Time Bandits (Blu-ray) Official AVSForum Review - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 19 Old 08-23-2010, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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attachment.php?attachmentid=183571&d=1282344866
The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )

Film: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

Extras: attachment.php?attachmentid=109941&d=1210373697

Audio/Video total rating:

( Max score: 100 )

72






Studio and Year: Hand Made Films - 1981
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Genre: Adventure/Comedy/Fantasy


Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Resolution: 1080i/60


Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital Stereo
Subtitles: None
Starring: John Cleese, Michael Palin, Sean Connery, David Warner, Craig Warnock
Directed by: Terry Gilliam
Music by: Mike Moran
Written by: Terry Gilliam & Michael Palin
Region Code: A

Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 24, 2010







"...they didn't make history, they stole it!"



Film Synopsis:

Young Kevin’s daydreams burst into astonishing and hilarious life when a band of time-traveling little men come crashing through his bedroom wardrobe and carry him off on an unbelievable crime spree, weaving through the greatest and strangest moments of history.




My Take:

attachment.php?attachmentid=183575&d=1282345210

Kevin's parents seem more concerned with new technology and material items then they are of him. His only escape is his own mind, as he daydreams up crazy adventures. Somehow this adventure is a bit different, as it feels real. It is?? A band of little men accidentally crash into his bedroom making a bit of an error on the map of 'time' that they have just stolen from The Supreme Being (aka god). They decide to put the map to good use, stealing historical items and riches from many different famous leaders and periods throughout time. Of course they are being tracked by The Evil Genius (aka Devil), played brilliantly by David Warner in a show stopping performance, as well as The Supreme Being. On the time traveling crime spree boys visit Napoleon (Ian Holm), a hilarious Robin Hood played pitch perfect by John Cleese and a King Agamemnon (Sean Connery). Of course this all culminates with a show down between the Time bandits, The Supreme Being and The Evil Genius.

As a kid growing up in the 80's I was more drawn to silly comedies (think Police Academy) and soaked up any brand of horror possible (the 80's were great for horror). I tried out the fantasy stuff like Legend, Neverending Story and yes, 'Time Bandits'. None of them made a big impact on me and I seemed to shun that genre as a kid. I watched all the Monty Python stuff when I was too young to get most of it, and am only now re-visiting its individual brand of humor. Now this all leads to Terry Gilliam (Twelve Monkeys, Brazil). He Produced, Directed, Co-wrote and worked with a few of the Monty Python guys on this film. I am pretty up to date on him, having reviewed The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus and watched The Adventures of Baron Münchhausen within the last 6 months. 'Time Bandits' was my favorite and the most fun of them.

I did a little research on the movie, and fund it humorous how many people were trying to analyze the meaning's behind everything from its theological angle, it's time travel theory and it's historical inaccuracies. Get over it folks, its a kids adventure/fantasy that is without a doubt smarter than most in its genre. The most I got out if it was a slight anti-technology stance that seems silly given Terry Gilliam's praise of CG in his included interview.

I really had a blast with 'Time Bandits' and despite a terrible transfer I will watch it again sooner rather than later. Of course this time, I will have a child with me...I would love to see their reaction in these days of fast paced editing, Hanna/Montana and CGI spectacles. I have a feeling that its a bit too long for todays little guys, though I certainly hope I am wrong! 'Time Bandits' best quality is the line it rides between and adult and kids flick. Not treating either group as stupid and respecting both, while having the ability to take all age groups on a silly, fun and fantastical journey!




Parental Guide:

Rated PG for mild violence, peril and adult themes.






AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**


(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

Audio: 76



  • Dynamics: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373694

  • Low frequency extension: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373698

  • Surround Sound presentation: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373697

  • Clarity/Detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697

  • Dialogue Reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373697


Video: 68



  • Resolution/Clarity: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373697

  • Black level/Shadow detail: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373699

  • Color reproduction: attachment.php?attachmentid=109945&d=1210373698

  • Fleshtones: attachment.php?attachmentid=109946&d=1210373698

  • Compression: attachment.php?attachmentid=109944&d=1210373696

'Time Bandits' comes to Blu-ray Disc from Image Entertainment featuring 1080i AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 17.5 Mbps and DTS-HD MA 5.1 sound that has an average bitrate of 3.9 Mbps.

Image Entertainment's release of 'Time Bandits' features a lackluster 1.78:1 1080i transfer. Colors seem a bit dull for what Mr. Gilliam intended (but who know what he intended? ) but do look natural, and I assume he wouldn't approve of this soft and under defined high definition transfer. It just looks like there was some DNR applied to this baby. Flesh-tones tend to have a pasty quality and a bit of a red tone. This film is in real need of a re-master; too many pops and speckles rearing their ugly heads all over this print. Things look especially brutal whenever there are effect shots, those frames seem to need the most attention. They are grainy and noisy to an ugly extreme and are really tainted with all sorts of artifacts. Black levels are sufficient but do cave-in at times, and shadow details do have a tendency to be a bit crushed. Yes there are moments where the picture does look nice, especially on still shots that are bright and have close-ups, and for all its faults its still a watchable release.

