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Terry Gilliam
Craig Warnock, David Rappaport, Kenny Baker
Writing Credits:
Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin

A young boy named Kevin escapes from his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling little people.

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Dolby Vision
English LPCM Stereo
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 116 min.
Price: $49.95
Release Date: 6/13/2023

• Audio Commentary by director Terry Gilliam, co-writer/actor Michael Palin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner and Craig Warnock
• “Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits” Featurette
• 1998 Conversation Between Director Terry Gilliam and Film Scholar Peter von Bagh
• 1981 TV Interview with Actor Shelley Duvall
• Stills Gallery
• Trailer
• Booklet
• Blu-ray Copy


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Sony UBP-X700 4K Ultra HD Dolby Vision Blu-ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Time Bandits: Criterion Collection (1981) [4K UHD]

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (June 13, 2023)

As this represents my fifth review of 1981’s Time Bandits, I’ll skip my usual discussion of the movie. If you’d like to read my full view about the movie, please click right here and you’ll find detailed thoughts.

To summarize, Bandits offers a spotty comedy-adventure that loses a lot of steam in its middle act. However, it boasts tons of imagination, humor and inventiveness, and those factors allow it to become an above-average movie that seems awfully winning much of the time. Even with its failings, it comes with too much fun for me not to recommend it.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B/ Bonus B

Time Bandits appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 1.85:1 on this 4K UHD Disc. Across the board, the Dolby Vision image looked splendid.

Bandits has never been a great-looking movie, so this 4K UHD doesn’t suddenly turn into a visual stunner like Blade Runner. That said, it also never looked better.

Overall sharpness seemed strong, with an image that appeared distinctive and well-defined. A little softness appeared at times, virtually all of which stemmed from the source material. Even with those moments, I thought the movie presented positive delineation.

No issues with jagged edges or moiré effects materialized, and I noticed no edge haloes. With a nice layer of grain, the movie showed no issues with digital noise reduction, and print flaws created no problems. This was a consistently clean presentation.

The palette of Bandits varied dependent on setting. For instance, the Robin Hood segment went with a green feel, while Crete seemed more sandy and arid.

These tones actually came across as natural, for the colors reflected the circumstances more than any artificial processing. The hues seemed well-rendered and appropriate for the film, with HDR that gave the tones added range and impact.

Blacks showed good depth and density. Shadows were smooth and clear, and HDR brought power and punch to whites and contrast. I felt completely pleased with this terrific presentation.

The LPCM Stereo soundtrack of Time Bandits also worked well. In terms of the soundfield, the front channels managed to open up matters in a fairly good manner. Music showed nice spread to the sides and gave us quality stereo imaging.

Effects followed suit. With a fair amount of action on display, we got a good variety of components on the sides.

These moved well and meshed together in a satisfying manner. Of course, the soundscape reflected the limitations of its age, but I thought it presented a pleasing array.

Audio quality had ups and downs but was usually fine. At times, a bit of edginess affected speech, but the lines mostly seemed relatively natural, and the lines remained intelligible at all times.

Effects also suffered from occasional distortion, but they generally sounded acceptably accurate, and they demonstrated decent heft when necessary.

The film’s score fared best of all. The music seemed full and rich, with crisp highs and warm lows. That was the best aspect of this track, a somewhat inconsistent affair that still seemed strong enough to merit an age-based “B”.

How did the 4K UHD compare to the 2014 Criterion Blu-ray? Both appeared to deliver identical audio.

On the other hand, the 4K’s Dolby Vision image marked a nice step up, as it looked better defined and more natural/vivid than its Blu-ray counterpart. Taken from a new 4K scan, the movie looked better than I ever hoped and became a fine upgrade over the already-solid Blu-ray.

Only one extra appears on the 4K disc: an audio commentary with director Terry Gilliam, actor/co-writer Michael Palin, and actors Craig Warnock, John Cleese, and David Warner. All of them were recorded separately for this edited track.

Gilliam dominates the piece as he covers many components of the production. Actually, he goes over pretty much everything.

From sets to stunts to effects to the origins of the story to the script to working with the actors, it’s all here. Gilliam tosses in a lot of great stories from the set as well and makes his part fun and entertaining.

Warnock shows up the second highest amount of time and he gives us a nice “kid’s eye” view of the proceedings. Palin lets us know how he and Gilliam collaborated on the script and provides a few other details about the flick.

Warner and Cleese give us some notes related to their parts and help flesh out the commentary. Overall it’s a very solid and informative discussion.

Everything else shows up on the included Blu-ray copy. Creating the Worlds of Time Bandits lasts 23 minutes, 24 second and includes notes from production designer Milly Burns and costume designer James Acheson.

Inevitably, costume and production design areas dominate the piece, but along with narration from film writer David Morgan, we also find info about characters, working with Gilliam, locations, and effects. The program gives us a good collection of details and turns into an informative piece.

From 1998, we find a Conversation Between Director Terry Gilliam and Film Scholar Peter von Bagh. Recorded at the Finnish Midnight Sun Film Festival, the chat lasts one hour, 19 minutes, 39 seconds as we learn about Gilliam’s family, early life and influences, his entry into cartooning/animation/film, his career with Monty Python and then his time in feature films.

The last subject dominates “Conversation”, and we get plenty of interesting thoughts from Gilliam. It’s tough to think of many interviews/commentaries in which Gilliam doesn’t deliver an enjoyable experience, and this one follows that path. It barely touches on Time Bandits but that shouldn’t keep viewers from it.

Taken from a 1981 episode of the Tomorrow Show, we get an Interview with Actor Shelley Duvall. The excerpt runs eight minutes, 46 seconds and provides Duvall’s thoughts about her career and films.

Host Tom Snyder becomes a hyperactive interviewer, so the chat flits from one topic to another with both alacrity and illogic. This feels like a decent period piece but it never becomes especially interesting or informative.

Within a Stills Gallery, we find a mix of photos. This area provides 24 shots from the film set. It delivers a moderately intriguing set of snaps, though I’d like it to be longer.

Finally, the disc offers a surprisingly good trailer. It's in a satirical vein and is a hoot.

We also get a foldout booklet. It shows a replica of the movie’s map along with an essay from film critic David Sterritt.

While not one of Criterion’s best efforts, it offers value. Note that the set’s slipcase offers a lenticular cover image with a nice 3D impression.

Although I find fault with the film, I enjoy Time Bandits enough that the movie comes recommended. It sags at around the mid-point, but it still packs more than enough lively and amusing material to merit a look. The 4K UHD delivers excellent picture and pretty good audio along with a fairly informative set of supplements. This turns into easily the best rendition of the film ever found on home video.

To rate this film, visit the DVD review of TIME BANDITS

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