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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.Read more ›
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If you are looking for a very funny family movie this is the movie.Published 1 month ago by Andre Weathers
Great cult classic ..cheesy ..campy..obviously very Monty python kinda humor..with a soup con of dry BBC british..i can't wait till Benny hill comes on after this p.b. Read morePublished 8 months ago by William Jordan
One of my all time favorite movies....couldn't find movie to rent/watch...glad I was able to find/purchase.Published 9 months ago by JustMe
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