For this month’s next review for Genre Grandeur – Time Travel Movies, here’s a review of Time Bandits (1981) by David of That Moment In
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Abbi of Abbiosbiston.com We will be reviewing our favorite Alternate Love Story movies. In order to get a better idea as to what this genre might include, check out this post by Abbi from last year. Please get me your submissions by the 25th of November by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Abbi!
Let’s see what David thought of this movie:
Director: Terry Gilliam
Young, impressionable, and wildly imaginative Kevin lives in a quiet neighborhood with oddly neglectful parents whom seem far more interested in keeping up with the latest shiny things on TV than in their son’s fascination with history and exceptional creativity. Left to entertain and indulge himself, Kevin is reclusive and is lost in his own thoughts. In his bedroom one evening, he’s awoken by a rumble in his closet that suddenly bursts open to reveal a proud Knight in shining armor on horseback, who promptly rides off into a wooded forest where the bedroom wall used to be. When Kevin looks back though, all is restored to normal. Curious, the next evening, he packs a shoulder bag with supplies, grabs his Polaroid camera and waits for the Knight to return. Like the previous evening, a rumble in his closet gets his attention, but this time, no Knight. Instead, out pour six medieval-era dressed dwarves. They are frantic and create a ruckus, but Keven learns that they have stolen a large map and are desperately looking for a “door” out of the room before whomever is chasing them arrives. One wall is revealed to be a movable portal that leads to a lengthy hallway where Kevin is hesitant to follow until a disembodied, ghostly head known as “The Supreme Being” (Ralph Richardson) appears and chases after the group, demanding the return of what’s been stolen.
After the portal opens fully, Kevin and the dwarves fall through a dark void and land in Napoleonic Italy where Randall (David Rappaport), the lead dwarf, explains that they once worked for the Supreme Being as sort of repairmen, fixing holes in the spacetime continuum but realized there was a lot more potential for wealth in using the map to jump through time to steal riches. They recruit Kevin to join their bawdy band and they begin a series of adventures where they travel in time to acquire loot. Meanwhile, unbeknownst to them, a wicked sorcerer referred only to as Evil has his eye on the map and through some manipulation, seeks to acquire the prize.
Directed by Month Python veteran Terry Gilliam, who has made a career out of inventive, imaginative films, Time Bandits is perhaps his most thoroughly realized, wonderfully bringing to life a number of impressive real-world and fantastical locations, mixing just the right about of comedy and drama. A host of characters from history, including a very funny Robin Hood (John Cleese), scurrilous Napoleon (Ian Holm) and fatherly King Agamemnon (Sean Connery) show up and influence young Kevin while he also contends with more fanciful creatures and figures, such as ogres, trolls and other assorted beasts. More whimsical than heavy, and never intended to be more than a fun fable with a nudge towards keeping one’s imagination alive, Time Bandits is a masterpiece of production, set design and costumes, creating rich, tangible worlds that have great depth and character. Made in 1981, the use of practical and live effects is astonishingly good and even today hold up very well. Gilliam is quite adept at building believable environments and populating them with engaging, innovative figures and does so here again, with some great performances and a clever story that is a little complicated but nicely tied up in the end with an amusing fairy-tale like finale that sees a surprise return of one character that makes the viewer question which world is which and where has one stopped and the other begun. Aimed primarily at children, with colorful set pieces and high adventure, there is a lot here for adults as well and it’s hard to beat for film of this genre. A true time traveling film classic.