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Time Bandits

(DVD - 1999)
Average Rating: 3.5 stars out of 5.
Time Bandits
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A young boy escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being, they plunder treasure from Napoleon and Agamemnon, but the Evil Genius is watching their every move!.
Publisher: [United States] : Criterion Collection, c1999
ISBN: 1559408995
Branch Call Number: DVD Comedy TIME
Characteristics: 1 videodisc (116 min.) :,sd., col. ;,4 3/4 in
Alternate Title: Terry Gilliam's Time bandits

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Feb 25, 2014
  • 0cho rated this: 1 stars out of 5.

I saw this movie a long long time ago when I was a kid and remember it being a great movie. That was not the case seeing it as an adult. If you are like me, do yourself a favour and don’t try to recreate those memories. This is a kids movie and kids will enjoy it. Other than that no one else should watch it.

Jan 03, 2014
  • alpaca85 rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I seem to have a problem with Terry Gilliam. I don't know exactly why, but of all the films I've seen by him, I only really enjoyed Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Since I saw Brazil, my position on that film has constantly flipped back and forth from being bored by it, to being awed by it. However, I can safely say that in the future, I will not have such a problem with Time Bandits.
Don't get me wrong, I wanted to like this film, I really did, but I just couldn't. I was bored by it and despite the dazzling effects and characters, and I couldn't even get through the most exciting scene without wanting to yawn my head off. Gilliam, save for one occasion, seems to have the uncanny ability to make me incredibly tired. I don't know why, but Time Bandits is a prime example of a movie that really should have worked, and then just.... didn't.
The story of Time Bandits centres around a young boy named Kevin who, one night, finds a group of dwarves appear in his room. They are carrying a map of the universe, and are being chased by the Supreme Being, whom they stole the map from. This map shows them where the holes in the universe are, so they can jump from time period to time period while evading capture. They take Kevin along with them, deciding to go on a historical robbing spree, travelling to Napoleon and stealing from him before setting out to steal from everyone throughout time. Unfortunately they are being watched by Evil, who intends to lure them to his fortress in order to steal the map and take over the entire universe!
It doesn't make the most sense, but with a little humour and wit, it could work quite well. So that is why it is ultimately very disappointing when the man who was in Monty Python can only produce one or two laughs in the entire movie. I'm not saying it had to be humourous, but what is shown on screen is neither humorous nor entertaining, so I'm just a little bit confused where Gilliam was going with this.
Craig Warnock is fine as the main character, 11 year old Kevin, but his role is pretty typical for a fantasy film such as this one. The group of dwarves are also fine in their roles, but they do not consist of the best comedians, and as a result are not very funny. In fact, the group, with David Rappaport and Kenny Baker in particular, can sometimes come across as very sad, muddling the tone even further. Their wanton lust for greed seems to serve only as a cruel punishment concerning their previous situation, heaped upon them so that they could destroy themselves.
The "guest" cameos with actors playing famous historical people are fine. Sean Connery stands out as a kindly Greek king, and he is one of the best parts of the movie. Ian Holm as Napoleon is fine, but the height jokes get old pretty quickly. John Cleese is a lot of fun as Robin Hood, as is Michael Palin and Shelly Duvall as a pair of hapless lovers. Ralph Richardson makes a nice cameo at the end, and David Warner's Evil is a bit tiring. Warner is a fine actor, but his scenes are the films worst.
The production design is excellent. The sets are all expansive and gorgeous to look at. The way the film seemingly trots all over the world is well represented in all the sets and different locals showcased here. The cinematography is fine as well, but it's never really eye-popping. For the early 80s, the special effects are surprisingly good. However, they do have quite a bit of a nostalgic quality to them, which is nice.
I can understand what Terry Gilliam wanted to do here. The idea of creating a modern fairy tale is an admirable one; I just wish it had been done a little better.

Apr 10, 2013
  • hgibbins rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

A classic fantasy trip. Ranks with the best of it's kind.

Apr 27, 2012
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

A wonderful allegorical adventure tale of fantasy action that may appeal equally to the 'tween child and the still young-at-heart adult. The youngsters may focus on the weird creatures and dwarves while the adults can laugh at the historical content, the devil's castle made of giant Leggo blocks, and the opening and closing parable for parents. Is the Director making a statement when he presents the Devil looking like the stereotypical devil but God looking like a businessman?

Aug 10, 2011
  • jimg2000 rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

smorgasbord of historic events that were poorly presented ... in mho

Dec 22, 2010
  • Ringwood rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

One of the best fantasy movies out there - fans of Terry Gilliam and Monty Python-type humour will love it. A wonderful, sometimes bizarre, adventure-filled romp through history!

Oct 16, 2010
  • melbl8tr rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Slightly bizarre time travel fantasy. Fans of Terry Gilliam will love it. Everyone else may find it a bit uneven.

Sep 28, 2010
  • mexicanadiense rated this: 2 stars out of 5.

Not as good as I'd remembered from my childhood, but it still shows flashes of Gilliam's growing filmmaking genius.

Feb 17, 2010
  • neko rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Terry Gilliam leads this delightful tale in directions guaranteed to delight and make you laugh out loud.

Dec 16, 2009
  • Anette rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

a cult classic and one of the best time travel movies ever made

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Apr 27, 2012
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Liber_vermis thinks this title is suitable for 8 years and over

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Apr 27, 2012
  • Liber_vermis rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Frightening or Intense Scenes: There are plenty of threatening creatures, scenes of violence and death to people, destruction of property with fire and explosions, and six mischievous dwarves that may be upsetting to young children.

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app03 Version gurli Last updated 2014/12/09 10:52