My “reviews” are pretty much me doing a scene by scene run through of the movie which is sometimes long and sometimes short depending on, well depending on if it’s a bag of shit, semi decent or good – you get the point. These “reviews” fall onto the page pretty much how the words would fall from my mouth. It’s not pretty but hopefully its entertaining and if it’s gets at least one chuckle or a smile then I’ve achieved what I set out to do here.
Time Bandits is a journey through time and space. It follows a young lad called Kevin played by Craig Warnock and a gang of bandits consisting of these colourful characters – Randall played by David Rappaport, Fidget played by Kenny Baker, Malcolm Dixon as Strutter, Mike Edmonds as Og, Jack Purvis as Wally and Tiny Ross as Vermin – as they try to pilfer their way through the universe using a map that can be used to access anywhere you can imagine and at any time!! The boys are constantly pursued by The Supreme Being played by Ralph Richardson who desperately wants his map back and manipulated by The Evil One given life by David Warner who wants to use the map to rule the universe. Now this cinematic gem was spawned from the mind of Terry Gilliam of Monty Python fame so you know this will be all kinds of fucked up with a smattering of comedy. The cast as you might imagine contains a few of the Pythons and includes the likes of Ian Holm, Michael Palin, John Cleese and Scottish man god Sean Connery! Yes that Sean Connery!! Will they survive? Will they get their riches?? Is Kevin a homicidal serial killer??? Lets dive into it!!
The movie opens with some amazing 80s synth as we zoom in on a planet earth and a small estate. Into a families living room mum and dad are sat on plastic wrapped sofas while discussing a new advert for some fucking space age kitchen that cooks and cleans and is fully automated – sounds dangerous if you ask me, I mean has anyone watched Maximum Overdrive? Yes? No? Just saying is all. Their son, Kevin is, perched on a stool tells his dad a fun fact about how ancient Greeks got trained in 44 different ways to kill a man with 24 of those on how to kill a man bare hands!! – what the fuck? Kevin! What the actual fuck dude? Why are they letting this kid read this stuff?? An alarm sounds indicating that its the boys bed time. Off he goes the homicidal little fucker, no doubt to dream about snapping blokes necks. In the background game show comes on the TV called Your Money or your Life!! Where the hell are we? What messed up universe is this I hear you wail!! Well strap in because shit is about to go, batshit crazy!!
In bed and still reading Kev is told to turn his light off and he drifts off to sleep. At some ungodly time of the nigh Kevin is awoken by strange noises. Seeing his wardrobe door rattle he sits up a little when – SMASH- a fully armoured knight bursts into his room from out of nowhere!! Cowering under his covers big man Kev waits and then just as quick as it appeared the knight rides off into a forest and – POOF – vanished! Checking his wall the boy finds nothing wrong but does recognise the Knight in a picture he has on said wall – how very odd dear readers, how very odd indeed……
The next day Kevin’s folks are talking about some appliance disaster someone has had that they know. Kev tell mum and dad he wants to go to bed early tonight. They tell him no because he has to wait for his food to go down – I do remember similar things being said when I was a nipper and you know you can’t make this shit up! Back to the movie -Your money or your life is playing on TV again. Kev dressed like he is off out to burgle your nans house and get your cat pregnant stuffs a torch up his jacket and heads up to bed…. finally.
Sat in the dark Polaroid camera at the ready he waits…….
Out of the blue one of his toys starts beeping. Flashing the light over his the bedroom floor we see scattered Knights and army men along with a chess board, lego and robots.
Yawning the lightweight starts to drift off. The wardrobe starts to rattle again and this time a bunch of oddly dressed “little people” emerge. They look like strippers that have escaped Tina Turners Thunderdome strip club – seriously it’s a genuine look!. Startled awake Kev hits them with the blinding light of his torch. Spooked they scatter believing they had been caught by “HIM” realising it’s just a kid the jump on Kev and try to get him to tell them where the “exit” is. Puzzled Kev tells them he doesn’t know. Shoving Kev against the wall it starts to slide inwards just as a disembodied head appears and begins floating towards them chasing the group and telling them to return the map as it will bring them great danger. The wall vanishes and the group falls into the blackness of the abyss.
