Time Bandits (1981)

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Time Bandits (1981)

Postby COTO » Sun Sep 28, 2014 12:26 am

Time Bandits
November 6 1981

HandMade Films
111 minutes

written by Michael Palin & Terry Gilliam
produced and directed by Terry Gilliam

King Agamemnon
Robin Hood
Dame Pansy
Sir Vincent
Supreme Being

Time Bandits Universe
"Return what you have stolen from me! Return the map!
It will bring you great danger. Stop -- now!"
~ Supreme Being

Kevin spends the evening reading about Ancient Greece, while his mother and father sit on their plastic covered chairs watching the smiling host of "Your Money or Your Life", on television wishing they had the various electronic gadgets shown. That night after Kevin goes to bed, a knight on horseback smashes out of his wardrobe, leaps over his bed, and gallops through the green forest on the over side. Kevin quickly ducks under the covers, but when he emerges the room is back to normal. His wardrobe is intact and the bedroom wall is where the forest had been. On the wall amongst all the photographs and drawings, he finds an image of a green forest with a knight on horseback.

The next evening Kevin is too excited to wait and goes to bed early as his parents sit on their plastic covered chairs watching their ridiculous game show. He has gathered some items into a bag in preparation and sits holding a flashlight in one hand and an instant camera in the other waiting for something to happen but soon drifts off to sleep. Some time later his wardrobe slowly opens and six little men step into his room. He turns on his flashlight causing them to scurry about the room, but when they realize he is just a kid the demand to know how to get out. They accidentally push against the bedroom wall which moves back revealing a long corridor. As they continue to push, a giant glowing head appears, chasing after them demanding they return what they have stolen. The group pushes harder and faster until the wall drops away and they fall into darkness.

They all land in a barn virtually unharmed. Kevin makes a break for it to discover he is close to the scene of a battle. He watches as people stream out of a nearby city accidentally causing one refugee to drop his belongings. The man tells Kevin they are just outside Castiglione which has been invaded by Napoleon. The little men catch up to Kevin, who learns that they had all worked for the Supreme Being and are named Fidgit, Strutter, Og, Wally, Vermin, and unofficially led by Randall. They had created the less important portions of the universe and since everything was created in only seven days, the job was imperfect. They have a map of all the holes and plan to use it to make themselves rich as international robbers.

In Castiglione, Napoleon laughs as he watches a Punch and Judy style puppet show ignoring the battle around him. The show is unexpectedly interrupted when the puppeteer by a stray shot. The theatre manager attempts to introduce other acts such as Zuzu and Benny, the Great Rumbozo, and the Three Idiots. Napoleon is displeased with the suggestions, and the theatre manager heads backstage to place a pistol to his head. Randall and his group stop him and step out onto the stage where they perform a song and dance routine finishing up in a brawl as the curtain falls. The theatre manager fashions a make-shift noose around his neck before Napoleon joins them and congratulates the man for such a great performance. He then appoints the group as his new generals.

In a captured dining hall, Napoleon lists all the prominent short men in history before passing out from too much drink. Randall and his men waste no time gathering the loot in the room even taking the rings from the emperor’s fingers and his gold right hand which he habitually hides under his coat. Strutter sets out to find the hole and returns to have everyone race to escape while the French army is left in a heap on the ground where the hole once was.

In the middle ages, a coach carrying Sir Vincent and Lady Pansy rolls through the forest when the seven travellers crash through the canopy. They gather their scattered loot and Kevin learns that this is actually their first caper. They all fall prey to snares which leave them dangling by their legs. Their captors soon arrive and, once they are convinced that they are all thieves, the group is cut down and taken to meet with their leader, Robin Hood. The camp, filled with unsavoury people including an arm wrestler actually pulling the arms from opponents, is a stark contrast to the clean and kempt Robin who thanks them for their loot. Despite their protests, Robin distributes the wealth to the poor and they all leave empty handed.

