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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

directed by Terry Gilliam
UK 1981

Plunging headfirst into history, director Terry Gilliam fearlessly brings the logic of children's fairy tales to bear as he navigates through myth and legend in a bizarre, ingenious retelling of THE WIZARD OF OZ. A boy and six good-natured little persons careen through time-twisting interactions with Napoleon, Robin Hood, and Agamemnon, among others, with a map the little people stole from their employer, the Supreme Being. But their intention is to rob their way through the past, which does not make their boss happy. Meanwhile, Evil is after the map in order to become the Supreme Being himself. The result is an extraordinarily visual extravaganza that overflows with Gilliam's ecstatic vision. The film is shot from a child's viewpoint, both through the character of Kevin and the placement of the camera. One of the morals of this thoroughly enjoyable, charming fantasy is that heroes aren't always all they're cracked up to be. Fun special effects and great supporting performances abound, including terrific turns by Ian Holm, John Cleese, Ralph Richardson, and especially David Warner as Evil.

***

In Terry Gilliam’s fantastic voyage through time and space, a young boy named Kevin (Craig Warnock) escapes his gadget-obsessed parents to join a band of time-traveling dwarves. Armed with a map stolen from the Supreme Being (Ralph Richardson), they plunder treasure from Napoleon (Ian Holm) and Agamemnon (Sean Connery)—but the Evil Genius (David Warner) is watching their every move! Featuring a darkly playful script by Gilliam and costar Michael Palin, Time Bandits is all at once giddy fairy tale, revisionist history lesson, and satire on technology gone awry.

Posters

Theatrical Release: July 13th, 1981 - UK

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Comparison:

Anchor Bay - Region 2- PAL vs. Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC vs. Anchor Bay (DiviMax - SE-2 disc set) - Region 1- NTSC vs. Optimum - Region B - Blu-ray vs. Image Entertainment - Region A - Blu-ray vs. Arrow - Region B - Blu-ray

 

Big thanks to Mikkel Svendstrup of DVDsnak for the Region  2 DVD captures!

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP LEFT

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP MIDDLE

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - TOP RIGHT

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM LEFT

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM MIDDLE

6) Arrow (standard and Steelbook) - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM RIGHT

 

Box Covers

 

     

   

 

    

Distribution Anchor Bay 
Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 37

Region 1  - NTSC

Anchor Bay (DiviMax series)
Region 1  - NTSC

    

Optimum
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Image Entertainment
Region 'A'  -
Blu-ray
Arrow
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Arrow Steelbook
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Distribution Anchor Bay 
Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 37

Region 1  - NTSC

Anchor Bay (DiviMax series)
Region 1  - NTSC
Optimum
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Image Entertainment
Region 'A'  -
Blu-ray
Arrow
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Runtime 1:51:04 (4% PAL speedup) 1:56:12 1:55:48 1:55:54.113 1:56:25.678 1:55:55.406
Video

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 7.23
PAL 720x576 25.00 f/s

1.80:1 Slightly cropped
Average Bitrate: 6.78 mb/s
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1.78:1 Original Aspect Ratio

16X9 enhanced
Average Bitrate: 6.38
NTSC 704x480 29.97 f/s

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,953,645,726 bytes

Feature: 31,850,692,608 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080i Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,223,096,383 bytes

Feature: 23,149,234,176 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,792,936,026 bytes

Feature: 37,922,872,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate:

Anchor Bay Region 2

 

Bitrate:

Criterion

 

Bitrate:

 

Anchor 

Bay

 

Bitrate:

 

Optimum

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Image Entertainment

Blu-ray

 

Bitrate:

 

Arrow

Blu-ray

 

Audio English (Dolby Digital 5.1,Dolby Digital 2.0 ) English (Dolby Digital 2.0)

English (Dolby Surround 2.0), English (Dolby Digital 5.1 EX)

Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4185 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4185 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Dolby Digital Audio English 640 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 640 kbps
Dolby Digital Audio French 192 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 192 kbps
LPCM Audio English 2304 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 2304 kbps / 24-bit
DTS-HD Master Audio English 4269 kbps 5.1 / 48 kHz / 4269 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 5.1 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Subtitles None English (CC), and none None None None English, and none
Features Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

 

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Terry Gilliam (not stated on Box)

• Ltd edition map
• Trailer
• Scrapbook
• Biographies: Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam, David Rappaport ans Sean Connery
• Film Notes
• Dream Facts
• Production Photo Gallery
• Missing Storyboard Scene
• Story Board Extracts 
• Interview with Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin
• Hidden Spiderwoman Story Board and Photo with Script
• Original Treatment 

