Criterion Blu-ray Review- Time Bandits

Adam RuhlMiscellaneousLeave a Comment


Time Bandits (Click the title to order)

The Film:

The story follows Kevin, a young boy whose parents are too caught up in their own interests to pay him much mind. One night group of dwarves breaks into his room through a time portal (a flaw of a hastily and shoddily built universe) and Kevin is swept along with them. They have stolen a map of the holes in the universe from the Supreme Being (some of you call him God) and are set to run rampant through time, looting valuables and treasure. However, the sinister Evil Genius has other plans and a desire to possess the map for his own ends.

Time Bandits is one of those movies that really is for everyone. This can be a kid’s movie and an adult’s movie, or both together for that matter. It’s a great comedy with a lot of Monty Python DNA woven into it and an incredibly engaging visual experience. It is an early Terry Gilliam masterpiece and there is an evident transition happening in the film from his earlier Python work; breaking out of that mold and showing brilliance and creative elements that would become his trademarks in Brazil and Baron Munchausen later on.

The Disc:

Criterion, of course, delivers the very best picture and sound with a new restoration supervised by Gilliam himself. The image is perfect, with a 2k negative scan and all the dirt and flaws removed but the grain perfectly preserved. The commentary is ported over from the 1997 laser disc version. The release comes with a copy of the time map from the film included inside.

The Features:

  • New 2K digital restoration, supervised by director Terry Gilliam, with uncompressed stereo soundtrack on the Blu-ray
    • Audio commentary featuring Gilliam, cowriter/actor Michael Palin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner, and Craig Warnock
    • New piece narrated by film writer David Morgan and featuring production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson on the creation of the film’s various historical periods and fantasy worlds
    • Conversation between Gilliam and film scholar Peter von Bagh at Finland’s Midnight Sun Film Festival in 1998
    • Excerpt from a 1981 appearance by actor Shelley Duvall on Tom Snyder’s Tomorrowshow
    • Trailer
    • PLUS: An essay by critic David Sterritt

The Specs:

1080p Hi-Def widescreen 1.85:1


Original Release: 1981

Runtime: 116 minutes

Rated: PG

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Adam RuhlCriterion Blu-ray Review- Time Bandits