All the dreams youve ever had - and not just the good ones...
Running Time: 116 minutes
US Certificate: PG UK Certificate: PG
Country: United Kingdom
If it were somehow possible to take the works of H.G. Welles, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkien, Roald Dahl and of course Monty Python, and put them all in one great big fantasy-adventure melting pot, the end result wouldnt be a million miles away from Time Bandits.
The brainchild of fully paid-up Python members Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin, its the tale of an 11-year-old kiddy-wink (Craig Warnock) who goes on a rampage through time and space after inadvertently hooking up with a gaggle of period-hopping midgets. Starting off in the young uns bedroom and using a handy pocket-sized map of the universe to traverse the highways and byways of history, its a story taking in Napoleon, Robin Hood, an underwater giant, God, the devil and an ogre with a bad back. Yup its fair to say there truly is something for everyone in Time Bandits.
To be honest, though, I cant help but think this movie should probably be a bit better than it actually is. Although it does contain a fair few belly-laughs, its not as consistently funny as Id expect from a pair of Pythons, lead actor Warnock is a little anonymous at times, and the whole thing really does start to drag a little towards the end (at just under two hours, it struggles to maintain the energy level it kicks off with).
There are, however, some fantastic moments in this flick: the knight-on-horseback exploding through the sprogs bedroom wardrobe; the wonderful bout of acrobatics as the dwarves escape from a series of precariously-dangling cages; John Cleese seen here back in the days before he stopped being funny delivering an absolutely hilarious portrayal of Robin Hood as an upper-class twit. These bits and, to a lesser extent, a handful of others are the ones to savour, regardless of your age.
Even though this isnt the best film of its kind (I could name Labyrinth and The Princess Bride as a couple that are better), its still the sort of picture I wish there were more of. Its a flick made not just for the kids, but for the entire family, and you can tell Messrs Gilliam and Palin have put an incredible amount of care and attention into delivering a final product that both looks and feels right. It might not always work as well as it should, but I for one am glad that they tried.
It's Got: Ian Holm as Napoleon (its a role hes well used to these days, having also played the frog-breathed ruler in 1974s Napoleon in Love and 2001s The Emperors New Clothes).
It Needs: The future, as well as the past. If you could travel through time, wouldnt you go forward too?
DVD Extras The highlight of this nicely-presented DVD package is the limited edition map of the universe tucked inside the cover although so far I havent managed to find any particularly practical use for it. Theres plenty of other stuff too, including a directors commentary, an interview with writers Gilliam and Palin, cast bios, extra film notes, a scrapbook section, storyboard extracts, a look at the original film treatment, dream facts, production stills, a photo gallery, and one of the more imaginative theatrical trailers youre likely to come across. Its a great little package. Version reviewed Time Bandits DVD Extras Rating: 8/10
Sit the whole family down to this Python-made romp through time and space.