The DTS-HD MA track is not going to blow any minds. It sure could have used a wee bit more LFE. The mix was nicely prioritized in the front-sound stage and the surround sound experience was better than I had expected. There was some nice crisp and defined sounds like when the Time Bandits are walking through the landscape of rocks outside the fortress of ultimate darkness or the clattering bag of gold and goods stolen from Napoleon. The main issue was there were times were all the sounds seemed to get muddled together and lost their space in the sound-stage, and the mix had an inconsistent level with dialogue. Also, at times the high end seemed a bit too hot. What stood out as a positive was a nice bit of dynamics that startled me (in a good) way on a few occasions. I assume this is the best 'Time Bandits' has sounded on home video. Better than the video, yes, top-notch, no.

attachment.php?attachmentid=183572&d=1282344866


Bonus Features:


  • Terry Gilliam Interview

  • Theatrical trailer


Final Thoughts:

Image Entertainment's Blu-ray release of Terry Gilliam's 'Time Bandits' is a bit of a disappoint. Such a fun and visual film could use, and does deserve a bit more care and respect if you are releasing in a format that is capable of so much more than this master can give. Unfortunalty only 2 extras are included, thankfully the Terry Gilliam interview is an educational and rewarding watch. I say hold on to your DVD unless you are an über fan. Yes it is a step above a DVD but not enough to warrant blowing your hard earned bucks. I really doubt your little guys will notice the transfers faults while they are being whisked all over time! A rental is the best choice if you are inclined to give 'Time Bandits' a spin.





attachment.php?attachmentid=157497&d=1257542613







Lee Weber
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews




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post #2 of 19 Old 08-23-2010, 10:18 AM
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This is a great example of Gillam's style, packaged inside of a kid's adventure movie. I picked up more of a "war is bad" message than "technology is bad", but to each his own.
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post #3 of 19 Old 08-23-2010, 01:54 PM
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I'd still score this higher than 3.5 but at least you're making up for giving escape from new york a lowly 2 and a half.

"For small creatures such as we the vastness is bearable only through love."

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post #4 of 19 Old 08-23-2010, 10:07 PM
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I've never heard of this movie (a bit before my time) but just after reading the synopsis I feel I must watch it. Little people, time travel, and a crime spree? How can I lose?

Thank you Lee, for bringing this to my attention.
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post #5 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 12:20 AM
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Early Gilliam films didn't look great on first release. The noisy reel changes in Time Bandits go all the way back to the first home video releases, if not the theatrical run. Color was also not all that spectacular on original theatrical release. I remember Brazil having a particularly bad sound mix in theaters. I think they remixed it for surround when it went to laserdisc. These films put their emphasis in different places than polished image quality.
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post #6 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 05:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sworth View Post

Early Gilliam films didn't look great on first release. The noisy reel changes in Time Bandits go all the way back to the first home video releases, if not the theatrical run. Color was also not all that spectacular on original theatrical release. I remember Brazil having a particularly bad sound mix in theaters. I think they remixed it for surround when it went to laserdisc. These films put their emphasis in different places than polished image quality.


Then why film it at all? Just pass out the screenplay or write a book.
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post #7 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 06:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sworth View Post

Early Gilliam films didn't look great on first release. The noisy reel changes in Time Bandits go all the way back to the first home video releases, if not the theatrical run. Color was also not all that spectacular on original theatrical release. I remember Brazil having a particularly bad sound mix in theaters. I think they remixed it for surround when it went to laserdisc. These films put their emphasis in different places than polished image quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Then why film it at all? Just pass out the screenplay or write a book.

A bit of revisionism there. Read up on the true history of these films and you'll see that there were huge battles with the studios over editing and final approval. Budget crises and a variety of other issues. It's a miracle they got released at all. Any technical shortcomings are not the result of low priorities.
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post #8 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 06:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

A bit of revisionism there. Read up on the true history of these films and you'll see that there were huge battles with the studios over editing and final approval. Budget crises and a variety of other issues. It's a miracle they got released at all. Any technical shortcomings are not the result of low priorities.

I was being sarcastic. But most of the issues I saw in this Blu-ray could have been remedied with a bit of love and attention. The clicks, pops and over compression could have been handled.
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post #9 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

I was being sarcastic. But most of the issues I saw in this Blu-ray could have been remedied with a bit of love and attention. The clicks, pops and over compression could have been handled.

