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359 of 406 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new transfer with nice extras makes this worthwhile (Review for DVD NOT Blu-ray)
PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN FOR THE TWO DVD DISC EDITION OF "TIME BANDITS" PUT OUT BY ANCHOR BAY.

First, I have to note that most of these reviews are for the somewhat disappointing Criterion Edition released in 1999. The version I'll be reviewing is the much improved Divimax (high definition digital transfer)from Anchor Bay. The two DVD edition of...
Published on February 8, 2004 by Wayne Klein

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, lackluster transfer
I must agree with the viewer from Phoenix. I have several Criterion laserdiscs, including their Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and this is my first DVD from them. This does not do the film justice in any way. The transfer is riddled with artifacts from a presumably aged master, and the sound has distinctly noticeable dips, much like turning the volume knob...
Published on September 8, 1999 by Michael Carvin


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359 of 406 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great new transfer with nice extras makes this worthwhile (Review for DVD NOT Blu-ray), February 8, 2004
PLEASE NOTE: THIS REVIEW WAS WRITTEN FOR THE TWO DVD DISC EDITION OF "TIME BANDITS" PUT OUT BY ANCHOR BAY.

First, I have to note that most of these reviews are for the somewhat disappointing Criterion Edition released in 1999. The version I'll be reviewing is the much improved Divimax (high definition digital transfer)from Anchor Bay. The two DVD edition of Time Bandits from Anchor Bay has isn't perfect but it's a stark improvement on the previous no frills version they issued in 1999 and the Criterion Edition from the same time frame.

The high definition transfer and the fact that the film has been enhanced for 16x9 televisions are definite improvements on the previous edition. The picture is sharper although I did note some minor edge enhancement and digital compression issues. On the whole, though, the picture looks marvelous. The first disc features only the film and it doesn't have the great audio commentary compilation by Gilliam, Michael Palin, David Warner, John Cleese and Craig Warnock. That's a pity because that would have made this the ultimate edition of the film.

Now the major complaint from some folks regarding the image size. Gilliam shot Time Bandits to be shown theatrically in a 1.85:1 ratio. Time Bandits was probably shot full screen (like Kubrick's films so that they wouldn't be badly "cropped" when released). More than likely Gilliam matted the image AFTER the film was shot. The widescreen image IS the way Gilliam intended the film to be seen).

The worst looking DVD was the one put out by the highly regarded Criterion Company. It featured interlace problems, an unstable picture (perhaps due to a flaw during the telecine transfer)and sound that sound left much to be desired. The aspect ratio (the dimension of the width and heighth of the film on screen)is correct here and the beautifully detailed transfer is so sharp that, on occasion, you can even see the limitations (there's a hint of wires in some scenes)of Terry Gilliam's optical effects.

NOTE UPDATE 9/28/10: THE BLU-RAY EDITION PUT OUT BY ANCHOR BAY HAS MANY PROBLEMS. I MENTION THIS HERE BECAUSE THIS HAS BEEN GROUPED IN WITH THE BLU-RAY REVIEW AS WELL. THE IMAGE QUALITY ISN'T ALL THAT GREAT AND HAS INTERLACE PROBLEMS AND WAS TRANSFERRED AT 1080I NOT 1080P WHICH MEANS THERE IS A REDUCTION IN IMAGE QUALTIY. WE ONLY GET AN 18 MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH GILLIAM ALONG WITH THE TRAILER FOR THE FILM NOTHING ELSE FROM THE 2 DISC EDITION FROM 2004. I WOULD WAIT FOR A BETTER BLU-RAY TRANSFER FOR THE FILM. GIVEN THE FILM STOCK THAT "TIME BANDITS" WAS SHOT WITH, THE AGE OF THE FILM, ETC. YOU MAY NOT SEE A HUGE IMPROVEMENT IN THE BLU-RAY EDITION OF THE FILM (QUITE HONESTLY IT DEPENDS ON YOUR MONITOR, SIZE, ETC.).

THE REGION "B" BLU-RAY ISN'T A HUGE IMPROVEMENT OVER THE U.S. RELEASE.

The soundtrack has been remixed for the Dolby Digital EX track although I much preferred the more natural sounding 5.1 mix. Since the original source material was designed for stereo and there were some recording limitations at the time the film was made, the tinny sound is still a bit of a problem. That's not a problem that can be easily solved unfortunately. Still, Anchor Bay does the best they can with the materials at hand.

The second disc contains all the extras. The feaurettes include the marvelous The Directors: The films of Terry Gilliam with interviews featuring Gilliam, Shelly Duvall, Brad Pitt, Amanda Plummer, Mercedes Ruehl, Madeleine Stowe and David Warner. There's also an interview with Gilliam and Palin as well as the original theatrical trailers for the film. Some of these features duplicate comments heard on the commentary track for the film from Criterion.