While walking through the wood in a downpour, they grumble about their meeting with Robin Hood and losing their treasure. Kevin takes a moment to take a photo of his six new companions as they display the map in front of them. In another far-off place, Evil watches in disgust. He cannot believe the Supreme Being deals with such riff-raff, concluding him to be incompetent. One of his minions states that the Supreme Being cannot be completely incompetent as he created Evil, and is destroyed for his impertinence. Another minion asks why Evil cannot leave the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, and is also destroyed for asking such a good question. Evil explains that he is allowing the Supreme Being a false sense of security as he remains in the fortress to learn of technology and preparing for the time when he takes over the universe. Evil takes control of Og’s mind while Benson, Robert and another smaller minion watch, and suggests that they seek ‘the most fabulous object in the world’. They all agree, but the area begins to fill with smoke and they realise the Supreme Being has caught up to them. Kevin breaks away from the group and Randall calls to him to simply get away, but when two holes open he jumps into the wrong one which immediately closed behind him.

In Ancient Greece, King Agamemnon battles with a bull-headed warrior. The battle has been going on for some time; the King and the warrior are barely able to remain their feet. With the warrior able to gain the upper hand, he prepares to deliver the final blow when Kevin drops onto Agamemnon from the empty sky. The warrior reels back in shock allowing Agamemnon the opportunity to throw a spearhead at his enemy killing him.

Kevin is taken back to Mycenae where he snaps many photos and learns of the king’s love of magic and slight of hand. He is later taken to a special ceremony where the king declares him to be his official heir, much to the surprise of the Queen, and all in attendance watch as the festivities begin. A dancing troupe soon reveals themselves to be Randall and his men, who make their way through the crowd collecting various items of value, then pull Kevin onto the stage where they all disappear in a puff of smoke.

Vincent and Pansy enjoy some time together on an ocean liner when the seven travellers crash onto them. After a change of clothes, the group briefly enjoy the high-life before the liner, the S.S. Titanic strikes an iceberg and sinks. While clinging to a plank, the mind-controlled Og tells them it is time to go after ‘the most fabulous object in the world’. Randall agrees and Evil pulls them into the ‘Time of Legends’.

On a tall ship, Winston and his wife are complaining about the lack of pollution in the waters when they pull up the net containing the seven travellers and prepare to eat them. Winston’s wife goes below while Winston terrorizes the group in spite of his bad back. Kevin suggests a cure for Winston’s pain and together they grab his arms and legs to stretch it out. Winston is pleased and asks for more, but they throw him overboard. When Winston’s wife comes back up to investigate, they knock overboard as well.

They continue sailing, but Wally suddenly notices the ship rising out of the water. A giant emerges with the ship on top of his head and strides across the countryside, crushing a house underfoot along the way. Kevin finds a set of billows and a sleeping potion and plunges the fluid into the top of the giant’s head. The giant grows sleepy, sits down and removes the ship from his head and drifts off to sleep.

The group makes their way through the foreboding landscape until they hit an invisible barrier and Randall declares that they have reached their destination. Wally tells him he has lost his mind. Angered, Randall throws a skull at Wally and is smashing through the barrier revealing the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness on the other side. They rush forward as the host of the ridiculous game show his parents enjoy watching, along with Kevin’s mother and father who present ‘the most fabulous object in the world’. Once they have made their way over the maze of paths, the host reveals himself as Evil and the others are his minions. He takes the map and places the travellers in a cage suspended in darkness.

They despairs of ever escaping until Kevin reviews his photographs. He studies the photo of the group holding the map discovering a large hole nearby. Og jimmies opens the door then Wally begins to shave strands from the rope suspending the cage until they have woven a new, long rope. Strutter is swung over a second, empty cage, then from him Wally swings to a third cage. Strutter swings from under Wally over to the raised path and braces himself on the edge. Wally drops allows the rope to drop allowing each member of the group to slide from the cage to the path. Wally then drops down to the suspended rope, but before he can get to safety the remaining strand holding up the cage snaps and crashes down. Believing Wally to have perished, they try pulling up the rope to find Wally still clinging to it and pull him up to safety. They decide to make a break for it, but Kevin reminds them that Evil stil has the map and they must get it back from him.

