UK Release date: 13th July 1981
Watched on Sky+ Saturday 18th May 2013.
PLEASE NOTE: THERE MAY BE UNINTENTIONAL SPOILERS IN THIS REVIEW.
This is a film I’ve seen several times over the years but this is the first time I’ve watched it with my ‘critical eye’. There are many things to like, particularly if you were brought up on a good dose of ‘Python’ in your comedy diet. Outrageously over the top in places but also quite calm and even tender in others, it certainly has a huge scope. Here’s a very brief summary before I give you my thoughts.
When young Kevin (Craig Warnock) goes to bed one evening, he’s awoken in the middle of the night by a mounted knight in full armour crashing through his wardrobe. The next night, taking provisions (a camera, a flashlight etc…) he goes to bed early, hoping to catch the knight again. This time though, it’s a band of dwarves that come through his wardrobe. They are; Randall (David Rappaport), Fidgit (Kenny Baker), Strutter (Malcolm Dixon), Og (Mike Edmonds), Wally (Jack Purvis) and Vermin (Tiny Ross). They have stolen a map from The Supreme Being and are out for adventure. They take Kevin with them on a daring raid on Napoleon (Ian Holm), and then it’s off to the middle ages where they meet Robin Hood (John Cleese). Escaping from there/then, Kevin finds himself separated from the group and in ancient Greece where he befriends King Agamemnon (Sean Connery). It’s not long though before the gang catch up with him and they’re off again. All the while, Evil (David Warner) is watching and planning a way to get them to the land of legends. You see, he wants their map and he’ll stop at nothing to get it…
I know it’s not a perfect film by any stretch of the imagination; but it is fun and entertaining. A film with enormous scope and with some really great set pieces from the crazy mind of Terry Gilliam. You can see the Python influence all over it, although there are bits where it calms down and we see a more tender side of things. The performances were all excellent with Craig Warnock and David Rappaport taking star billing (for me). Oh and look out for a recurring gag featuring Michael Palin and Shelley Duvall, very funny. If there is a down side, it’s that it’s a little too long and the bickering between the dwarves does get a little tedious after a while. Over all though, well worth a watch; it may look a little dated, but it’s still worth your time (get it?).
SteelMonster’s verdict: RECOMMENDED
My score: 8.2/10.
IMDb Score: 6.9/10 (based on 32,380 votes when this review was written).
MetaScore: No data: (Based on 0 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com at the time of going to press).
Rotten Tomatoes ‘Audience’ Score: 60/100 (based on 47,816 user ratings counted at the time of going to press).
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Randall: We made trees and shrubs. We helped make all this.
Kevin: Whew! That's not bad.
Randall: Yeah. But did we get a thimble full of credit for it? No! All we got was the sack. Just for creating the Pink Bunkadoo.
Kevin: Pink Bunkadoo?
Randall: Yeah. Beautiful trees that was. Og designed it. 600 feet high, bright red, and smelled terrible.
Strutter: [slaps Kevin] Get down, you nearly got us caught!
Randall: You silly fool, you could've ruined everything.
Kevin: Do you know where we are?
Randall: Shut up. Of course I do. 1796, Battle of Castiglione, see?
Strutter: [taps him] You sure we're not in somebody's bedroom?
Randall: do you want to be leader of this gang?
Strutter: No, we agreed: No leader!
Randall: Right. So shut up and do as I say.
Kevin: It's some kind of invisible barrier.
Fidgit: Oh, so that's what an invisible barrier looks like.
Supreme Being: Dead? No excuse for laying off work.