370 of 417 people found the following review helpful
Great new transfer with nice extras makes this worthwhile (Review for DVD NOT Blu-ray),
This review is from: Time Bandits (Two-Disc Special Edition) (DVD)
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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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Apr 30, 2009 1:13:43 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2009 1:14:59 PM PDT
I have this one and I like it very much. I love this movie and I'm glad I got it in this format. When I bought this, I wasn't aware that there was a dvd version that hasn't been getting good reviews. I'm lucky I got this one. I also really like the features on the second disc and the fold out map that came with it.
Posted on Feb 7, 2012 8:47:17 PM PST
Lavander Williams says:
Thank you for the thoroughness of this review. Your updates were extremely helpful to me. I mean this sincerely. I will most likely skip the blu-ray and go with the 2 disc dvd version put out by Anchor Bay. Thanks again.
Posted on Jun 9, 2012 8:16:33 AM PDT
Scott Wright says:
Thank you for mentioning the "B" version.
Awesome Review, Mr. WTDK!
Posted on Jul 18, 2012 7:23:22 PM PDT
M. Minogue says:
In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012 8:54:22 PM PDT
Wayne Klein says:
No. There are plenty of reviews with a synopsis of the plot.
Posted on Dec 5, 2012 11:14:54 PM PST
Kindle Customer says:
In reply to an earlier post on Dec 7, 2012 5:37:40 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Dec 7, 2012 5:45:13 PM PST
Wayne Klein says:
Then read another review. This review was written about the Blu-ray vs. the various DVDs. As far as "rambling" my review was pretty direct about what I was going to address if it had been rambling then I would have addressed the film itself and then randomly went off on a tangent about other things.
You'll also note that under the review it states WHAT item it was written for and, in this case, it clearly WASN'T written for the amazon streaming option.
If you want a synposis there are plenty of those here and elsewhere. You're welcome to read them. That wasn't the purpose of MY review which I was very upfront about in my review.
The reviews are all combined by amazon into one or two regardless of what they were really written for.
I'm sorry you found it unhelpful but the point was to help those who wanted to buy the Blu-ray/DVD title of this NOT for instant video.
This would be similar to reviewing a story published in a book vs. a kindle review of the same story. As I stated up front the review was a comparison between the various editions for those fans looking for the best version of the movie on home video NOT for streaming (and note when the review was written--way before amazon was doing streaming).
In reply to an earlier post on Sep 24, 2013 7:23:52 AM PDT
I hate how Amazon groups reviews for different products - yes, even though it may be the same film - blu-ray, dvd, criterion, special edition, streaming video.. etc..etc..etc... should be considered DIFFERENT PRODUCTS and I appreciate reviewers like yourself who provide details on the differences. These things matter to some of us.
In reply to an earlier post on Oct 5, 2013 1:01:33 PM PDT
I sure do agree with you on this! Often I read reviews when there are obviously different versions & different extras on those versions. Amazon makes it very hard to distinguish sometimes, unless the reviewer is very specific, as W.K. was. Thanks!
Posted on Oct 5, 2013 1:04:19 PM PDT
Thanks for a very thorough review, even tho it is now nine years later that I'm reading it!