Time Bandits is a delightfully inventive children’s fantasy about young Kevin (Craig Warnock) who finds himself travelling through holes in the space-time continuum in the company of half a dozen fractious dwarfs.
Along the way, he encounters Agamemnon (Sean Connery), Robin Hood (John Cleese), Napoleon (Ian Holm) and winds up as a passenger on the Titanic, although not necessarily in that order. But is this just random entertainment laid on for history fan Kevin’s benefit, or part of a wider struggle between the forces of good (Ralph Richardson) and evil (David Warner)?
Terry Gilliam films are like very good friends that I’ve had for many many years. Being a huge Monty Python fan from a young age, the wit and sense of humour contained in their work has never failed to make me smile and I always find comfort in watching them. Time Bandits is certainly at the top of Gilliam’s films for me (so much that I got my original DVD signed by Terry Gilliam and David Warner) because of its sharp witty script and ability to tickle the funny bone. Featuring some great support from the Monty Python team themselves, Time Bandits is a wonderful nostalgic trip into British Humour.
(Please note that the images supplied with this review are from the press release and do not reflect the quality of the disc itself)
Time Bandits is presented on a BD50 disc with a MPEG4-AVC 1080/24p codec that preserves the film’s original 1.85:1 aspect ratio. Arrow have gone the extra mile with this release and have given the film a brand new 2K restoration (sourced from the original camera negative) which was supervised by Terry Gilliam himself. There have been a few Blu-ray releases from different companies in the past but it’s safe to say that Arrow’s release has just wiped the floor with them. Giving the film a natural filmic look, the film has a natural layer of grain throughout which improves sharpness and detail. Colours are nicely balanced and no bleeding or over saturation is present which displays a nice vibrancy to the film’s rather zany production design. Blacks seem to be a tad too bright for my personal taste but this doesn’t affect the overall quality.
Time Bandits is presented with two audio mixes on Blu-ray. An English DTS-MA 5.1 (remixed) and the original stereo audio mix preserved as a LPCM 2.0 track. Flicking between the two tracks at certain parts of the film, the DTS-MA 5.1 mix is a solid effort but tends to make the film’s sound effects less dynamic and a bit on the tinny side. Dialogue can be a bit restricted sometimes as well. Surround activity though is rather good and certainly gives the film a bit more atmosphere. This doesn’t seem to be because of the DTS-MA encoding itself but more of the source audio stems so there is limited material to work with. The LPCM 2.0 tracks sounds a bit better on the front soundstage but lacks the atmospheric effects that the 5.1 remix pulled off so well. Both tracks do have merits and downfalls so it would be a choice of personal taste. The disc also carries optional English SDH subtitles
Chasing Time Bandits: A new interview with Terry Gilliam (20m07s) – A sit down interview with director Terry Gilliam as he discusses the idea behind Time Bandits, working with the cast and some behind the scenes stories . Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio.
Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name: Michael Palin on writing Time Bandits (16m05s) – a sit down interview with Michael Palin as he discusses the origins of Time Bandits, creating the characters and gives some behind the scenes stories. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
The Effects of Time Bandits: An interview with Kent Houston (15m28s) – Kent Huston discusses the work that went into the film;s optical and special effects. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 Audio
Playing Evil: David Warner (08m43s) – A sit down interview with actor David Warner as he discusses reading the inital script and why he accepted the role, his experiences making the film and on set stories. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
The Costumes of Time Bandits: An new interview with James Acheson (13m21s) – A sit down interview with Costume designer James Acheson who shares some original concept sketches and his experiences making Time Bandits. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio. (Note: I did notice that the audio was slightly out of sync in this segment)
The Look of Time Bandits: An interview with Milly Burns (10m43s) – A sit down interview with production designer Milly Burns who discusses the work she did on Time Bandits including set design and building, working with Terry Gilliam and some behinds the scenes experiences. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
From Script to Screen (08m33s) – A slide show with running commentary by Milly Burns who shares her production notebooks, various locations photographs and storyboards which shows how much work went into the set design. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
Original Trailer (03m09s) – The film’s rather humorous theatrical trailer. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
Restoration Demonstration (02m43s) – Arrow Video provides a brief step by step process to how Time Bandits was restored for it’s Blu-ray release and shows comparisons between the original camera negative, raw 2K scan and digitally regraded and restored footage with commentary by James White at deluxe Restoration. Presented in 1080/24p with Dolby Digital 2.0 audio
Time Bandits has finally being given a home video release worthy of anyone’s collection. With the restoration being personally overseen by Terry Gilliam himself, Arrow have treated this classic British film with the respect that it needed and provided fans with a wealth of new bonus features.
Time Bandits is available in two formats. A regular Blu-ray edition with reversible covers and a limited edition Steelbook edition