Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
United Kingdom, 1981. HandMade Films. Screenplay by Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam. Cinematography by Peter Biziou. Produced by Terry Gilliam. Music by Mike Moran. Production Design by Milly Burns. Costume Design by James Acheson. Film Editing by Julian Doyle.
A little boy lives with his technologically obsessed parents who ignore him in favour of the many gadgets in their super modern apartment in near-future London. The boy dreams of adventure and it comes his way when a band of thieving dwarves suddenly appear in his apartment and whisk him away on a merry journey through time and space. The thieves have stolen a map of history from a superior being and are using it to find treasure, landing themselves in the middle Ages of England and ancient Greece among other places, the boy all the while getting to know the heroes of his favourite stories personally. While visually striking, the film is rather a bit too long and bloated; Gilliam has continued to have far too heavy-handed a touch for fantasy (The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The Brothers Grimm) and here is also unsure of his audience. The protagonist is a young boy but given the lofty allegories that abound in the film, not to mention some pretty dark scenes and situations, I’m not sure that children are the intended demographic. It does feature some wonderful effects and costumes, plus a selection of wonderful cameos including Michael Palin, Shelley Duvall, Ralph Richardson and, most effectively, Sean Connery as Agamemnon of Greece.