A young boy is whisked from his bed by a motley crew of would be “international criminals” to embark upon an adventure through time.
Time Bandits is like Monty Python’s answer to The Wizard Of Oz, aimed squarely at kids. The rather antiquated special effects highlight its rather limited budget, although Terry Gilliam’s prolific imagination still provides some characterful production design and memorable imagery. Our heroes drop from one historical period to the next on their quest for loot making for an episodic script, but it rarely dwells too long in any one location meaning that although it lacks depth, it also maintains the interest through sheer variety. It also features some memorable cameos from Sean Connery, Ian Holm, Ralph Richardson, John Cleese as a foppish Robin Hood and particularly David Warner as the amusingly camp pantomime villain. The main flaw in Time Bandits is that it isn’t as funny as it ought to be; the humour relies a little too much on the pratfalls and slapstick of its diminutive stars but this is no doubt enough to win over a younger audience.
Time Bandits is certainly a little dated, but still a nice homage to childhood imagination from a consistently inventive director.