Friday, February 14, 2014

Richard William's Masterpiece

When I say the name Richard Williams, what come to your mind the most? Well, if you usually pay attention to the credits, it turns out he was the animation director for the famous live action & animation film Who Framed Roger Rabbit. But in addition to handling the animation direction for that film, he is also well known The Thief and the Cobbler a film that he worked for nearly two decades on before he lost control of it. This film was to be William's magnum opus displaying his prowess of animation abilities and what could be done with animation on the wide screen.

Unfortunately due to fact that this film took so long to create, William's eventually lost the distribution deal he had with Warner Brothers. The film was eventually picked up by Miramax, who remade the film to resemble more of Disney's Aladdin film that was released in 1992. Ironically the creators of the Aladdin film were inspired by some of the elements of The Thief and the Cobbler and implement it into  their film. William's film also wen though a variety of of different title changes such as Princess & The Cobbler, Arabian Knight before finally being settled on the aforementioned title.

I recall finding the movie in a local video store being taken in by the cover by the cover. When I watched it, I while I watched the film I felt the visuals were very good but overall movie was very Disneyesque. Several years later I stumbled upon a review of this film by comedian/internet reviewer named Doug Walker aka The Nostalgia Critic, whom at the time was known for reviewing nostalgic movies of the 80s and 90s.  Having seen some of his previous comedic takes on other films, I figured it would simply be another film he would simply make jokes about. (WARNING CONTAINS MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF SWEARING)

Quite to my surprise this was one of the few reviews I found at the time to be one of the most educational, for immense backstory involved in the making of this film. Also in that review I actually learned who Richard Williams was and discovering his body of work. This would eventually lead me to discovering that there was a version of the film that was closer to the original vision of Williams, lead by Garrett Gilchrist known as The Recobbled Cut. This version is a combination of the various bits of footage that were cut out of Williams 90min work print and various sketches that never made it to the theatrically released versions.

Both version of the Miramax Cut and the Recobbled version are available on youtube along with the other animated works of Richard Williams.

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