Rupert Pupkin Speaks: Arrow Video: TIME BANDITS on Blu-ray ""

Monday, September 2, 2013

Arrow Video: TIME BANDITS on Blu-ray

Terry Gilliam has been one of my favorite filmmakers for a long time. When I was working a video store job in college, my employee picks shelf was perpetually populated with the likes of THE FISHER KING, CHINATOWN, THE KING OF COMEDY and THE BURBS. I adore THE FISHER KING to this day and I'm one of those that believes BRAZIL to be an unadulterated masterpiece of cinematic brilliance. According to one of the new Gillam interview recorded for this disc, Terry made TIME BANDITS as a result of not being able to get BRAZIL off the ground. That's pretty spectacular. I love it when a filmmaker's 'plan B' is to make a glorious treat of a movie along the lines TIME BANDITS. This film is way better than many directors' 'plan A' movies! I must confess something though. In all honesty, it was until recently that I really warmed up to the film myself. It had also been one where I could see the appeal but it never quite hit me just right. Part of it might have to do with not really seeing it as a kid. I'm sure a little nostalgia would have gone a long way, but it just happened to be one of those that never made it into my regular rotation as a youngster. Interestingly enough, this go-round I watched the movie with my little girl. That opened up some of the magic of the movie for me for sure. It has Terry's stylistic flourishes of camera movement and production design that make his fantastical worlds so uniquely his own. The cast is amazing in that it includes  Python regulars John Cleese & Michael Palin,  and in addition to that Sean Connery, Shelley Duvall, Ian Holm, Katherine Helmond, David Warner, David Rappaport and Kenny Baker! All in all, I was just so taken with the film upon this rewatch and I plan to make it a family movie night staple for us in the near future. Why this film seems to have slipped into a slight bit of obscurity is baffling to me. It should be mentioned in the same sentence as other 80s classics like THE GOONIES, GREMLINS, LABYRINTH, THE NEVERENDING STORY, THE MONSTER SQUAD and so forth.

Kudos to Arrow Video for beating Criterion to the punch on this Blu-ray special edition. Criterion's edition of the film dates back to their laserdisc days and though they did update to DVD, the only real special feature is an(albeit good) commentary track. The movie wasn't even 16x9 enhanced as I recall(it was a very early Criterion DVD release). Sadly the first Blu-ray issued was via Handmade Films and Image Entertainment and it wasn't even 1080p. A very shoddy release indeed for such a memorable fantasy film of its time. Well, Arrow has finally done the film some justice in giving it a lovely transfer here and some nice extra features. It's really an excellent presentation of a wonderful 1980s classic. 
Extra features include:
-a Brand new 2k-resolution restoration of the film from the original camera negative, approved by director and co-writer Terry Gilliam(yay!).
-"Chasing Time Bandits": A new interview with Terry Gilliam.
-"Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name": A new interview in which Michael Palin discusses co-writing and acting of the film.
-"The Effects of Time Bandits": A new interview in which Kent Houston, founder of the Peerless Camera Company, discusses Time Bandits’ optical effects
-"Playing Evil": A new featurette in which actor David Warner remembers producer George Harrison and his own acting role(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" – A 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.

The disc can be ordered via Amazon UK or Arrow's Website:


1 comment:

Unknown said...

Thanks for the review--- LOVE THIS FILM. "Here's to stinking rich! And stinking Kevin!"