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Time Bandits (Remastered) – Review

time bandits cast

This is the 2nd time Time Bandits has received a Blu Ray release in the UK, the first was by Optimum and now it has a remastered re-release from Arrow.

Terry Gilliam’s inventive fantasy from 1981 has six dwarfs with the help of a special map, travelling through time, accompanied by a little boy (Craig Warnock), and stealing treasures from the likes of Robin Hood (John Cleese),  Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery). All of this lands them in the middle of a battle to retrieve the secret map between Evil (David Warner) and The Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson).

Terry Gilliam’s fantasy adventure is a bit of a hit and miss affair, some of the sections work very well and are extremely funny while others drag and slow the film down a bit. The sets as expected from a director of Gilliam’s artistic talent are amazing given the budget he had to work with. A good fun film, which kids will love and still stands as a bold cinematic venture for the director and is still one of his most successful films.

time bandits blu ray arrowThe film has been released before from Optimum in the UK but this version has been struck from a new 2K master and approved by the director. The 1080p transfer is superb, grain is intact but the clarity and colours make it far superior to the previous release. The sound has two choices,  the original uncompressed PCM stereo 2.0 soundtrack and a DTS Master-HD surround option. Both are clear and serve the film well, the DTS track has been done with subtlety and gives the film a very good surround option.

Extras as ever from arrow are served well by the following:
-Chasing Time Bandits: A new interview with Terry Gilliam. Very interesting as the director tells of his battle to get the film finished, the casting, as well as the arguments about the ending of the film.
-Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name: A new interview in which Michael Palin in which he tells of the co-writing and acting in Time Bandits.
-The Effects of Time Bandits: A new interview in which Kent Houston, founder of the Peerless Camera Company, discusses Time Bandits’ optical effects and how they were achieved.
-Playing Evil: A new interview in which actor David Warner remembers producer George Harrison and playing Evil in the film.
-The Costumes of Time Bandits: A new interview with costume designer James Acheson.
-The Look of Time Bandits: A new interview with production designer Milly Burns.
-From Script to Screen – An interesting new animated featurette in which Milly Burns takes us through her production notebooks, locations photographs and storyboards revealing how twentieth century Morocco was transformed into Ancient Greece.
-Original Theatrical Trailer.
-Restoration Demonstration. Great short film on how the film was restored with the approval of the director.
-Collector’s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver.

Overall a great package, the Blu ray is missing the audio commentary available on other versions because of clearance issues but this is certainly the best the film has ever looked on home format and is recommended for fans of the film. Available in standard version or a limited edition Steelbook.


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