Todays Key Movie:
‘Time Bandits is an awfully good film, we have worked ever so hard on it. It’s a tremendous adventure story. We like it, and we’re pretty sure you will. ‘
– The Director
This 1981 film, Time Bandits, is about a young boy named Kevin (played by Craig Warnock) who happens to have a time portal in his closet in which a roving troupe of adventuring dwarves emerge and sweep him on a journey through time as they flee the Supreme Being because they stole his map to….well everything! It is a magical adventure involving historical figures, theft, high adventure, fantasy creatures and even the Divine himself. Everyone from Shelly Duvall to Sean Connery, this film was a who’s who of actors of the time. Even John Cleese shows up as Robin Hood and he is hilarious. It is one of the most strange and wonderful films ever made and will stick with you for the rest of your life.
Why this movie?
Time Bandits is likely my very first exposure to Terry Gilliam in his none Python Directorial capacity and this likely led to me being a massive fan of his works for the rest of my life. I don’t remember specifically when I first saw this film, I only remember that I was young and I didn’t understand much of what was going on, only that it was INCREDIBLE!
I had of course already been exposed to Terry Gilliam as a Python, not the snake kind, the British Comedy kind. You see the director, Terry Gilliam, was best know for his start in the British Comedy Troupe known as Monty Python and boy was my Father a fan. We watched them all, everything from the Flying Circus tv series to the crazy movies including the ever classic, Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
As I said before, I don’t remember specifically when I saw this film but I know it was on VHS and not in the theater. Our small town would never have a film of this caliber on the screen but that is what home video was for right? My first impression of this movie was that it was insane and cool. The lead character, Kevin, was about my age so I could immediately associated with him, plus who didn’t dream of having a magical band of dwarves sweep you away on a grand adventure at that age? I mean, I know I did.
Terry would later go on to make many more of my favorite films such as the dark and strange Brazil, The Fisher King and of course the incredible Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus (which would include Heath Ledger’s final performance on-screen). I have seen nearly every one of his films and I don’t regret one of them. Time Bandits was the first for me and because of this it will always have a special place in my heart
How did this translate to real life?
It doesn’t, it’s just a great film that reminds me of the good times in my youth. The awe and wonder of what the world would bring and could bring. I can’t tell you how many times I hoped to stumble across the Map of Time myself and venture out to find my fortune. In a way we are now able to do that with the internet and incredibly interactive video games, plus I have had the privilege to travel all over the Country, so I guess I did find my map after all, it was just waiting for me to get a little older.
Okay, you like this film, but is it really a ‘good film’?
Oh boy is it. I will warn you though, Gilliam is a bit of an acquired taste so if you haven’t experienced his brand of humor this would be a good one to start with. It is VERY British in its humor and mannerisms plus it does have some adult humor that, if you are not careful, may lead to some questions in the younger viewers.
The production quality is fantastic and , of course, the script and acting is bar none. In many ways this film opened the door for other fantasy films such as The Labyrinth, the dark film Pan’s Labyrinth by Guillermo Del Toro and even the more recent Harry Potter films.
OK, where do I get this movie?
This film is available in most every format, Digital, Blu Ray and DVD. I highly recommend the Criterion edition on either DVD or Blu Ray as it contains some great extras. That version will run you around $25+ but is well worth it. You can probably find a digital copy a bit cheaper but no matter what, you really should give it a watch.
Here it is on the criterion web site HERE.
of course, the Original Theatrical Trailer:
Thanks for reading, Come back every Thursday for a new Key Movie In My Life!
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Late To The Game 01/11/18