I've never had much good to say about Image releases. They were, after all, the company that years ago was using VHS masters to release DVDs. "cheap" is the term that comes to mind. In their defense, they do manage to release some stuff that nobody else is releasing.
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post #10 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 08:05 AM
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I have to say Gillam's films kinda creeped me out when I saw them as a kid. A couple of them still do (I wish I could unwatch what I saw of Tideland). Still, they are always very visual. It is a shame the BR doesn't improve much.
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post #11 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 08:26 AM
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I watched Time Bandits at the theater when it came out and didn't like it, the only scene I thought was funny was "I must have fruit". I'm waiting for The Meaning of Life and Brazil to come out on Blu-ray.

It's sad that they release poor quality Blu-ray's, I hope they do justice for the rest of Gilliam's work.
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post #12 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 09:25 AM
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I loved this film when I was a kid. I remember watching it on tv and I recorded it, since I was the only one in the house that new how to use the VCR. Anyway I must have seen that movie 50 times and will absolutely buy it on blu-ray. Can't wait to watch it with my sons.
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post #13 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 10:16 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rdgrimes View Post

I've never had much good to say about Image releases. They were, after all, the company that years ago was using VHS masters to release DVDs. "cheap" is the term that comes to mind. In their defense, they do manage to release some stuff that nobody else is releasing.

I have seen some gorgeous stuff by them as well. I think it is source dependent and they don't do any mastering/re-mastering.


Quote:
Originally Posted by ericgarvin View Post

I loved this film when I was a kid. I remember watching it on tv and I recorded it, since I was the only one in the house that new how to use the VCR. Anyway I must have seen that movie 50 times and will absolutely buy it on blu-ray. Can't wait to watch it with my sons.

Thats the spirit!
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lee Weber View Post

Then why film it at all? Just pass out the screenplay or write a book.

Lack of surface polish doesn't mean that there's nothing going on at all. A little bit of grain, some reel change marks and some flat sound mixing doesn't make a film bad. Time Bandits has ideas to spare and that's what really counts. It's just that some movies just won't be that much better on bluray.
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post #15 of 19 Old 08-24-2010, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sworth View Post

Early Gilliam films didn't look great on first release. ...Color was also not all that spectacular on original theatrical release. ...These films put their emphasis in different places than polished image quality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sworth View Post

Lack of surface polish doesn't mean that there's nothing going on at all. A little bit of grain, some reel change marks and some flat sound mixing doesn't make a film bad. Time Bandits has ideas to spare and that's what really counts. It's just that some movies just won't be that much better on bluray.

Those are 2 different stories. At first you sound like its the artist not caring at all about video quality.

And this could have been much better if someone cleaned up the master, trust me. Have you even seen this release?
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post #16 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 06:03 AM
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Watched a rental copy. I agree with the assessment it's been scrubbed, waxy faces and all. But over-all I thought it was a much bigger improvement over the DVD than I expected. I'll prolly grab a used copy when they get down to about $5.
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post #17 of 19 Old 08-25-2010, 04:17 PM
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I have to say I was really excited to see this on Blu-Ray, but this quickly turned to sadness when I read about it being a poor 1080i transfer on a single layer disc. I guess I'll be importing the UK version instead. While the UK disc doesn't have a lossless surround track (just a standard 5.1), it does have a lossless stereo track, is 1080P, is presented on a dual layer disc (so the video bitrate is 31.99 Mbps instead of 19.99 Mbps!) and by all accounts has a much nicer looking print. Bummer!
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post #18 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 12:56 AM
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A lot of poster seem to be taking offense as if the 3.5 is a judgment of the film. Mr. Weber is (primarily) reviewing the Blu Ray transfer of the film. I'd rather a petition to get this properly remastered than a petition to have Mr. Weber "improve" his rating
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post #19 of 19 Old 08-27-2010, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jeffhmason View Post

I have to say I was really excited to see this on Blu-Ray, but this quickly turned to sadness when I read about it being a poor 1080i transfer on a single layer disc. I guess I'll be importing the UK version instead. While the UK disc doesn't have a lossless surround track (just a standard 5.1), it does have a lossless stereo track, is 1080P, is presented on a dual layer disc (so the video bitrate is 31.99 Mbps instead of 19.99 Mbps!) and by all accounts has a much nicer looking print. Bummer!

The UK version has obvious red push and looks like it had more digital enhancement. Image looks much more natural and no digital cleanup work was done (so it comes w/ warts and all).

If you have a player that can do 1080i film deinterlacing w/o res loss or artifacting (i.e. oppo bdp-83, panasonic dmp-bdt350, etc) the US version will likely look best. If you have something poor at deinterlacing like a PS3 or Magnavox player the UK version will look better.
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