Saturday, December 16, 2006

The cobbler and the thief

Watched the Richard Williams Movie, The Thief and The Cobbleron youtube last night. It's in a cobbled together version, (so it is titled)made up from pencil tests, completed footage and storyboards. It's apparently the truest to the creators intentions, unlike the Warner Brothers version which was released over a decade ago. (I'm not sure it was released through Warner in the end as I think the bond completion company eventually took control as Williams failed to meet his contractual obligations). There are interesting lessons to be learned from the eventual fate of this movie. Williams had an artistic vision for the movie so strong that he worked on it for over 25 years, largely in his own time and at his own expense. He believed in what he was doing and the cobbled together version suggests it would have been a true classic of animation. Williams appears to have taken the animation style that best suited each set piece and blended the whole together in what looks like it would have been a fairly seamless work. The early parts of the film, set in an arabic city, blend a series of backgrounds cobining the look of a Gustav klimt painting with character animation design reminiscient of Gilliams "Python" work. Later parts, set in a clockwork mechanised mountain have a dark horror to them reminiscient of "Akira", and the wrapping of the whole has an artistic integrity that put me in mind of those wonderful cartoons from the Filmboard of Canada, flowing on glass. Williams however appears to have eventually bought into the promise of corporate money and in essence, unwittingly perhaps, sold his soul. He failed to meet his contractual obligations and lost control of a work that had taken more than two decades of his life. The lesson I guess is be careful who you sell your soul to.

1 comment:

Andrew Glazebrook said...

This needs a good DVD special doing of the whole story of just what went wrong with this movie. The movie itself will never be what it would or could have been even if he went back now and tried to complete it !