A back square slides open in the blue sky and our rag tag band of thieves fall through it landing in a barn. The mini blaggers tell Kev the head was the Supreme Being and that he is probably still after them. Kev weighs up his options and makes a run for it – right into the fucking French army – it’s the half pint general Napoleon and he is sacking Castiglione. Catching up with Kevin and sensing an opportunity the little bandits scan the map and deduce they need to get into the castle. Using the river they make their way inside while carnage reigns all around. Curious Kev wants to know whats going on – “We are here to do a robbery” – he is told. We cut to big boy Napoleon watching a Punch and Judy show and he laughing his tits off!! Trying to surrender, the mayor of Castiglione is pied off by the tiny French general.
Our team of robbers file onto the stage and start preforming a song and dance routine to Me and My Shadow but this ends up with them arguing and fighting with each other. Pissing himself laughing Nappo loves idea of little things hitting each other. So amused is he that Napoleon goes backstage invites them to become new generals of his army much to the disappointment of his current generals. Surrounded by works of art and jewels the NEW generals wait for Napoloen to pass out drunk.
Once the piss head is out the robbing fucks spring into action and as the “time hole” will disappear at midnight and they are now on the clock and pressed for time! Stripping Napoloen of is valuables including a solid gold right hand – is this why he kept it tucked away? Thoughts? The gang make their escape with the whole rooms worth of loot bundled up in the table cloth. Outside and rumbled they make a run for the time hole and vanish leaving the pursuing guards in a pile.
We jump to what appears to be medieval times and a couple in a carriage are discussing their love for each other among other things – this becomes a running joke through out the movie. About to kiss they are dropped in on by our gang of thieves. The carriage now upturned the two nobles make a run for it. Randell tells the guys they are 500 years before the man they just robbed is born. Letting slip that was the first time they have done a raid. Kev is a bit shocked but accepts the offer of a place in the gang! Randell tells Kev they used to work for the Supreme Being and helped him make the universe after which they got the sack and so, as fucked off redundant worker would, they decided to fuck over their employer and steal his map which allows them to travel anywhere in time and space – the universe being made in only 7 days has holes you see which the gang worked out they could use to go anywhere they wanted and loot the sweet blue balled jesus out of any place they went. – serves the twat right if you ask me.
The gang hear cries for help and it looks like the escaping nobles are getting robbed and have been tied to a tree – running past the couple the lads fall into a trap and end up upside down dangling from a tree. After a bit of banter which consists of Randell making pirate noises and confirming he would steal candy from babies and slap nuns around – maybe not that last one – he gets the robbers to let them down. Randell tells them he wants to meet their boss. Now all these robbers look as rough as badgers arseholes by they way. They look so scrutty I wouldn’t think a rat would piss on them. Awaiting the Leader of the robbers the gang can only imagine what horror will appear before them – in saunters Robin Hood clean in a crisp green outfit and speaking very good “posh” English. This is classic comedy 101! And the contrast works very well here!!! Taking their loot as a donation Robin hands out our gangs ill gotten gains to the poor with each peasant getting some gold and a punch in the face off one of Robin’s crew. Fucked off our boys bail.
Lightning splits the sky and our lads are caught in a down pour! Arguing again the boys start fighting! Que the ominous music as a clawed hand splashes a cauldron of water! Who is this badly manicured fiend? The cauldron/vat is being use to spy on our luckless tit heads as the fumble about in the mud! Now we get our first look at the main villain of the piece “The Evil One” showing his power he makes a questioning minion explode with a wave of his hand while others stand around the pipes and dials of what looks like some fucking bizarre off shoot of Freddy Krugers dining room. The Evil One give a speech of how evil was around long before good and that nobody “created” him – another dumb minion pipes up asking how, if he is all powerful, why has he not managed to escape the fortress? BOOOM and this quizzical lacky is blown to rags! Evil wants the map. He bangs on about nipples for men and slugs are what the Supreme being created and how he should have started with technology – ahhhh can we see this linking with the start of the movie and all that evil tech? Evil wants technology to reign!! Seeing the map he hatches a plan to get his gnarly hands on it.
