I was lucky enough to see this piece of celluloid magic on the big screen when it first came out. I'm glad I did, too, because the shoe-box multiplexes that were being slapped together couldn't do this movie justice. Terry Gilliam hits just the right note when he introduces Kevin, a ten-year old with big appetite for western mythology(you get the impression that in another year, he'll be reading Joseph Campbell and Rider Haggard)and an even bigger imagination. Having parents of the most sterile, materialistic bent(plastic couch covers--ecch)just ensure his receptiveness to the adventures that follow his falling through the time-door in the back of his closet with Randall and his fellow dwarves as they plunder and loot their way through time and history. Gilliam pokes fun at some of history's figures, like Napoleon("That's what I like to see--little things hitting each other!"), Robin Hood("was it really necessary to hit him?""Yes boss.""Ah, I see."),and others. Gilliams' lesson that having lots of stuff will not ensure happiness and that usually, the journey itself is reward enough is artfully told without flogging the audience with it. Something else that stuck with me, but I didn't realize until long afterwards, were the things that Kevin discovered, after a fashion, in his adventures but didn't have in his life back in the 'burbs: a real father figure, played by Sean Connery as Agamemnon, and true love, as presented by Peter Vaughan and Katherine Helmond as Mr. and Mrs. Ogre. Plus the special effects are economically impressive without being too cheesy(my god--the fortress of ultimate darkness WAS made of lego blocks!). In the end, though, it was something that I find far, far too rarely in movies now and before, and it occured to me after I had seen, of all things, "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon". What Ang Lee's film had in common with Gilliam is simply this: they both had the feel of a great big story that you came in the middle of, and you didn't want ever to end, but it didn't matter, because the structure was such that you had enough to digest for now. And I can count on less than two hands the movies where I was left with THAT wonderful feeling.