The Thief and the Cobbler

Nc thief and the cobbler by marobot-d33h7mz.jpg

November 23, 2010
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NC: Hello, I'm the Nostalgia Critic. I remember it so you don't have to. Today's film is, um... interesting.


NC: And when I say 'interesting', I mean it has a very interesting history. The name of the film is The Thief and the Cobbler. (Thief and the Cobbler artwork appears.)

NC: Or...The Princess and the Cobbler.

(Poster for 'The Princess and the Cobbler' is shown)

NC: Or...Arabian Knight.

(Poster for 'Arabian Knight' is shown)

NC: Or.....An Abomination of Assness, which is what most people call it.

(Cover of the Recobbled Cut with a red X over the title and "AN ABOMINATION OF ASSNESS" written below)

(Film clips are shown.)

NC (voiceover): If a film can't decide on what the title is, how can it decide on the audience it's going to appeal to? Is it appealing to toddlers? To older children? To the mainstream Disney crowd? The strange, surreal, fantasy crowd? What? WHAT?!

NC: Well, before I talk about the film, let's talk about... the film. Once upon a time, there was an animator named Richard Williams.

NC (voiceover as photographs of Williams are shown): He's said to be one of the great animation directors, having done the Chuck Jones-produced 'Christmas Carol', that trippy 'Raggedy Ann and Andy' film, and probably his biggest accomplishment, the animation for 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. Yet before all of that, he started production on 'The Thief and the Cobbler' in 1964. It was released in 1993. What the hell happened all that time? Apparently, the film was independently funded and Williams went on and on saying that this was going to be his masterpiece. Because of this, the film took years and years of perfecting and financing to finally get it finished. In fact, one of the actors (picture of Vincent Price) died before the film even got released! Vincent Price recorded his dialogue over twenty years before it ever saw the light of day. And as of now, it continues to be the longest time it's ever taken to complete an animated picture. Because this turkey was taking so long, the film was bought by the Completion Bond Company and kicked Williams off the project, having it released by Miramax and putting together their own half-assed cut that is still considered to be the cum-bucket of a dick cock.

NC: This is that version. So let's see how this magnum opus went to magnum anus in The Thief and the Cobbler!

NC (voiceover): We start off appropriately enough with a little backstory.

Narrator: Legend has it that each shooting star is really an Arabian Knight riding across the heavens.

NC: (shocked) Oh, God, don't tell me!

Niko Tatopoulos (from Godzilla): That's a lot of fish.


NC (voiceover): That's right. Matthew Broderick is the star of this movie. Must've been one of the wonderful choices the BOND company made, seeing as how he was probably a SPERM by the time this movie began production. (Picture of a sperm with Matthew Broderick's head placed on it.)

Narrator: Long before the heroic tales of Aladdin and Ali Baba, the first Arabian Knight was chosen.

NC: You hear that, Disney? We sort of beat you to it!

Narrator: The golden city of Baghdad. High atop it's tallest tower were three golden balls whose magic protected it from the evil king One-Eye and his Army of Darkness. (a scene from Army of Darkness plays) According to the prophecy, if the balls were ever removed, Baghdad would be in great danger.

NC: (tries to say something but stops himself)... No comment.

NC (voiceover): So, we finally see our hero simply known as Tack. A pretty pale looking fellow for someone who lives in the desert.

Narrator/Tack: At the time, I was a poor orphan working as a cobbler's apprentice. Life was simple.

NC (voiceover): And an answer to your question, no, I don't know why he looks like Beetlejuice's Raggedy Ann doll. But, he's not the only main character. We also have the Thief, played by Jonathan Winters. He never talks in the movie...

Prince Regent (Blackadder): Hurrah!

NC (voiceover): But, sadly, someone decided to put a microphone in his brain.

Prince Regent (Blackadder): Haroo.

Thief: (while looking around Tack's shop) What a dump. Nobody lives like this except college kids.