UPDATE: 9/28/10-THE BLU-RAY EDITION HAS NO SECOND DISC. IT DOES FEATURE AN ENTERTAINING 18 MINUTE INTERVIEW WITH GILLIAM AND THE TRAILER.

There's also a Terry Gilliam bio and, most importantly, a DVD-Rom version of the original screenplay. Both these features are no where else to be found. Anchor Bay includes a fold out Map of the Universe which also has a background on the film production.

UPDATE 9/28/10: THE SCREENPLAY AND THE FOLD OUT MAP ARE NOT INCLUDED WITH THE BLU-RAY.

ADVICE FOR THE BLU-RAY: WAIT UNTIL ANCHOR BAY DOES A DECENT JOB OR THERE IS A RESTORATION FOR THIS FINE FILM FOR BLU-RAY.
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51 of 55 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Children's Movie, August 26, 2004
I have very fond memories of this film; it came out when I was about 12 years old. I grew up in a very small town in Kentucky, and we had one movie theater, which (for financial reasons I assume) would usually play one second-run film for several weeks at a time.

I loved this movie the first time I saw it. I rode my bicycle to the theater several times to watch this film (a child's matinee price was only $2.00). I must have seen it six times on the screen.

And as I got older, I began to see so much more about this film. Imagine.... a children's film that approaches such existential topics as the nature of God and the existence of evil. Really, really, magical.
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62 of 70 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Why don't they make fairy tales like this anymore?, October 26, 1999
By 
Paul MacKinnon (Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada) - See all my reviews
Like the Princess Bride (and perhaps as a precursor to the "Scream"/horror phenomenon), Time Bandits is an honest homage to its genre, while at the same time being very aware of itself. This film is LOADED with imagination, magic, special effects, and great character vignettes. And it's also a great history lesson.
Despite the fact that it's a Gilliam/Palin collaboration, it's not Monty Python (with the possible exception of the Robin Hood bit - worth the price of the film alone), but once you get past the expectation that it will be side-splittingly funny, you can easily get carried away with this tale.
If you get the Criterion DVD do what I did and devote an entire weekend to it: Watch the film, then listen to the commentary, which will make you want to watch the film again.
Take heed though of the quality warnings: I thought the picture was wonderful (as every other video version around seems to be in rough shape), but the sound is lacking in parts. Those downfalls and the overblown ending climax (I know it's an epic battle of good vs. evil, but it's still too long!) are what cost this film all 5 stars.
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64 of 73 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars More Little People Hitting Each Other!, June 13, 2000
As one would expect of a Criterion release, the DVD of "Time Bandits" is an absolute pleasure, from the clean film transfer to the many delightful added features.
The production scrapbook is a treasure, along with the commentary by Gilliam and Palin. These features truly enrich one's appreciation for the film; not only do they lavish praise on the actors playing the "dwarves" (who, in retrospect, did nothing less than a heroic job), but also reveal many of the clever tricks that allowed them to create such a sumptuously beautiful film for the cost of Speilberg's monthly catering bill. Compare this film to expensive clunkers like "Tron" (which came out a year later!) to appreciate the extent of Gilliam's craft. Cleese's description of his day's work is howlingly funny, and David Warner is generous and wryly amusing. The now-grown Craig Warnock is not particularly eloquent, however, and it's hard to tell if he's joking about the film scarring him psychologically!
The trailer is simply awful, after a promising start, but it's indicative of AVCO's cluelessness about how to market such a fresh and original film. They tried to pass it off as Python style comedy, safe for kiddies and fun for grow-ups. In fact, it's nothing of the kind - it's a dangerous and rigorous film that one may wish to keep out of the hands of small children.
Despite it's vague resemblance to "The Wizard of Oz" told upside down (or inside out?), "Time Bandits" is not a typical (modern) children's film. It has an old-fashioned Grimm-ness, with creatures dying nasty, sweaty deaths and even "good" characters behaving quite badly at times. In short, it is more utterly honest than any fantasy film made since Disney bowdlerized "Snow White."
Understanding that young people like to be frightened, and taking peculiar delight in how "awful" his band of dwarf thieves are, Gilliam places a very real boy (so real, he's almost dull) in an amazing series of situations, exposing him to terrible ordeals with only a shifty gang of unreliable and occasionally stupid companions to guide and protect him - though mostly they ignore him or egg him on to be more like them (being dwarves, he towers over them, both physically and morally). At the very moment he feels he's found the right place to be, they tear him away with no regard for his wishes or feelings, and ultimately thrust him into conflict with forces neither he nor they can comprehend, let alone master.
Sounds a bit like growing up, doesn't it?
Along the way, Gilliam tweaks various legendary Great and Powerful Figures (Napoleon, Agamemnon, Robin Hood - even Satan [referred to exclusively as "The Evil Genius"]), not to mention technology and consumerism, to reveal the narrow-minded, clumsy, grasping people we grown-ups really are.
The ending remains controversial, although I can remember seeing it in my late teens and feeling utterly liberated by it (what teenage boy doesn't want his parents to evaporate, at least once in a while?). There's more honesty and meaning in the last five minutes than any patently false "happy ending" could hope to achieve, although young children conditioned to expect Pocahontas to live happily ever after with John Smith (which, of course, she didn't) may find it too disturbing.
"Time Bandits" is a triumphant use of fantasy to articulate truth, of the power of the imagination to find the reality hidden in plain sight (the figures in the final conflict can all be found in the boy's room in the early scenes). It's an unforgettable film, with images and characters that will stay with you for a lifetime, even if you aren't an impressionable, disaffected, precocious brat (like I was when I first saw it), but especially if you are!
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not a very good transfer..., November 13, 2010
This review is from: Time Bandits [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is a review of the Image Entertainment Blu-ray edition. I'll limit this review mostly to the transfer.