Taking control over the mind of one of the gang while they argue, Evil uses the witless fool to suggest the boys chase one ultimate prize! Kev jumps in and has a go at them asking why they have to go after money all the time, this breaks the Evils ones connection putting big Kev on the bad guys radar!
Oh for the love of all sticky floored nightclubs around the world what is this fresh hell? It looks like some pillock has gone mental with a nightclubs smoke machine! No wait! It’s the floating head again – our boys have been rumbled – again!!! Is there no escape?
Two time holes appear causing Kev to pause. Panicked he asks Randell which to go through. Shitting bricks Randell tells Kev to just get away – Kev jumps through the closest hole just as Rando shouts “Not that one!” nice timing there, Randell you utter nonce!
BOOM! a club hits a shield and we are drawn into a fight between a Greek Warroir and a giant dude with a bulls head mask – Kev will no doubt be hiding a stiffy as this is his wet dream the little psycho!!! – getting knocked to the floor it looks like the end for our Greek but not today because out of thin air Kev falls from the sky distracting the bull dude long enough to give our Greek the opening he needs to slay the fucker. Thanking Kev the Greek removes his helmet and it’s only fucking James Bond Sean Connery!!! He invites Kev back to his palace to share in the victory. Kev tells him sorry he can not as he needs to wait for his friends. Leaving him water the Greek bids Kev good luck and starts to ride off. Weighing up his situation Kev decides he is going to bin off his new friends and runs after Mr Connery!
Our Greek Warrior receives a heroes welcome as he makes his way through the streets. Kev shares the adulations with his crush King Agamemnon! Over the rest of the day Kev and the King do some bonding over a simple magic trick. Later while taking picture of the locals – and not getting pestered to buy stuff off them, I know, right? – Kev tells the King he never wants to go back. Agamemnon asks Kev if he would miss his friends or family to which Kevin replies with a solid no. Waking from a sleep Kev is apparently kidnapped and led blindfolded through the streets and gets placed on a horse. Riding it into a crowed room Kev is led before the king who takes him to be his own son and next in line for the throne. A huge roasted cow is brought in to start the feast. Masked and costumed dancers enter much to the amazement of Kev it turns out to be the rest of the gang. They have come for Kev but he doesn’t want to go because he feels he has found the father figure he never had. Dragged on stage and into a covered time hole the guys disappear leaving the king to wonder where his new son has gone.
A fog horn blasts! We are on a ship and the couple from the carriage are here again professing their love! Our gang drops in on them yet again ruining another moment in time for the lovers. Not only do they rob you they also put out a solid cock block!!! Lapping up the luxury the lads are enjoying the extravagance. Randell trys to cheer Kevin up but Kev has a go at him about how they are not using it – the map – for anything good and that is just wasting it’s potential . Randell isn’t listening as he tells Kev that on the map is a place called The Time of Legends and in that place is the Tower of Darkness which houses the most wonderful object in the universe – I know what your thinking – TOWER OF DARKNESS – if that isn’t a red flag I dunno what is! Telling the waiter to get more champers Randell is all smug. As the watier moves off we see the name of the ship they are on and it’s the Titanic – these boys couldn’t get a break its they fell from a fucking tree!! Randell shouts after the waiter to bring plenty of ice – It’s the small things in this move – yes you twats the pun was intended! Lol
The ship sinks – didn’t see that coming – still arguing and now floating in the ocean the guys abandon their plank to see if they can hit a time hole. Evil is watching them flounder around and he begins to swirl his hand in the cauldron causing a whirlpool to suck the gang down using his powers to bring them into The Time of Legends!
Splashing down in a new body of water the lads spy a ship floating through the mist. On the ship is an ogre and his wife. Jesus this ogre is ugly. So ugly in fact that I’m going to refer to him as Rachel for the rest of this review for no reason what so ever………
Rachel’s wife greets him with a chirpy good morning as she grinds away at some kind of potion. Oh yeah, she is surrounded by severed feet hanging from the rafters too. Seems Racheal, the snaggle toothed, horned beast is having back problem, he blames them on getting old! Up and out of his pit he heads out to do some fishing. All the while he is non stop moaning like an old man. Casting the fishing net he catches our luckless thieves and drags them on to the deck! Excited he calls his wife. She tells Rach to scare the guys!