NC (voiceover): At first, this isn't too bad, but trust me, it gets real annoying real fast. So, while he tries to steal from the cobbler, the Yellow Submarine pride parade is happening outside, welcoming the arrival of wizard Zigzag, played by Vincent Price.

The thief and Tack roll out of the shop while Tack drops his tacks. Zigzag ends up stepping on one and screams in pain.

Zigzag: (angrily) Take him into the palace!

Guards surround tack each drawing their scimitars to his neck. The scene switches to Princess Yum Yum and her nanny.

NC (voiceover): So, Tack is captured as we cut to our love interest in the movie, Princess Yum Yum.

NC: (confused) Okay, hold on. Tack, Zigzag, Yum Yum? These aren't names, these are words an infant is trying to say for the first time! (A picture of a baby's head is shown)

NC: (Imitating a baby) (a picture of a tack) Tack! (a picture of a maze) Zigzag! (a picture of a slice of pie) Yum Yum! (The Thief and the Cobbler logo) Shitty fuck fuck fuck shitty fuck shit fuck!!!

NC (voiceover): Okay, so the princess has a "real" original backstory--are you ready for this? I bet you've never heard this one before--listen... (sarcastically) She's tired of her boring life! And, in a bizarre twist, she dreams of wanting more!

Yum Yum: I know I could do more if I just had the chance. This life I live in regal splendor seems a waste.

NC (voiceover): (sarcastically again) I do hope there's a tired unoriginal musical number to tell us what we already know she feels!

Yum Yum: (singing) Born just to delight...

NC (voiceover): Oh! Right on cue! 

Yum Yum: ...and bred to behave/but she is more than this/There's a mind in the body of this pretty miss...

NC (voiceover): (disgusted) By God, is this song bland! I mean, this is like eating styrofoam on wheat toast, it's that bland! It's like someone approached somebody like Alan Menken and said...

Producer (offscreen): Hey, can you write an original song?

NC: (imitating Alan Menken, excitedly) Sure! What's it about?

Producer (offscreen): It's about a princess who's dreaming of more.

NC: (imitating Alan Menken, unimpressed) Oh... Alright.

"Menken" pulls out a bowl, and starts to defecate. He then hands the bowl to the producer.

NC: (imitating Alan Menken) *sigh*, Yup, that should do it.

NC (voiceover): (Sarcastically... Again) Oh, and just like those other Disney songs where the landscapes and grand visuals are stunning, this musical performance has spinning... a-a-and spinning... and, uh... (shouting) MORE FUCKING SPINNING!!! GOD, IT'S LIKE THEY GOT THE CHOREOGRAPHY FROM THE TASMANIAN BALLET THEATER!!! (as he says that last part, a picture of a building with logo that says "Tasmanian Ballet Theatre" with the Tasmanian Devil appears.) So, Tack is brought to the king as Zigzag's prisoner, when Yum Yum meets him for the first time.

The princess and Tack stare at each other. Yum Yum tilts her head to the left, as does Tack, then the Critic. She then tilts her head to the right, as does Tack, then the Critic. She straightens her head, as does the Critic, then his head rotates a full circle.

NC (voiceover): But, the princess informs her father that she needs a cobbler. So, he's called in to fix her shoe. Meanwhile, we discover that Zigzag has an evil plan guessed it: take over the...

M. Bison: Of course!

NC: ... World.

Zigzag: With Princess Yum Yum at my side, the crown (quietly) is mine by right.

NC (voiceover): Oh, by the way, did I mention that he speaks entirely in rhyme?

In an earlier scene...

Zigzag: Greatest king of all the Earth, this low born cobbler of no worth, attacked me in the square today. Shall we take his head away?

NC (voiceover): I'm not even sure I really get it. Why does he speak in rhyme if everybody else doesn't? Is there a reason for it?

NC: I mean, what makes him so special? I don't ge--

The Critic's phone rings.

NC: Excuse me.

He picks up his phone.

NC: Hello?

"Vincent Price" (on phone, voiced by The Other Guy): Greetings, Critic. This is Vincent Price!

