When you can count the laughs in a comedy on the fingers of one hand, it isn't so funny. Time Bandits, is a kind of potted history of man, myth and the eternal clash between good and evil as told in the inimitable idiom of Monty Python.

When you can count the laughs in a comedy on the fingers of one hand, it isn’t so funny. Time Bandits, is a kind of potted history of man, myth and the eternal clash between good and evil as told in the inimitable idiom of Monty Python.

Not that the basic premise is bad, with an English youngster and a group of dwarfs passing through time holes on assignment by the Maker to patch up the shoddier parts of His creation. What results, unfortunately, is a hybrid neither sufficiently hair-raising or comical.

The plot’s grand tour ranges from ancient Greece and other parts to the Titanic to the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness, the latter gothic region presided over by a costume-heavy David Warner as one of nine above-title and mostly cameo parts. Of which the funniest, near pic’s conclusion, is the Maker Himself as none other than Ralph Richardson in business suit.

John Cleese as Robin Hood, Ian Holm as Napoleon, Sean Connery as a Greek warrior-ruler with a passion for magic, and Michael Palin as a plummy English upperclass type all acquit well enough in the limited circumstances.

Time Bandits

UK

Production

Handmade. Director Terry Gilliam; Producer Terry Gilliam; Screenplay Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam; Camera Peter Biziou; Editor Julian Doyle; Music Mike Moran; Art Director Milly Burns

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1981. Running time: 110 MIN.

With

John Cleese Sean Connery Shelley Duvall Ralph Richardson David Warner Michael Palin

Filed Under:

Follow @Variety on Twitter for breaking news, reviews and more