Getting a reaction from the terrified heroes he gets carried away with himself jumping about the place roaring Rachel throws his back out. Kev tells him he knows a cure for bad backs. He tells him he needs a good stretching! Grabbing his arms and legs the lads stretch the foul ogre out and with one last pull they throw him over the side into the sea. Sensing something amiss the wife comes up on deck only to end up in the water too. Chuffed he can cough again the ogre lets rip filling the sails with his stinking breath and the ship speeds away.
The new crew are trying to get a feeling of where they are. Suddenly the ship starts rocking and creaking violently! On deck the guys realise something is very wrong…….
Cutting the water like a leviathan sized Brit on holiday in Spain a bald head rises menacingly from the ocean revealing a body covered in tattoos. It’s a giant! and the boat is his new hat!! The gang run and hide below decks. Again like the proverbial Brit the giant gives zero fucks about the locals and crushes a house with one massive foot!!
As this giant yob strides across the land the gang pull up planks and try to attack the giants bare dome from the top with hammers and their fists. Failing at using brute force they decide to use a concoction of drugs – yeah this was Kevs idea, told you he was shady – and inject them into the top of the big fellas head. Feeling the effects of this wicked mix the giant sits down and putting his new hat to one side he falls asleep. The lads escape but is this a good thing? Lets see shall we!
Walking for what seems like an age the gang trek across a barren desert with the only features in sight being the bones of dead animals. Randell assures the guys they are almost there just as they walk into a invisible barrier with the fortress of ultimate darkness laying in wait for them on the other side – according to the map. Unconvinced the start arguing – AGAIN – this descends into Randell threatening to smash a human skull of the head of one of the crew. Throwing the skull it hits and shatters the barrier revealing the fortress in all its towering glory!
The Evil One gets ready to spring his trap as the gang enter the gates of this huge tower.
The lights go out and the gameshow host from the tv – you remember him, yeah – appears congratulating them on winning the ultimate prize. Patting themselves on the back the lads run towards their goal. As the camera zooms out we see they are running along the top of a massive maze!
Not sensing the trap they run on as Kev does his best – he really doesn’t – to stop them but fails. Kev’s mum and dad appear as the hosts assistants. Now shit is getting a bit surreal but if your only thinking this now then the end of the movie will be your WTF moment, trust me. Finally reaching the steps the host asks for the map and as it gets handed over the host transforms into the Evil one – oh shock, oh horror. A cage drops on the boys and they are trapped. Laughing the Evil fella chuckles and tells them how he has the map he will begin his rule tomorrow! Why is it always tomorrow with these guys? I never got that. You would think yeah I’m gonna cause some fuckery now!!
Lamenting their failure Kev flicks through his prevy polaroid photos when he comes across a picture of the gang with the map. Using the photo to analyse the map they realise they can escape because there is a time hole below them that can lead anywhere. Breaking out and climbing to the top of the cage the lads cuts strands from the rope holding the cage up and created their own rope which they use to lower one of their team out into the bottomless abyss so they can swing him to the next cage. Wally and Strutter make it to solid ground. Now with a anchor point they use the rope as a zip line to safety.
Kev wants to go after the map to stop Evil from destroying the world. Using his dead soulless voice Kev talks the gang into helping him. Meanwhile Evil is banging on about how he is going to change things – all the dudes stuff is covered in plastic maybe for the easy wipe nature of the covering??. Evil turns one of his minions into a dog to guard the map, oh ok I see what he did there. Sneaking into the “throne room” the little thieves use a leg bone to distract the dog and get back the map. Discovering the gang Evil turns one of the guys into a pig headed beast – again I will refer to this beast as Rachel for no reason what so ever…….. – and sends his skeletal gurads after the thieves. Running around in circles the lads finally throw off their pursers. Kev tells the guys to go down the time hole to get help while he and Rachel stay and give Evil the run around. Running into a huge open room the duo are confronted by Evil – the room is made up of things you might remember seeing on Kevs bedroom floor – trapped again!
