Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"We Like It and We're Pretty Sure You Will." : A Look at Time Bandits

"God isn't interested in technology. Look how He spends His time: 43 species of parrot, nipples for men...SLUGS! He created slugs! They can't hear, they can't speak, they can't operate machinery. I mean are we not in the hands of a lunatic?"
--(Evil) Time Bandits

Times Bandits is the story of a little boy who travels through time and fantastic realms in the company of outlaw dwarfs. It's not your average kid's movie. It's frightening, filled with dark adult humor, and quite bleak in some places. I wish I could say it's one of my favorite movies. It sounds like it should be (fairy tales! mythology! evil technology! Monty Python! David Warner!) but it isn't. As is often the case with Terry Gilliam's movies, I like the idea of it better than the actual thing. I found it overlong, confusing, and even a bit boring despite its terrific cast and adventure-ridden plot. That said, there are some wonderful parts so I would recommend seeing it at least once. It also has one of the most unique and hilarious trailers I've ever seen.

I love a good trailer. Sometimes I like a trailer better than the actual movie. Case in point. In the trailer for Time Bandits, clips from the movie play while the Classic Trailer Guy Voice keeps going off-script to the exasperation of Michael Palin--who has a role in the film. It's so inventive. The clips intrigue you, but they give nothing away because you can't hear anything. You see all the great people in the movie while laughing at what's being said. You'll remember it for sure and because the trailer made you laugh, you have every reason to think the movie will. It even ends with a philosophical question. Time Bandits may not be one of my favorite movies, but it is one of my favorite trailers.

One more thing. About those aforementioned wonderful parts. Most of them involve the character Evil as played by the one and only David Warner (sigh). He's the best thing in the movie and his rants against the Supreme Being (i.e. God) are insanely funny. Below is my favorite scene in the movie. It tickles me that Evil sees technology as his ultimate weapon: "When I have understanding of computers...I shall be the Supreme Being." And this came out in 1981. Did the world have any idea?

Incidentally, I recall this speech a lot when I'm at work, thinking about my ever-patient high school computer teacher and how amused and confused she would be to learn I now work for a tech company.

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