NC: Wait a minute, the Vincent Price, like the Vincent Price?

"Vincent Price": Yes. How many stars of stage, screen, and Tim Burton wet dreams do you know?

NC: But wait a minute, you've been dead for several years.

“Vincent Price”: Well, you see, just like the dialogue for this picture, I recorded this phone message several years ago, so I set my phone on a timer to call you and give you this message.

NC: Wait, so everything you’re saying right now is a recording?

“Vincent Price”: (chuckles) Yes.

NC: How is that possible? How do you know everything I’m gonna say?

“Vincent Price”: Well, many a fortnight ago, I made a Faustian pact with the nefarious forces of the netherworld so I can see into the future with 100% accuracy. I know everything that you’re going to say.

NC: Oh, come on, (“Vincent Price” speaks the upcoming dialogue simultaneously with him) that’s bullshit. You can’t predict what I’m…stop that! I mean it, stop it! (Beat) Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers. Toy boat, toy boat, toy boat. She sells seashells down by the…K-Mart. (NC grunts in frustration)

“Vincent Price”: You see? I am awesome.

NC: Alright…recording of Vincent Price. What do you want?

“Vincent Price”: This cacophony of cock you’ve paraded over my fierce elucidations strikes me with humiliation and discomfort. You see, I want you to know why I stammered in rhythmic drawls of iambic pentameter in this cinematic adventure…err…whameter.

NC: You mean explain why you rhymed?

“Vincent Price”: (Beat) Yes.

NC: Okay, well, why?

“Vincent Price”: (Long beat) Oh, blast, I can’t remember.

NC: (scoffs) That’s just great. Years after your death, and you can’t remember why you rhymed in that movie.

“Vincent Price”: No, no, I do. It’s on the tip of my tongue. Oh, it had something to do with Rock Hudson and a banana cream pie.

NC: Okay, I’m hanging up right now.

“Vincent Price”: Oh, and do look out for that pumpkin.

(Confused, NC hangs up before a pumpkin falls on his head and rolls away)


NC (voiceover): So we see the cobbler interact with the princess as he fixes her shoe.

Narrator/Tack: The princess was so beautiful, and I was just an ordinary cobbler.

Nanny: He doesn’t have a lot to say for himself.

NC (voiceover): Oh, don’t worry. His inner monologue that never shuts the fuck up will make up for that.

Narrator/Tack: I tried to impress her with some cobbling tricks.

Nanny: Keep your eyes on your work, cobbler.

Tack: (sighs) Why can’t I ever talk when it matters?

NC: (looks bored) You can say that for all the lines in this movie.

NC (voiceover): Speaking of which, the other inner monologue rambler comes in looking for something to steal.

(Princess Yum-Yum is taking a bubble bath and singing to herself as bubbles float over the Thief’s head)

Thief: Soap. Oh, so that’s what it looks like. I’ve heard of it in storybooks and songs. (His eyes catch sight of something new) What’s that? (We see Yum-Yum using a backscratcher on her leg) Oh. A naked lady.

NC: (shrugs) …D’oh.

Thief: But wait! (The camera does a close-up on a red jewel that’s on the backscratcher) A golden scratcher.

(Cut to a clip from “Family Guy” with Peter selling butt-scratchers at a ball game)

Peter: Butt-scratcher!

Patron: Butt-scratcher!

Peter: Butt-scratcher!

Patron: (pays Peter with cash) Butt-scratcher.

Peter: (hands the scratcher to the patron) Butt-scratcher.

(Back to the movie)

NC (voiceover): So he steals the scratcher and runs into the cobbler, who tries to stop him.

Tack: Halt! In the name of King Nod! (He starts chasing after the thief)

Narrator/Tack: I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. Suddenly, I was defending the crown.

NC (voiceover): And I have to admit, this is one of the coolest yet still trippiest chase scenes you’ll ever see in an animated film.

