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The story for time bandits is typical Terry Gilliam inspired lunacy, a boy who is totally ignored by his materialistic parents finds himself being dragged along by a gaggle of dwarves who have pinched the supreme beings,(a splendid Ralph Richardson), plans. they are then pursued both by him and the evil one,( a similarly excellent David Warner), through time portals that lead to a very pythonesque sherwood forest scene, the titanic, a beautifully realised fantasy land complete with giants and ogres and a land of mythology where a scene stealing Sean Connery plays Agamemnon.

As usual Gilliam coaxes the last drop of acting expertise from all involved, the humour is plentiful but very two edged and there is a subtext as deep as you care to delve.

The story rattles along for the most part but there are one or two scenes that could do with a gentle push in the right direction as the humour and pace slack. these though are rare and as anyone who remembers his python contributions or who has seen his films will know,Gilliam really knows how to visualize the incredible and so, even 25 years later, you are left with images of a knight on horseback charging from a childs wardrobe, 6 dwarves and a child dangling from a cage over infinite nothingness, a giant with a sailing ship on its head and so on and so on.

A quarter of a century has not dulled this films sharp edge nor left it without its ability to shock,tickle or astound. it can be enjoyed straight up as a grown up childs adventure story or you can happily chew over its subtext, either way there is much to enjoy.
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on 31 August 2014
This 50GB region B locked disc is a re-issue of Terry Gilliam's "Time Bandits" which is a vast improvement on the 2009 version on Blu-ray and is like a different film comparing it to the 2002 release on DVD which like the 2009 version on Blu-ray had various flaws ranging from print damage and scratches to a lack-luster sounding soundtrack, this 2013 incarnation is both an improvement in both departments with a picture that is both better in depth of colour and field of blacks I found the most impressive version of the audio track to be the English LPCM 48kHZ 24 bit stereo which I thought had a better sounding dialogue track comparing it to the previous Blu-ray and DVD copies which sounded muffled and at times difficult to follow.

The following text appears inside the booklet provided with this Blu-ray release:

"The original 35mm Time Bandits negative was scanned at 2K resolution on a pin-registered ARRISCAN, and the film was fully graded using the Nucoda Film Master Colour grading system.
Restoration work was carried out using a combination of software tools and techniques. Thousands of instances of dirt, scratches, and debris were carefully removed frame by frame. Damaged frames were repaired, and density and stability issues were significantly improved. The soundtrack was transferred from the original magnetic tracks and underwent audio restoration to repair bumps, clicks and other instances of audible damage.
Director and co-writer Terry Gilliam has approved the restoration.

Film Restoration Supervisor: James White.
Film Restoration by Deluxe Production: Mark Bonnici, Graham Jones, Paul Collard.
Datacine Colourist: Stephen Berman."

The disc is encoded using the MPEG4 codec in full 1080p resolution in the original theatrical aspect ratio of 1.85.1 the audio comes in English DTS Master audio 5.1 24 bit and English LPCM stereo 24 bit with English subtitles for the hard of hearing, the cover artwork is reversible so you can use either the hourglass deign or the familiar boat design this package from Arrow is so much better in my option compared to the Anchor Bay issue....
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on 28 February 2005
Time Bandits is a deeply satirical morality tale superficially packaged as a kid's adventure film. On the surface it seems simple enough; a young boy, Kevin, is spirited away by a gang of time travelling comedy dwarves for a series of adventures in different historical settings. But there's a lot more to it than that. Kevin's parents are a grotesque caricature of self-absorbed suburban materialism; incessantly arguing about kitchen appliances while watching brainless TV gameshows at full volume. It is Gilliam's attention to detail which really makes this film for me. Kevin's parents don't eat anything which hasn't come out of a microwave or blender and are too precious even to remove the plastic wrapping from their hideous three-piece suite. Kevin, meanwhile, is a romantic who, until the fateful night the Time Bandits arrive in his bedroom, can only live out his fantasies in history books.
But history turns out not to be all it's cracked up to be. Napoleon is crippled by an inferiority complex stemming from his small stature; Robin Hood is a patronising liar and his 'merry men' are a bunch of violent filthy animals. Only in mythical Greece does Kevin come close to realising his dreams.
The film retains a dark edge throughout. As Gilliam explains in his DVD commentary, by casting small people as the bandits, led by the delightfully arrogant David Rappaport, he hoodwinks the audience into swallowing their extreme cupidity. The innocent Kevin (played by a child actor deliberately selected for his shyness) finds himself swept into company even more mindlessly greedy than that of his parents'. At this stage we are introduced to David Warner's deliciously over-acted 'evil genius'; a Satan obsessed with modern technology (but, ironically, surrounded by decay and incompetence), who plots to entrap the time travellers. The film gathers momentum towards the inevitable showdown between good and evil but Gilliam leaves this disturbingly inconclusive. God, played by Ralph Richardson as an intimidating schoolmaster, assures us that he is in control but that misery and suffering are all that we can expect ("something to do with free will") and Kevin's troubles have only begun. Ultimately this is a very British film which speaks to lonely idealists everywhere.
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on 6 January 2010
I don't need to review the movie, you can probably read the reviews on the DVD section to find out what the film is like. I got the Blu Ray as I'm slowly replacing my favourites on DVD with the Blu Ray versions, and this is why I'm dissapointed.

