Showing posts with label David Rappaport. Show all posts
Showing posts with label David Rappaport. Show all posts

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Time Bandits

Terry Gilliam’s 1981 fantasy film Time Bandits is about a young boy called Kevin (Craig Warnock) who is one night awakened by a gang of time travelling dwarfs who have stolen a map from ‘the Creator’ which they are using to steal treasure. Kevin joins the gang and travels to the middle ages and ancient Greece amongst other times and places and eventually ends up facing off against Evil (David Warner) in a battle of quite literally good vs. evil.

From what I’d read of the plot beforehand I was hoping for a kind of Goonies crossed with Brazil but what I got didn’t live up to either of those films. While Terry Gilliam’s directorial style is all over the film with lavish and unusual sets and costumes and his distinct animation, it lacked the humour of the Python films and the drama and intrigue of the likes of Brazil or 12 Monkeys. The film is obviously aimed at a younger audience than those films and perhaps a younger audience would have enjoyed it more than me.

Craig Warnock, playing the central character of Kevin was really annoying but I liked the gang of dwarfs. They each had their own little eccentricities and quirks and were sometimes amusing. John Cleese has an excellent cameo as Robin Hood in which he channels Prince Philip. His few minutes on screen were very funny. Sean Connery is another with a small cameo, playing King Agamemnon but a version of the King who has a passion for magic. He is fine, but like Cleese is under used. Co-writer Michael Palin has a couple of cameos and his small roles are the funniest of the film.

One of my main problems with the film is that it lacked the laughs you’d expect from a Palin-Gilliam co written piece. There is the odd subtle bit of humour laced here and there but they are few and far between. The film focuses too heavily on the adventure which isn’t actually that interesting. Maybe it isn’t meant to be that funny but I think the film would have been greatly improved had it been so.

There was one moment towards the end which I liked and thought was bold. This came when Kevin asks ‘the Creator’ why so many people had to die in order for him to carry out a little experiment. As an atheist, I liked this little question as it is something I personally would love to ask ‘the Creator’ did it exist. Why cause so much suffering when you don’t need to and can stop it? It’s a nice sly question which might have children watching asking their parents and priests the same thing.  

On the whole the film is fine but lacks excitement and humour. The sets and effects are superb and the cameos good. I just expected a lot more from Gilliam, who is a fantastic film maker.