DVD Release Date: September 30th, 2002 
Keep Case

Chapters 24

Release Information:
Studio: Criterion Collection

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen letterbox - 1.80:1

Edition Details:
• Commentary by director Terry Gilliam, co-writer and actor Michael Pallin, and actors John Cleese, David Warner and Craig Warnock
• Theatrical trailer
• Time Bandits scrapbook
• Widescreen letterbox format

DVD Release Date: March 30, 1999
Keep Case

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio: Anchor Bay Entertainment

Aspect Ratio:
Widescreen anamorphic - 1.78:1

 

Edition Details:
• New high-definition transfer
• AFI Program The Directors: Terry Gilliam (59 mins)
• Interview with Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin (27 mins)
• Fold-out map of the universe and liner notes
• DVD-ROM: Original screenplay

Two page liner notes by Jay Marks (and small map poster)
• Widescreen anamorphic format
• Number of discs: 2

DVD Release Date: January 27th, 2004
Keep Case (single holds 2 discs)

Chapters 23

Release Information:
Studio:
Optimum

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 34,953,645,726 bytes

Feature: 31,850,692,608 bytes

Video Bitrate: 31.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
Interview with Terry Gilliam (2009) -
18:02

Scrapbook

Trailer

Blu-ray Release Date:
October 5th, 2009
Standard UK (thicker)
Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

 

Release Information:
Studio:
Image Entertainment

 

1080i Single-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 24,223,096,383 bytes

Feature: 23,149,234,176 bytes

Video Bitrate: 19.99 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
Interview with Terry Gilliam (2009) -
18:12

Trailer

Blu-ray Release Date: August 24th, 2010
Standard Blu-ray Case

Chapters 16

 

Release Information:
Studio:
Arrow

 

1080P Dual-layered Blu-ray

Disc Size: 47,792,936,026 bytes

Feature: 37,922,872,896 bytes

Video Bitrate: 34.84 Mbps

Codec: MPEG-4 AVC Video

 

Edition Details:
Chasing Time Bandits: A new interview with Terry Gilliam (20:09)
Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name: A new interview in which Michael Palin discusses co-writing and acting in Time Bandits (16:09)
The Effects of Time Bandits: A new interview in which Kent Houston, founder of the Peerless Camera Company, discusses Time Bandits optical effects (15:28)
Playing Evil: A new featurette in which actor David Warner remembers producer George Harrison and playing Evil in Time Bandits (8:44)
The Costumes of Time Bandits: A new interview with costume designer James Acheson (13:21)
The Look of Time Bandits: A new interview with production designer Milly Burns (10:43)
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 (8:33)
Original Trailer (3:09)
Restoration Demonstration (2:43)
Collector s booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver

DVD of the Feature

Blu-ray Release Date: August 26th, 2013
Standard UK (thicker) Blu-ray or Steelbook Case

Chapters 12


Comments:
NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc. 

ADDITION: (September 2013) Arrow - Region 'B' - Blu-ray:  Firstly the Arrow steelbook has the same transfer as the standard Blu-ray. The Arrow restoration is darker with significantly richer colors, cooler skin tones and, generally, shows much more/varying information in the frame. Grain is very visible. It is quite different from most of the other transfers. We have included screen captures of the text messages, regarding the the restoration, prefacing the 1080P presentation. The resulting image is thicker and more vibrant (blues and reds) and is approved by director Terry Gilliam. It is dual-layered with a max'ed out bitrate. We can only suggest the 1080P transfer is a strong replication of the performed 2K resolution restoration. This Arrow transfer is the most robust of the releases compared.

Audio is in the form of a linear PCM 2.0 channel stereo (original) or the option for a DTS-HD Master 5.1 bump at a healthy 4269 kbps. Both function very well with the surround bump surprising with its intensity. The original score is by Mike Moran - who has done mostly TV work but you can hear the subtleties and separations which seem very dynamic. There are optional English subtitles (sample below) on the Region 'B'-locked Blu-ray disc.

Once again Arrow shine in the supplements department with plenty of new extras although, unfortunately, there is no commentary. We do get a new 20-minute interview with Terry Gilliam entitled Chasing Time Bandits. Also new is a 16-minute interview in which Michael Palin discussing co-writing and acting in Time Bandits. This piece is called "Writing the Film that Dares Not Speak its Name" and is quite interesting. More new is The Effects of Time Bandits: 15-minutes with Kent Houston, founder of the Peerless Camera Company, talking about Time Bandits' optical effects. Playing Evil is an 8-minute featurette, also new, in which actor David Warner remembers producer George Harrison and playing 'Evil'. The Costumes of Time Bandits: A new interview with costume designer James Acheson. The Look of Time Bandits is a 10-minute interview with production designer Milly Burns and From Script to Screen is a new 8.5 minute 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. There is an original trailer, a brief Restoration Demonstration and the package contains a Collector's booklet featuring new writing on the film by critic James Oliver as well as a second disc DVD of the Feature.

