Time Bandits (1981)

Article 3890 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 3-30-2012
Posting Date: 4-8-2012
Directed by Terry Gilliam
Featuring John Cleese, Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall
Country: UK
What it is: Comic epic fantasy

A young boy finds himself trapped on a journey through time with six little men who have stolen a map of Creation which shows where all the time holes are, and they plan to use it to make a fortune as robbers. However, the Evil One knows that they have the map, and plans to steal it so that he can escape the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness and prepare a conquest of Creation.

I can’t really review this movie. I love it too much. I saw it at the time when my love of all things associated with Monty Python was at its height, and when I had become utterly bored with everything else that was playing at the movies, and when my thirst for something unusual and different was very strong. Even the artwork made this one look like something special, and I ended up returning to the theater to catch it several times during its run. It isn’t the string of well-known actors that appear in it; almost all of them are playing cameos, with only David Warner (perfectly cast as an amusing source of all evil) in a sizable role. The main characters are the little boy played by Craig Warnock, and the set of six dwarf actors who portray the bandits, with David Rappaport, Kenny Baker and Jack Purvis as the most memorable, though they all do a fine job. Warner gives another of my favorite performances, and, among the cameos, Ralph Richardson (as the human manifestation of the Supreme Being), John Cleese (as an unctuously condescending Robin Hood) and Ian Holm (as Napoleon) are my favorites. It was the first of a rough trilogy for Terry Gilliam; with BRAZIL and THE ADVENTURES OF BARON MUNCHHAUSEN, he’d made a set of movies about youth, adulthood, and old age respectively. Oh, it has its flaws, but it still held my attention from beginning to end, and it was wonderful to watch it again after not having seen it for years. And I suppose that if I could apply the phrase “my movie” to any one movie I’ve seen, this would be the one.

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