A hugely talented but socially isolated computer operator is tasked by Management to prove the Zero Theorem: that the universe ends as nothing, rendering life meaningless. But meaning is what he already craves.
A young boy's wardrobe contains a time hole. Through this hole an assortment of short people (i.e. dwarfs) come while escaping from their master, the supreme being. They take Kevin with them on their adventures through time from Napoleonic times to the Middle Ages to the early 1900s, to the time of Legends and the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness where they confront Evil.Written by
Ruth Gordon was cast as Mrs. Ogre, but was injured before production. Katherine Helmond was originally slated to play the role in heavy make-up, to look like her husband, but then decided it would be funnier if Mrs. Ogre was an ordinary person. Terry Gilliam agreed. See more »
A rope is seen pulling the bushes apart as the Bandits rush to the aid of the robbers attacking the Middle Ages couple. See more »
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Dad, did you know that the ancient Greek warriors ...
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At the end of the credits the scene where the Bandits have their photo taken is replayed. See more »
A version seen on US television omits the scene of the Time Bandits ramming the sleeping potion into the scalp of the giant. It cut from it stepping on the house to him becoming tired, seemingly on his own. See more »
Young Kevin lives in suburbia with his parents. They focus on the telly and quiet while he gets excited about history and learning. His world changes totally when he wakes to find four men have come out of his wardrobe. They start pushing one of his walls away and, when a powerful force comes out after them, Kevin flees with them. He learns the time are time travellers who have stolen a map of the holes in the galaxy from their former employer, The Supreme Being.
Far from being a perfect film, Time Bandits is still a wonderfully fun fantasy for the family (although perhaps not younger children) which is also notable for not really having dated at all in its 25 years. The plot starts from nowhere and jumps around in various adventures in different times (real and fantasy) with a vague plot to hold it together. The narrative flows well in some regards but it is hard not to notice that at times it is very much like a collection of ideas and sketches rather than a strong plot. What keeps the flow though is the sense of fun and imagination that runs through it things that I think owe a lot to Gilliam's roles as director and co-writer. He fills the film with a consistent sense of wonder which is well propped up by many great shots and atmospheric scenes. It does well to mix comedy with the more serious fantasy stuff and does provide something that children and adults will like (although both will occasionally feel the effects of the film being a bit piecemeal).
The principle cast are pretty enjoyable with the bandits themselves being a fun ragtag of Baker, Rappaport, Edmonds, Dixon, Purvis and Ross. Far from being a modern annoying brat actor, Warnock is actually really good and he holds the essential "English-ness" of the film throughout. Of course, given the fragmented nature of the film means that a lot rest on the cameos which include nice turns from Palin, a wonderfully polite Cleese and solid characters from Holm, Connery, Duvall, Warner, Broadbent and others all giving good performances in their respective roles.
Overall then an enjoyable family fantasy that has all the strengths and weaknesses that you should expect from Gilliam. Structure wise it is a bit all over the place and does occasionally feel like a collection of separate ideas and sketches it does have a great sense of fun and wonder about it.
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