(The trippy chase sequence plays out before the caption “Mindfuck” flashes as the song “Flagpole Sitta” by Harvey Danger plays and the movie intercuts with NC doing a variety of crazy motions, like hitting himself on the head with his phone, swaying his arms around randomly, and slapping himself in the face repeatedly)

NC (voiceover): So after that trip-out, Zigzag sees that Tack's finished the shoe and so he puts him in a cell.

Narrator/Tack: (as he plays around with golden string to make a face of Princess Yum-Yum) I was sure I would never see the princess again. Little did I know that she was thinking about me, too.

Princess Yum-Yum: (sings) I close my eyes…

NC (voiceover): Oh, yay, another underwritten song to rape us with its blandness.

Princess Yum-Yum: (sings) So soft and warm and clear.

NC (Voiceover): Yeah, you thought the first song was bad? Just listen to the lyrics on this one.

Tack: (sings) Don’t fight your feelings, says my heart / A heart I will obey

Tack and Yum-Yum: (sing) Am I feeling love?

NC (voiceover): Wow. That’s the kind of laziness that you only dream about. You know, because you’re so fucking lazy. I mean, it’s like if Homer Simpson, Garfield, Snoopy, and Al Bundy (Images of characters appear as he names them) all procrastinated (all say "Fuck it.") to the last minute and finally came up with these lyrics. (Photoshopped image briefly appears of page of sheet music for the song "Heave Ho, My Lads" with the title “Some Shit I Made Up”) I mean, are they even trying? Anyone could come up with this shit!

(Cut to a fake music video of NC going up to the window to look outside and sing)

NC: (sings) My heart will love a lovey love love, but only in my dreams / But because I sing with singiness, the dreams I dream I’ll dream / I heart love.

(The fake music video credits appear bottom left of the screen with the following text: Nostalgia Critic, “I Heart Love,” Lazy as Hell Records, Dir: Tommy Wiseau. Critic moves his head around for the rest of the music video)

(Back to the movie)

NC (voiceover): So we cut to the next day as Tack is still locked away in his cell.

(Tack hears excited crowd chatter outside, and he looks up to the cell window above him)

Narrator/Tack: I had to escape.

NC (voiceover): Oh, God, SHUT UP!! This a-hole has more inner monologues than Samus from “Metroid: Other M”! (A brief clip of mentioned character is shown)

Narrator/Tack: Zigzag had ordered a polo match in Yum-Yum’s honor. Of course, she was far from impressed.

NC: (as Samus in Metroid: Other M) If only Adam was here to tell me what to think.

NC (voiceover): So the next day, Tack breaks free out of his cell as the thief tries to steal the golden balls from the top of the castle.

(Tack is seen making his escape through the small cell window)

Narrator/Tack: Finally, I was free.

NC (voiceover): (as Narrator/Tack) The grass felt soft on my feet. Why don’t I monologue about that for several hours? The grass is green. A frog is green. I’m sure I can talk about this in great detail somehow.

NC (voiceover): (normal) Eventually, the thief manages to get the golden balls as he—here’s a shocker—MONOLOGUES TO HIMSELF!

Thief: (removes the first ball) You’re gonna buy me a castle by the sea! (Removes the second ball) Mmm, and you’re gonna buy me everything I need to turn the basement into a rec room! (Removes the third ball) And with you…I-I tell ya…sweetheart, I’m going to Disneyland!

NC (voiceover): You know, it’s funny; when I hear pop cultural references in a film that takes place in Arabia, I think of “Aladdin.” But this was being made before “Aladdin.” Apparently, Disney animators drew influence from this movie when it was being made that helped “Aladdin” get off the ground. And after that came out, the new producers of this film drew influence from “Aladdin.” (He illustrates the following with a diagram featuring the two films’ posters and two arrows) So “Aladdin” ripped off this, only to have this rip off “Aladdin.”

NC: Basically, the film is a product of ANIMATED INBREEDING!

(An image of two smiling, toothless young men comes up with "Dueling Banjos" from 'Deliverance' playing in the background)

NC (voiceover): Suddenly, this is all starting to make more sense, isn’t it?

