hand-drawn animation ever put to film (especially, again, the war machine sequence). It's practically... nay, it's literally the only reason the film exists!
  • What The Hell, Casting Agency?: Invoked for the sake of comedy. The skinny, wimpy Tack delivers his sole line in the deep, suave voice of Sean Connery.
    • Played much more straight in the Calvert/Miramax cut, which either completely redid voice tracks or, more infamously, gave previously nonspeaking characters lines in order to have an All-Star Cast.
  • What Do You Mean, It Wasn't Made on Drugs?: The original version is probably the second trippiest animated film, after Yellow Submarine. Befitting, as Richard Williams is a big fan of that movie.


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