In 1981 Randall, Fidgit, Strutter, Wally, Vermin and Og creep from Kevin’s wardrobe and shortly thereafter drag him through the first of several time holes as they escape from the Supreme Being. Kevin and I were the same sort of age and I having walked the three or so miles to the cinema to escape my parents wanted to be a Time Bandit too. Kevin read, Kevin knew (as is not untypical amongst a certain type of child) a lot about history, the good bits. Nowadays and the kids of the same ilk might wait for a letter from Hogwarts*. Not I, even given the choice I’d have fallen through the many realities robbing and exploring amongst a pack far worse than I.
In Time Bandits Kevin discovers a slew of his heroes, historical and fictional. Robin Hood is an upper-class twit. Napoleon the embodiment of his Punch magazine ridicule. Agamemnon befriends Kevin but intends on teaching him the arts cerebral rather than martial (also, magic tricks), but adopts him nonetheless and quite rightly there Kevin wants to stay. Snorts from self-proclaimed grown-ups regarding the lack of effective health care or personal phones in such a land rather miss the point. But he cannot stay as the Time Bandits kidnap him and onwards for the Most Fabulous Object In The World.
In all and Kevin escaping from his abusive home and uncaring, ignorant parents finds something better in Mycenae. A father that is Sean Connery, where he is a prince, and where there are dancing girls which will rather soon take on more importance in his life. But the imagination that has kept him through all the years refuses to let him go and so he is dragged towards the very literal Time Of Legends where he is forced to face David Warner as Evil, and where the Bandits like the ideal chums they are turn up with tanks, and knights and...
...Time Bandits ends with Kevin home, but his house burned down and his parents dead. It could have been exactly the same film had we discovered that it was all in Kevin’s head. He escapes as did some of us, into the past and into stories. Growing, his childhood keeps dragging him onwards to where at the end he has to make choices, to face Evil and not as some tedious destined child or powerful spoon-bender. Mostly he runs away.
And so I suppose were a lot of us who were that age, then.
Some of us perhaps still are.
But I still want to be a Time Bandit and if you look at the map there's a time hole opening soon, and near, and so...
*Not true. There’s Alan Garner and Susan Cooper already gone and here already and it’s Mike Moorcock. So whilst others that barely read might learn how to ride a broom and Impetigo with a wand, we’ll ride dragons and summon Arioch, thank you very much.