(Back to the movie)

NC (voiceover): So a soldier comes and tells the king that an evil army is being led by an evil man named One-Eye.

Soldier: (with many arrows stuck in his back) One…E-Eye.

Zigzag: One-Eye?

Soldier: Is…c-coming!

Yum-Yum: One-Eye?

King Nod: (shudders in fear) One-Eye!

Eye of Sauron (from “The Lord of the Rings”): (dubbed by NC) I prefer Apocalyptic Pupil.

NC (voiceover): So as the king prepares his army, Zigzag manages to get the golden spheres from the Thief.

(Tack is shown running up stairs as Zigzag is heard laughing.)

Zigzag: Now that I have the balls…

Yakko (from “Animaniacs”): (waves to the camera) Goodnight, everybody!

Zigzag: ...I will go see the king.

NC (voiceover): Zigzag decides to give the balls to One-Eye while the princess has an idea about how to solve the problem. Apparently, there’s a witch in the desert that’s all knowledgeable. But who’s gonna go talk to her?

Princess Yum-Yum: Where do I find this witch?

King Nod: You? Never! Much too dangerous.

Princess Yum-Yum: Father, I’m smarter than any man in this city, and…faster than your clumsy henchmen.

NC: As was proven by the previous scenes of her…running fast and…being smart—? Okay, bitch, all you did was sing and spin! I don’t know how that qualifies you to be a Speedy Gon-Einstein! (A Photoshopped image of Speedy Gonzalez is shown with Albert Einstein’s head superimposed over Speedy’s head)

NC (voiceover): Ah, screw it. So she chooses the cobbler to be his guide because he’s…lived all his life in the village and has no idea how the desert works—Oh, I mean, uh, (speaks like a noble king) has great knowledge of the desert and all its secrets! You can tell how many times he’s been out there by the incredibly dark tan that he has all over his body!

NC: (still speaking like a noble king) Clearly, he’s no stranger to the sun!

NC (voiceover): Okay, so they set out into the desert under the cover of ROYAL ESCORT to find the sudden plot device known as the Witch.

(During the trek out in the desert, we see that Tack has darkened tan skin)

NC (voiceover): Well, wait a minute! What happened to his skin? He was looking like Tim Burton’s Prince of Persia! Now he has a tan like George Hamilton! I know what you’re thinking, it’s ‘cause he went out in the sun that he suddenly tanned, but look! As they’re leaving, his skin is a different color, and it’s nighttime! This doesn’t add up! What, did the animator suffer a fatal heart attack…

(A clip of the Animator from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” croaking and falling backwards due to a heart attack is shown)

NC (voiceover): …and then somebody else took over and forgot to tell him that Tack is pale?

NC: Continuity! It’s not just for the coherent anymore!

NC (voiceover): So they run into a bunch of desert outlaws called the Brigands. They sing another song that makes you want to scalp yourself, and then they decide to join them in their search for the Witch.

Narrator/Tack: At last, we reached the Hands of Glory. All we had to do was wait until the next day when the sun would be directly overhead, and the magic moment would arrive.

NC (voiceover): Or…maybe the writers could’ve just had us arrive on time, but we found this wasted more animation and let’s face it; we’re on a roll with that.

(Tack and Yum-Yum pull down one of the golden hands, which opens up the inside of the Hands of Glory)

NC (voiceover): So they see the Witch who has some confusing yet…somehow still generic advice to give our heroes.

Witch: (in ghostly form) Belief in yourself is what you lack! Attack, attack, and never look back!

NC: (as the Witch) Oh, I also had some…battle strategies over there, but, um, I find shitting out riddles is a lot more fun.

NC (voiceover): So we see Zigzag hand the balls over to One-Eye and they prepare to take over the city.

Mighty One-Eye: One Eyes, attack!

NC (voiceover): You know, we’re never even told what kind of power the balls have or even what they do. We never see them in motion, and we don’t really know how powerful they are. Are we just supposed to assume they’re, uh…

(An earlier shot of the golden balls on top of the tower is shown until they’re changed by NC into the Dragon Balls as seen on “Dragon Ball Z”; an audio snippet of the “Dragon Ball Z” theme song is heard briefly)

NC: Nahhh!