Evil tries to decide what he is going to do with them! Kev threatens to burn the map if Evil doesn’t call off his lackies. Evil complies by dusting them all!! What a floppy cock he is!! He gets back the map and is about to waste our young serial killer when the lads get back with reinforcements and what an army it is with cowboys, knights, spaceships, tanks basically all of the toys from Kevs room. Making short work of this “toy” army using various inventive attacks – trust me they are fucking bizarre see below if you don’t believe me!
Evil looks to be on the verge of winning when a enormous fire ball engulfs the screen turning Evil to stone!! And who is this saviour????? It’s The Supreme Being!! SHOW ME WHAT YOU GOT!! He starts making things right by turning Rachel back into a human and resurrecting the dead.
The Supreme Being lets the guys know that the map being stolen was all part of his plan to “test his handywork” that handywork being Evil! MIND FUCK!!! He takes back the map and tells they guys he wants every bit of Evil putting in a post box. Kev questions why we have to have Evil and the Supreme Being tells him it has something to do with free will. A chunk of Evil falls away out of sight – nightmare!!
Getting the boys back to work The Supreme Being leaves Kev behind. A yellow mist consumes Kev. Waking in his bed room full of smoke and sirens blaring Kev is confused – well no shit – firefighters break through the door. Outside Kev’s mum is trying to get back in to rescue some of their appliances. Asking if he is ok one of the firefighters is the man, the legend Sean Connery, Kev looks on in wonder and fishing around in his bag he pulls out the photos of his adventures. One of the firemen hauls out a microwave and tells mum and dad that this is what started the fire. Kevs folks can’t remember using it and open the door to reveal the chunk of the Evil one!!! Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!
Kev warns them not to touch it so what do they do??? Yeah you guessed it. The simpletons blow up! Kev left in the wreckage alone the camera zooms out and we see the estate again then earth then the universe finally panning into the map. A pair of tiny hands appear and roll up the map!!! Roll the credits!!!!!!!
I give this movie a score of 6.9/10
Well now that was a fucking ride wasn’t it? Ok, lets have a ramble. Released in 1981 it is now 39 years old. Made for a tiny sum of $5 million it ended up grossing $42.4 million which is extraordinary. The movie was written by Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin both Pythons so we can expect something twisted and well written which this movie is. The running joke of the couple trying to hook up being set it in different time periods makes if funny each time and the chemistry of the Bandits is great you don’t really see them as individuals most of the time but as one collective entity and I believe the casting for the movie called upon the talents of all the “short” – can we say that? or is it still p.c to say dwarfs? – actors working in movies, TV and on stage at the time. As I say they come across brilliant as a group and the few times the focus is on anyone other than Randell the individual acting talent can be seen. Most of the focus is on the leader Randell and the young lad Kevin playing polar opposites to each other with Randell in it for the money at any cost and Kevin bringing morality to the situation and it works really well – mostly. Kev’s acting comes across a little wooden at times which is probably down to the kids age which is a shame. Special effects and set design is amazing and surreal which is to be expected considering the writers of this classic although there are some scenes that let things down for example when the group walk across the bridge to enter the fortress towards the end – watch and you will see what I mean. A different short or even leaving this close up out would have worked better. The rest of it is fantastic from the ogre to the giant and Evil plus his minions. I like the way all the time periods and characters encountered are from Kevin’s room found in either pictures on the wall or toys on the floor there is not better example of this than the final battle. The theme of run away consumerism is prevalent throughout the film and is embodied in the gangs quest for loot, Kev’s parents obsession with the latest gadgets and the gameshow host.
A classic from my childhood and a movie that remains close to my heart but although most of it stands the test of time some of it doesn’t solid themes and a subtle message. Good movie this one so I will say…….
“By Odin’s beard get this movie in your eyes!”
Thanks for reading this one, it was more lengthy then some of my other review so, again, thanks for sticking it out. As usual links are below to the usual sites. Until the next time farewell!! Like and share guys – “SKOL!” in advance!!