Director: Terry Gilliam
Cast: Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, John Cleese
Release Date: Now Available on Criterion Collection Blu-Ray & DVD
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 9/10
Disc Rating: 10/10
A young boy accidentally joins a band of dwarfs as they jump from era to era looking for treasure to steal.
Get ready to experience Terry Gilliam’s timeless masterpiece ‘Time Bandits’ like you never have before as it arrives home on Blu-Ray from The Criterion Collection. The magical tale joins young Kevin, a normal boy with a tedious life who while in bed one night is attacked in his bedroom by a group of time traveling dwarfs who have somehow ended up in his room. Kevin unintentionally joins the group on their journey throughout all of time and space as they try to avoid the watchful eye of their ex-employer, the Supreme Being who they have stolen a map of time and space from. Yet unbeknownst to them as they jump from one place in time to the next plundering riches in their attempt to become international thieves, an Evil Genius has his own plans for them and is watching and casually persuading them to his own dastardly purpose.
‘Time Bandits’ arrives home on Blu-Ray once again, this time given the Criterion treatment, featuring a newly created digital transfer of the film approved by director Terry Gilliam in addition to a new remastered lossless stereo soundtrack which both deliver absolutely breathtaking high definition video and audio presentations for the film. In addition to the most pristine video and audio quality you’re bound to find in existence for this classic piece of cinema, the Criterion Collection Blu-Ray also includes an impressive collection of supplemental material including audio commentary with Terry Gilliam along with others, numerous behind the scenes featurette’s, interviews and more (detailed information regarding the bonus content can be found in the special features section of the technical specification coverage below). All of these elements combined result in what is surely the best release of Gilliam’s masterpiece to date and also without question the version fans will want to make sure is included in their collections.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release of ‘Time Bandits’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation representing the film’s original 1.85:1 Aspect Ratio. The following is a quote from inside the releases’ included booklet regarding the video transfer for those who would prefer some additional details:
Supervised by director Terry Gilliam, this new digital transfer was created in 2K resolution on an ARRISCAN film scanner from the original camera negative. The restoration was overseen by Arrow Video and performed by Deluxe Digital Cinema in London. Thousands of instances of dirt, debris, scratches, splices, warps, jitter, and flicker were manually removed using MTI’s DRS.
The high definition video presentation looks absolutely fantastic, another truly impressive transfer from Criterion that provides this film both its most beautiful video representation yet and what I assume is also its truest representation to date, with Terry Gilliam himself helping supervise the new 2K transfer. The colors are sharp, bright and smooth, all of the action phenomenally detailed and clear, while still retaining that grain and feel of the early 80’s time in which it was made. No notable faults could be found within on my end and I think fans of Terry Gilliam’s early masterpiece will be absolutely thrilled with this high definition video presentation.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release includes a Lossless Linear PCM stereo soundtrack. As with the video details above, the following is a quote from inside the releases’ included booklet regarding the audio transfer for those who would prefer some additional details:
The original soundtrack was remastered at 24-bit from the original 35mm magnetic track.
This lossless stereo soundtrack sounds absolutely wonderful overall. It delivers crystal clear, detailed dialogue, sound effects, in addition to all of the other more miniscule noises occurring throughout the film at any given time. It also allows the movies beautiful score to truly shine and action elements to hit hard, while never detracting from the audibility of the dialogue at any time. As with the video presentation, this lossless stereo soundtrack definitely gets top marks and should leave the fans more than satisfied.
The Criterion Collection Blu-Ray release of ‘Time Bandits’ of course also includes an impressive collection of entertaining, informative and worthwhile bonus content. The Blu-Ray release includes a new piece titled ‘Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits’ which is narrated by film writer David Morgan and features Milly Burns (Production Designer) and James Acheson (Costume Designer) discussing what went into creating the various historical periods and fantasy worlds featured in the film; it runs approximately 22 minutes. Also included is an audio commentary track featuring director Terry Gilliam, co-screenwriter/actor Michael Palin and actors John Cleese, David Warner and Craig Warnock, as well as a conversation between director Terry Gilliam and film scholar Peter von Bagh which was recorded in 1998 and runs just short of 80 minutes; plus an interview with Shelley Duvall from 1981 featured on NBC’s Tomorrow show, a Behind The Scenes Still Gallery and the theatrical trailer. In addition to this already very solid collection of bonus content, we are also treated to an included booklet, this time in the form an unfolding poster, but more specifically, a map (two guesses what map) which also includes an essay by critic David Sterritt.
*Please note that the above images are taken from the Blu-Ray and resized. They additionally will suffer quality loss as a result of .jpg compression. Larger versions of each image can be viewed by clicking on the image. All images and content included on this Blu-Ray release are the property of their respective owners.