The transfer varies from absolutely superb to unacceptably terrible. Many scenes have a multitude of small white dots, and even vertical scratches! The black backgrounds of night scenes are often filled with noise or horizontal striations. The quality can vary radically from scene to scene, with one a model of Blu-ray quality, followed by a low-contrast, badly scratched sequence. This suggests this edition was assembled from multiple sources.

Almost all these problems are fixable -- it just takes time and money. But apparently no one wanted to spend them, even on a film that some consider a classic.

The price is reasonable for a Blu-ray disk, but "Time Bandits" is not of the consistent "demo" quality it ought to be; you might actually find it annoying to watch. There is no excuse for a 30-year-old film to be in such poor condition, especially a film from such a fussy, perfectionist director.

The film itself hasn't aged well. It's a good idea -- especially its not-very-subtle slap at the gross materialism of modern society, and the revelation of what comprises Ultimate Evil -- supported with magnificent production design, but Gilliam (and his co-writer Michael Palin) don't know how to write a terse or genuinely witty script, or give a rambling and picaresque tale the kind of focused direction it needs. (It's hard to believe Gilliam gave us "Brazil".)

This is a tossup. As lousy as the transfer is, the film simply /looks better/ -- /much/ better -- than any previous transfer I've seen. As we'll probably never have a properly cleaned-up edition, this might be a good time to buy the Blu-ray.

PS: I did some checking. My copy is from Image Entertainment, not Anchor Bay. The box says the transfer is 1080i (no frame rate given), but the player's screen display says it's 1080p 60fps. (The 24fps light on the player does not come on.) And in browsing reviews on a Website devoted to high-definition home videos, I discovered that "Time Bandits" is not the first Image Entertainment Blu-ray to be criticized for poor or inconsistent image quality.
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29 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars HOW COULD SO MUCH ENTERTAINMENT FIT IN JUST ONE MOVIE?, June 14, 2001
By 
Saki (ROCHESTER, NY) - See all my reviews
For those who think that they haven't seen "Time Bandits": you're probably wrong. I was surprised at how many of the scenes I remembered and remembered loving: Robin Hood misenterpreting the gang's spoils as a gift for the poor, teaching the monster that stretching can help his bad back, little people and a small child hanging in cages over infinite blackness in the dungeon of Evil, and the final military confrontation with Evil in his weird red outfit and hat/helmet. Terry Gilliam has a way with fantasy and a way with humor not to be matched. Nothing that happens is ever expected, the humor's always a bit odd, and all the while the magic of the story and its varied fantastic settings leaves the viewer spellbound. "Time Bandits" is fun for kids and even more fun for twisted, cynical adults.
Follow "Time Bandits" with a quick hit of "Brazil" and then a viewing of "The Adventures of Baron Munchausen." Terry Gilliam calls the three his dream trilogy, and I must say that those three films are better than any trilogy that George Lucas has yet made or plans to make. The movies leave a person with the feeling of being in an off-center waking dream, and when the ending credits are reached the disappointment of losing that little fantasy world is palpable. Gilliam is a master of the craft of film-making.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The folks at Criterion deserve a standing ovation!!, December 9, 2014
By 
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I did a comparison with my old Image blu-ray and this new Criterion release and all I can say is WOW! I've never seen Time Bandits look so pristine. This transfer is darn near perfect. Kudos to the folks at Criterion for giving Time Bandits the treatment it deserves. I haven't had a chance to watch any of the special features yet but this new exquisite transfer makes it well worth the upgrade. It was like seeing the film for the very first time. Time Bandits will remain one of my childhood favorite films and this Criterion release is truly the only way to own this film on disc.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice transfer, nice extras classier package than criterion, February 1, 2004
By A Customer
Terry Gilliam's attitude about his films says it all about whether or not you're a fan of his films; to paraphrase, he'd rather people think his films are great or garbage no inbetween. Luckily, most of his films are in the former camp and this happens to be one of them. Originally pitched when Brazil was rejected by investors and his manager at the time, Time Bandits was imagined to be a modern day Grimm's Fairytale. He wanted a film that would amaze kids but also entertain adults. Time Bandits successfully does both.
There's a map the Almighty created of the Universe. It lists all the holes in space and time and also has the times and places they will occur. Some of God's assistants (you know, the folks that helped create the little things--grass, trees, the odd weird plant)have stolen the map hoping to steal the riches of the universe and make a -ahem-timely exit.
When they accidently land in Kevin's room, they end up having to take this poor 20th Century kid with them as God has located them yet again. The adventure begins as they travel from ancient Greece to Robin Hood's Sherwood Forest and places in between. There's someone else observing them. He's never called the Devil but, well, that's who he is. He wants to map so he can take over the universe as he feels that God has done a poor job of creating it and running it. So he "arranges" for them to begin a journey to the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness to find the greatest treasure of all....
This latest DVD from Anchor Bay puts the Criterion edition and the previous Anchor Bay edition to shame. The high definition transfer is in anamorphic widescreen. What does that mean to you and me? If you have a 16x9 t.v. (or even a regular one), there's more lines of resolution on the screen, hence better clarity, sharpness and detail in the picture. The first disc is a dual layered one devoted only to providing as much picture and sound as possible from the beautiful transfer. Sadly, the commentary track on the Criterion Edition isn't included. That's the only real negative.
All the extras have been located to the second disc. We get the funny International Trailer, the so-so US trailer plus a documentary about Gilliam and his films made for television. We also get a 27 minute new interview with co-writers Michael Palin and Gilliam where they discuss the genesis of the film, what was cut from the script because of a lack of money and the demands of Sean Connery, Sir Ralph Richardson and the money people (John Cleese as Robin Hood instead of Michael Palin). Overall, a stellar package that captures most of what was said in the commentary track from the Criterion version of the film.
The packaging includes a booklet that has background on the making of the film and folds out to a neat little Map of the Universe just like a smaller version of the one used in the film. Just don't let your little ones see it, they'll pull it apart and start looking for all those doorways in time and space so they can start their own adventure.
While Time Bandits is a rousing, fun, funny and occasionally dark adventure it plays well to adults and children. There is some mild profanity so parents beware! Other than that, my kids loved the film. I'd recommend for kids 8 and older as you can explain to them about not using the occasional mild bad word in public. It's actually no worse than you hear on most television shows today and milder than the language in the movie Holes. Altogether, this is a terrific reissue and it's at the right price as well!
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Blu-Ray done poorly by Image Entertainment, January 30, 2012
By 
David Bradley "klaatubob" (Lawrence, MA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Time Bandits [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
Time Bandits is one of my all time favorite films. I was excited to find this on Blu-Ray. Then I saw that it was listed as 1080i on the packaging and was concerned. Why on Earth would a company release a feature film as 1080i on a blu-ray disc? Apparently this is the standard format for films put out on blu-ray by Image Entertainment as they've done this with several other major films they've released. With a business model like that, I doubt they'll last.

The print's color is much better than the old DVD I had, and the image is nowhere near as dark. HOWEVER, the image seems to have simply been artificially lightened to make it less dark and the result is that the dark areas show blocking, compression noise, and artifacts.

What was MOST disturbing is that no attempt has been made to give us a clean print! This blu-ray disc shows tons of dust flecks and scratches in many scenes throughout the film, and there's even a splice shown that for a single frame has half of one frame and half of another, with the splice line clearly seen on screen. This was obviously taken from a projection print that is worn and damaged and not given the care and attention that it properly deserved.

The film has been released in other countries as 1080p with less compression and on dual layer blu-ray discs. This U.S. version by Image Entertainment is not that same quality. As usual, the U.S. market is treated poorly.

Why can't someone get this disc right?
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Great movie, lackluster transfer, September 8, 1999
By 
Michael Carvin (Philadelphia, PA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I must agree with the viewer from Phoenix. I have several Criterion laserdiscs, including their Monty Python and the Holy Grail, and this is my first DVD from them. This does not do the film justice in any way. The transfer is riddled with artifacts from a presumably aged master, and the sound has distinctly noticeable dips, much like turning the volume knob quickly. This is painfully evident in George Harrison's song that plays over the end credits; that song is on no other CD I've seen, which is a shame because it's a very Beatles-y tune. I'm suprised Criterion let this out. My DVD of Dolemite from Image Entertainment is of comparable quality, and their production budget is generally pretty low compared to Criterion's. Is Brazil this bad?
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Time Bandits [Blu-ray]
Time Bandits [Blu-ray] by Warnock (Blu-ray - 2010)
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