The Review at a Glance: ( max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Hand Made Films - 1981
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 117 minutes
Disc Format: BD-25
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 1.78:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, English Dolby Digital 5.1, French Dolby Digital Stereo
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!"
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.
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!
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)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
'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.
- Terry Gilliam Interview
- Theatrical trailer
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.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS35 1080p High Definition Front Projector (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Custom 1.3 Gain 128" 2.37:1 CinemaScope Screen
Pioneer SC27 Receiver (Calibrated by Jeff Meier)
Pioneer Elite BDP-23FD Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Triangle Zerius Speakers (7.1)
SVS PC13-Ultra Subwoofer