From Napoleon to sea ogres, Time Bandits has it all as it captures the complete spectrum of child-like wonderment in its tale about international criminals who also happen to be dwarves fleeing from the Supreme Being. Jumping through time loops after having stolen the map of the universe, Time Bandits follows Kevin, an imaginative boy stuck in a dull future created by Terry Gilliam in which your kitchen defines your social status. But Kevin couldn’t care less about kitchens, or the annoying game shows his parents watch every night, Kevin aspires to be a warrior like no other, when suddenly while tucked in bed late one night, a fully-vested white knight on a horse barges in through his closet door and suddenly disappears. Way too curious, Kevin stays up too late the next night and encounters a rag-tag group of dwarves trying to escape from the clutches of God as they race through time and space.
Suddenly Kevin’s in Italy hanging out with Napoleon, he gets to meet to Robin Hood and travel on a boat that attached to the head of a giant. Like any Gilliam film, Time Bandits exudes creativeness and imagination. There really isn’t anything out like Time Bandits out there, a film both entertaining for adults and kids that deals with questions about God while still keeping its playful attitude when dealing with historical figures like Napoleon. Its a perfect balance of tone as it packs both laughs for kids and adults, thrills for everyone and the most charming group of time-travelling dwarves ever put to film. Another great element to this film is the fact that it includes a lot of that Monty Python comedy to it paired with the anything-goes attitude Terry Gilliam brings to a film which prove a delightful combination as we saw in The Holy Grail some years earlier.
Time Bandits is the perfect example of what a kids film should be, stimulating the power of creativity with every scene, never afraid to go a bit darker, implanting important questions in the younglings’ minds, and striking that perfect balance of pure fun for the family. Every set, creature, and idea in this film is of fantastic proportions that might not make sense in any other film but do in this one because of Gilliam’s incredible way of portraying explosive inventiveness. Finding a way to integrate Evil as a character by himself, King Agamemnon, and time warping into the same movie still fascinates me thirty-five years later. Time Bandits might be the best non-animated kids movie ever made, with a perfect grasp on how to showcase imagination on film, an epic story-line that spans light-years and thus gets my approval at an 85 out of 100.