Well, this seems the definitive package of Time Bandits - great new extras and a robust, full video and audio presentation. The film seems timeless and is always enjoyable. Absolutely recommended! 

***

ADDITION: (August 2010) Image Entertainment Region 'A' - Blu-ray: Short story - don't buy this Image Entertainment Blu-ray. It is 1080i (interlaced) - and riddled with artifacts. Skin tones may be reporting more accurate hues but overall this transfer is a mess. It is single-layered but the interlacing is enough of a deterrent - we don't need to look any further.

Surprisingly though audio is 5.1 lossless and quite dynamic at over 4000 Kbps. There is also a standard Dolby surround and French DUB and no subtitles are offered.  My Momitsu has identified it as being a region 'A'-locked.

The only extras is the same 18-minute Gilliam interview and a trailer - despite the reasonable price we say 'pass' - no reason to encourage this type of severely limited image transfer.

***

 

ADDITION: (December 2009) Optimum Region 'B' - Blu-ray: This is a competent transfer from Optimum and it looks significantly superior to any of the existing DVDs. There is visible, textured, grain, detail improves, as does contrast and colors seem to finally be 'correct'. There is even some depth. There are a few speckles here and there but mostly frame specific. No lossless surround but the linear PCM 2.0 channel (original) is clean and tight.

We lose the commentary but gain an insightful, 18-minute, 2009 interview with Gilliam who talks about the film production stemming from the frustrations of Brazil - and a lot more information as well. There is a 'scrapbook' and a trailer. There are no subtitles - which seems a mistake with the multiple accents possibly problematic for some.

The A/V is a demonstrative jump forward and makes the Blu-ray a viable option for those wishing the best available transfer of Time Bandits. It gave me a very satisfying viewing.

 - Gary W. Tooze

***

ON THE DVDs

ADDITION: (January 2004) Anchor Bay Region 2- PAL: The image of the Anchor Bay Region 2- PAL edition is not as sharp as the Region 1 - but other than looks quite the same - similar colors with a shade more red in the PAL release - same picture area (no cropping). The Region 2 version does have some great Extras with a commentary from director Gilliam and a host of other small details including an interview with Gilliam and Palin. Extras seem best for the Region 2 - picture for the Region 1- and perhaps sound for the Criterion.

Well, its not often we get to criticize the greatest DVD production company in the world, but... The Criterion release is cropped, has too much red in the image, is hazy and non-anamorphic. I suppose its saving grace is the commentary track which I'll put on equal billing with Anchor Bay's fine Extras... The Directors: Terry Gilliam (59 mins), Interview with Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin (27 mins). But also the Criterion audio track was quite strong. The Anchor Bay SE DVD is really quite wonderful in the image department - the EX 5.1 sound seems to have some issues with its separations, but I found it strong regardless - just different.  Great contrast and very truest skin tones in the Anchor Bay.

 - Gary W. Tooze

 Menus

(Anchor Bay - Region 2- PAL vs. LEFT Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - MIDDLE vs. Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - RIGHT)


 

 

Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray

 

 

Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

Prefacing the Arrow 1080P presentation:

 


 

CLICK EACH BLU-RAY CAPTURE TO SEE ALL IMAGES IN FULL 1920X1080 RESOLUTION

 

Screen Captures

 

Subtitle Sample Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray

 

 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


 

1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 


1) Anchor Bay - Region 2 - PAL TOP

2) Criterion - Region 1 - NTSC - SECOND

3) Anchor Bay - SE - Region 1- NTSC - THIRD

4) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - FOURTH

5) Image Ent. - Region 'A' - Blu-ray - FIFTH

6) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

 

More Blu-ray Captures

 

1) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

 

1) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM

1) Optimum - Region 'B' - Blu-ray TOP

2) Arrow. - Region 'B' - Blu-ray - BOTTOM


 Hit Counter


Report Card:

 

Image:

Arrow Blu-ray

Sound:

Arrow Blu-ray

Extras: Anchor Bay (R2) / Arrow Blu-ray
Box Covers

 

     

   

 

    

Distribution Anchor Bay 
Region 2 - PAL

Criterion Collection - Spine # 37

Region 1  - NTSC

Anchor Bay (DiviMax series)
Region 1  - NTSC

    

Optimum
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Image Entertainment
Region 'A'  -
Blu-ray
Arrow
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray
Arrow Steelbook
Region 'B'  -
Blu-ray



 

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Gary Tooze