NC (voiceover): So One-Eye’s army attacks with…(A shot of the giant indescribable mechanical machine is shown)…whatever the hell this thing is, as Zigzag tries to take out Tack.

Tack: (thinks) “Attack?” (speaks) A tack! A tack!

Yum-Yum: Tack!

(Tack uses his golden string and his whole body like a slingshot to launch a tack at ZigZag, but it misses and hits various things in all directions, causing a chain reaction in making the mechanical machine crumble)

NC (voiceover): Well, I guess when you make a machine that implausible, you’re just begging for it to be taken down in an implausible way. But there’s still the final battle to be had with ZigZag and Tack.

(Yum-Yum gasps before Zigzag would ride past Tack and knock him down)

NC (voiceover): (Zigzag) Huh, that was easy. (Zigzag grabs and picks up Yum-Yum) You’re mine, toots!

(Yum-Yum fights off Zigzag, causing his horse to fall down)

Yum-Yum: End of the ride, Zigzag!

(Zigzag looks up to see Tack stand above him)

Zigzag: What, cobbler?

NC: I…don’t think he said anything.

NC (voiceover): So Tack defeats the wizard by sewing him up, the Thief gets the golden balls back, and One-Eye’s army is destroyed. And in the end, we find that non-threatening blandness wins the day.

(Cut to a ceremony with Tack and Yum-Yum kissing)

Narrator/Tack: So next time you see a shooting star, be proud of who you really are. Do in your heart what you know is right, and you, too, shall become an Arabian Knight.

NC (Voiceover): Unless you’re an animator who spends most of his life and thousands of dollars trying to tell the story he’s always wanted to tell. In which case, you’re totally screwed.

(“THE END” appears over an image of Richard Williams)

NC: All right, so I have good news and bad news. The bad news is, this movie SUCKS! (He pounds his fists on his desk on the word “sucks”)

(Clips from the movie play out as NC speaks)

NC (voiceover): It’s edited clumsily, the songs are forgettable, the characters are annoyingly bland—as well as annoying!—it’s just a horrible release.

NC: However, the good news is, there is a re-edit of this movie called The Recobbled Cut.

(Clips from the Recobbled Cut version of the movie are shown)

NC (voiceover): This uses unfinished animation and storyboards to tell the version that Richard Williams always wanted to see. And let me tell you, it’s a lot better. There’s no Matthew Broderick or Jonathan Winters, no shitty-ass songs and virtually no dialogue from the main characters, which is actually pretty unique. Because of this, most of the story’s told strictly through the animation, which—while some people may see as an acquired taste—is still pretty spectacular. There’s so much more expression in just the movements of the character than there is with that horrible inner monologue. It knows what it wants to be: a surreal, artistic, practically silent movie, unlike the Miramax cut, which tries so hard to appeal to everyone that it appeals to no one. And while I can’t say the Recobbled Cut is a fantastic movie, it’s certainly more impressive and much more entertaining. It’s worth checking out for any fan of animation. If you just type in “Thief and the Cobbler Recobbled Cut” on Google or Youtube, you’ll come across it eventually. Check it out and see some really great animation.

NC: I’m the Nostalgia Critic. I remem—

(NC’s phone rings again; he answers it)

NC: Hello?

“Vincent Price”: Critic, I knew you would blow me off after that last phone call, so I set a time bomb in your house before it was built. Clever me. (NC grows concerned and braces in fear) But don’t worry; it’s set to go off in exactly 50 seconds. You’d better run, big boy.

NC: (speaks quickly to the camera) I remember it so you don’t have to! (He frantically tries to get off his seat)

“Vincent Price”: One, two, skip a few, 50.

(The bomb explodes before we cut to black)

Vincent Price”: Oh, I love it when I’m nasty.


Channel Awesome Tagline—Zigzag: Now that I have the balls…

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