I gave this edit top marks not for the editing, narrative, or enjoyment - I gave it top marks because it deserves to be seen. This is an important part of film history, allowing us to see a forever unfinished work of visual genius. If you have any love of hand-drawn animation, you owe it to yourself to give this a watch.
The Thief and the Cobbler's decades-long production is one of the most incredibly sad Hollywood stories about a determined and talented filmmaker getting reamed at the last minute by impatient producers. The final cuts of Thief were dismal messes complete with hastily written and badly sung songs that were never intended to exist and the addition of unnecessary voice acting tacked on to the two initially silent protagonists. To add insult to injury, the whole project was ironically passed off as a rip-off of Aladdin by critics when in fact the opposite was true.
It's no wonder Richard Williams never again spoke of his destroyed dream and faded from show business after its release.
Then Garrett Gilchrist came in and used everything in his power and on the cutting room floor to give this tragic tale a bittersweet ending with this well thought out and intricately cared for edit that is by far the closest to Williams's vision to date.
A/V Quality: 10
-Visual Editing: 10
Now, this isn't to say that this edit was seamless; it couldn't possibly be. This gets a 10 because Gilchrist's gumption and drive to reinsert storyboards and uncolored workprints with the help of some of the actual animation team is to be an inspiration for years to come. I can't tell you what frames Gilchrist photoshopped, either, they fit so well. The use of Calvert's footage was indeed noticeable, but unfortunately completely unavoidable.
-Audio Editing: 10
The titular thief and cobbler no longer speak (with the exception of one brilliant final line from Tack), just as Williams wanted. Deleted voice acting from Vincent Price in particular struck me as downright important, not to mention respectful of the terrific actor.
The story is back on track and remains simple and timeless (and thankfully song free). The painstakingly crafted visual segments are wonderful and mesmerizing. This would have been a classic had it been finished.
Garret Gilchrist did something that needed to be done, and he did it well. There's really nothing more I can say there. This is proof that fan editing isn't just fun. Sometimes it's vital.