As he makes plans for world domination, Evil transforms Benson into a dog ordering him to stand guard. Robert begins to instruct Evil about technology. Kevin and his companions make their way past Benson and Og retrieves the map, but they are discovered and Evil transforms Og into an anthropomorphic pig before creating monstrous creatures to hunt for them through the fortress. Kevin takes Og to act as a diversion while the others get help. Eventually cornered by Evil, Kevin threatens to destroy the map unless Evil calls off his creatures. Evil casually destroys the creatures and his minions with a wave of his hand. Og panics and tries to get away, but Evil finishes his previous blast transforming completely into a pig before snatching the map from Kevin. With victory in Evil’s clutches, Randall suddenly smashes through the wall in a tank, Strutter enters with a group of knights on horseback, Fidgit lines the walls with a garrison of arches, Wally descends piloting a futuristic spaceship, and they are all joined by Vermin and a group of cowboys on horses.

They attack Evil one group at a time but are easily defeated. They prepares for Evil’s final blow when he is suddenly transformed into stone and explodes. In a display of light and smoke, and elderly gentleman appears. He is the Supreme Being and declares his creation, Evil, a success. He has his reclaimed underlings collect all the pieces of concentrated evil and place them into a letterbox, but they miss one piece hidden away in a corner. As they leave, Fidgit asks if Kevin can come along but the Supreme Being tells him that Kevin must remain to carry on the fight. They disappear in a puff of white smoke. The area quickly fills with a sickly yellow smoke emanating from the last piece of Evil.

Kevin wakes up in his bed, coughing as his room fills with smoke. The door to his room smashes open and he is taken safely outside where his parents debate about going in to save some of their appliances. A fireman tells Kevin he is very lucky who looks exactly like King Agamemnon. The source of the fire is discovered by another fireman and the suspected appliance is brought from the house. When it is opened a sickly yellow smoke comes out. Kevin recognizes the contents as a piece of concentrated evil and warns his parents not to touch it, but they give in to temptation and quickly touch it disappearing in a flash. As the fire truck drives off, Kevin walks towards the house calling out to his absent parents wondering what has happened to them.
Estimated time periods visited
  • ”Present Day” - Tuesday, 1981 (specific date unknown): The knight on horseback appears in Kevin’s bedroom briefly merging 1981 with a point in the 15th century
  • ”Present Day” - Wednesday 1981 (specific date unknown): Kevin is taken from his bedroom for an adventure through time
  • Battle of Castiglione: August 5, 1796
  • Middle Ages: broadly 5th to 15th century. With the appearance of Robin Hood, an arguably fictional character, the time can be narrowed to the reign of King Richard the Lionhearted July 6, 1189 and April 6, 1199 and quite possibly between December 1192 and February 4, 1194 when King Richard was held captive in Dürnstein Castle.
  • Ancient Greece: Although King Agamemnon and the Trojan War are questionable as historically accurate, the time can be placed approximately between 1260 and 1240 BCE.
  • S.S. Titanic: April 14, 1912
  • Time of Legends: although not a specific point in history, Winston’s tall ship is a three-masted galleon from approximately the 17th century.
  • Not specifically seen, the reinforcements used to battle Evil would have been collected from various periods in time:

    • Randall's tank appears to be a Sherman Firefly, a British variant of the American Sherman tank, which originally was in production between January 1944 and May 1945.
    • Strutter’s knights are in fully developed plate armour which was in general use during the 15th century.
    • Fidgit’s archers appear to be Trojan, possibly from the Trojan War which took place between 1260 and 1240 BCE.
    • Wally’s spaceship is from an undetermined point in the future.
    • Vermin’s cowboys would have been taken from the middle or end of the American Old West of the mid to late 19th century.
  • ”Present Day” – Thursday 1981 (specific date unknown): Kevin is rescued from his bedroom by firemen

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