Yes - the picture quality IS better than the DVD, but that's entirely due to the improvement in the format. It would appear that no effort has been to clean up the film print, correct scratches etc and the hiss on the sound track is awful. This is a lazy and no doubt, quick/cheap effort.

This is why I've given 3 stars - 3 stars for thr Blu Ray transfer, 5 for the movie, which I love.
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Just a quick review to agree with Mr Ro Johns. The movie itself is fantastic and is an essential film for your collection, one of Terry Gilliam's best but also most successful films (a rare combination) and entertaining again and again.

However as Blu Rays go this is poor. Very few extras and a very poor-quality print which has some picture drop-out, plenty of dust, and less than perfect sound quality. Admittedly the film is from 1981 and may not be in the best of conditions but no apparent effort has been made to clean it up. A lazy quick Blu Ray transfer.

Hopefully someday there will be a remastered, 'special edition' version. I wish I'd waited for that.
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on 31 December 2010
Time Bandits follows the adventures of Kevin, a put-upon, largely ignored but particularly imaginitive young lad who is abducted by a gang of dwarves (led by David Rappaport) who have stolen a time map from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson as an absent-minded, slightly stern, favourite uncle-like God) and are using it to develop their new careers as international criminals. Cue encounters with Napoleon (the ever fantastic Ian Holm), the Titanic, Robin Hood (John Cleese) and an unspeakably Evil David Warner.

As one of Terry Gilliam's earliest post-Python films and apparrantly aimed at a youngish audience, you might be tempted to give this a miss, but all of Gilliam's trademark imagery, wit and style is here, full-on and in bucketloads. The balance of review markings so far suggest that even those who like his work are less than enthused about Time Bandits, but really you can't go wrong here: visually sumptuous, excellently acted, exquisitely casted, superlatively plotted and wittier than Stephen Fry and Rowan Atkinson's secret lovechild: if you've enjoyed anything by Giliam, you'll love this. Many of the themes seen in later works are evident here: children, dwarves, theatre, travel and the eternal struggle between good and evil (allegorized as a conflict between the power of a childish imagination and the leaden hand of bureaucracy). Indeed Time Bandits could easily be the first of a trilogy with The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen and The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (I've not seen The Brothers Grimm, but I suspect that it could make this a quadrilogy).

"We're in the middle ages! Five hundred years before the man we robbed is even born. Ha ha! Try that one in a court of law!"
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on 30 March 2004
Since the time of its release this film was panned for not being as funny as it should. This film was at the time promoted as a kind Monty Python sequel due to the involvement of key members of the Python team.
But Time Bandits really isn’t a comedy; it is much more of children’s adventure. Time Bandits can be compared (very favourably) to films like Labyrinth and Dark Crystal. The films strengths lies not in its laughs (though there are some) but in its stunning visuals and its anything-goes wild imagination. As a piece of cinema it is stunning and it rivals, in terms of vision any big budget sci-fi film you can care to mention. After watching this film I felt that some of the imagery it produced was burned into my memory.
The best way to view this film is like a colourful children’s book brought to life and on those terms it succeeds with zest.
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on 25 January 2014
*This review is specifically about the 2013 ARROW BLU-RAY editions of Time Bandits, including this steelbook edition.*

An absolute must for fans of Time Bandits. One of the very few films that I loved as a child where that enjoyment carried on into adulthood. This has to be down in large part to the combined genius of ex Python's Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. Great imagination, great cast and visually stunning...and remember, this was fairly low budget stuff. Forgot how funny it was in parts too.

For this new bluray, it's like seeing the film brand new for the first time. Gone are the scratches, dirt, print damage, dodgy colour cast of previous versions. In comes sharpness, film grain and detail never apparent before (I never saw Ian Holm's tears before, as Napoleon, when he comes backstage after the dwarf stage show). Colours are vibrant and even most of the old school optical effects largely look clean and nice. Importantly, sound is also improved.

One again Arrow video leading the way on bluray restorations and presentations of film classics. Warner Brothers take note.
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on 13 March 2006
One of the most fondly remembered films from my childhood, Time Bandits paints a tale of epic adventure across time and space...with a Gilliam twist. Our hero, a young lad called Kevin encounters a rag tag team of dwarves lead by (the late )David Rappaport, who has managed to steal a map from the Supreme being who has designed the universe. Naturally they are exploiting the 'shortcomings' in the designs to their own ends and ultimately to a magnificent treasure, and naturally, the Supreme being is in hot pursuit for the return of his map.
As they 'weave' through the holes in the universe, they travel to distant times and other worlds, and encounter a host of celebrity cameos, adopting various roles; Ian Holm as Napolean, Sean Connery as a Greek King and the hilariously camp John Cleese as a Pantomime Robin Hood, leading a band of monstrous 'not so merry men', to name but a few of the stars in this fantastically surreal masterpiece, with a 'tongue firmly in cheek' perspective on the nature of reality.
Robin Hood: And you're a robber too. How long have you been a robber?
Wally: Four foot one.
Robin Hood: Good lord! Jolly good. Four foot one? Well that-that-that is-is- a long time, isn't it
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on 11 July 2001
This was my favourite film as a kid and I still love it as an adult. It has some spectacular visual sequences. It's a trully wonderful film with ton's of stuff to feed your dreams. Their is more creativity in one scene than the entirety of most other movies. The ending is great and easily the most memorable one when you're a child. The part with John Cleese as Robin Hood has to be one of the funniest scenes in film history. If you haven't seen this film, then you must do so NOW.
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