Monday, March 03, 2014

At Least They Brought A Map

A friend was horrified to learn I had never seen Time Bandits. So we watched Time Bandits. It went better than that time Alex tried to make me watch Goonies.

If you're no more familiar with the movie than I was, a quick summary: A young English boy named Kevin, with a strong imagination and interest in history, is awoken one night by a horse-riding knight bursting from his wardrobe and then exiting through a wall. But there's no sign of him, or any damage. So the next night, Kevin resolves to stay awake and take a picture of the knight. Instead of the knight, a group of little men emerge. These little men, led by Randall, work for the Supreme Being, but feel unappreciated. Thus, the stole a map of the universe, one which details where all the holes are - the universe was a bit of a rush job, you understand - which they plan to use to travel time and rob history blind. The arrival of an irate Supreme Being leads to a hasty retreat, and Kevin gets dragged along. All the while, they're being observed by Evil (played by David Warner), who is trapped within his Castle of Ultimate (Impenetrable? Something) Darkness, and wants the map so he can escape and use it to create a proper universe, based on technology, with no silly useless things like slugs around.

It's all very silly. It mostly feels like an excuse to do some brief comedy sketches before hopping to the next setting. Here they are gaining Napoleon's (Ian Holm) favor, so they can rob him. Here they are having a less than satisfactory meeting with Robin Hood (John Cleese). That being said, the movie slows down enough at times to allow for some genuine emotional content. Kevin's stint with Agammenon, for one. There's enough squabbling amongst the would-be bandits that they all get at least a few character traits, even if those traits are simple things such as "tries to eat everything". But the bickering allows for enough interplay to show they have a certain level of camaraderie, and that's lends some emotional punch to the proceedings.

I didn't laugh out loud often, but I was mostly amused, and always entertained. The costuming and set designs were nifty, and the climactic battle with Evil was cleverly done. Evil showed off a bit, got flashy with how it handled their attacks, which is the kind of condescending thing you expect from a preening villain who's sure he has everything under control.

No comments: