Reno checks in with the 1997 draft of TIME BANDITS 2... seriously
Hey folks, Harry here.... A looooong time ago, 2... 3... maybe even 4 years ago there were rumors about the progression of a possible TIME BANDITS sequel. Noone ever saw scripts, but suddenly people started passing away, making it harder and harder to tie in with... and according to all reports it was completely abandoned. WELL.... I'm a HUGE Time Bandit fan, and just cuz it'll never happen, doesn't mean I don't want to know what might've happened had the project of moved forward. So.... our faithful reporter Reno, has written in with the last known script to TIME BANDITS 2.... here you go.....
Hey Harry, Reno here with a script for a proposed sequel to Terry Giliam's 1981 fantasy "Time Bandits."
"Time Bandits" holds a special place in my heart. I saw it when I was 12 and it's one of those films that propelled me down the path towards being a movie buff. When at the shore the following summer, I saw watched the film about 6 more times in one week on HBO and my fate was sealed. I LOVED that film. Still do as a matter of fact. . .
However, when I heard a few years back that there was buzz about a possible sequel, I was anxious- both to see what Gilliam wanted to do but nervous that it wouldn't recapture the off kilter magic that so enchanted me as a kid. What I didn't know at the time and up to a few weeks ago, was that a script was written by Gilliam's sometime collaborator Charles McKeown (Brazil, Baron Munchausen) and got as far as at least two drafts (The version I have is dated September 97) before being abandoned.
The script features a mixture of original Time Bandits with some new blood. The story starts off with two dwarves- Mox and her friend Tangle, who work in the bueraracy that runs all of Creation, shredding files on animals as they become extinct. The two overhear a conversation between the Supreme Being and his Supreme Opposite Number as they plan to turn off creation at the end of the millenium. (A Note about the Supreme Opposite Number- he's a handpuppet that the Supreme Being talks to. The puppet talks in his own voice though. It's a bit reminiscent of Evan Dorkin's "Devil Puppet" strips.)
Mox decides she and Tangle need to hunt out her father Strutter, one of the original Time Bandits, to see if he has any suggestions on how to stop this from happening. They find the remains of the Time Bandits out of work and scrounging for a living. Strutter (Malcolm Dixon) is joined by Fidgit (Kenny Baker) and Og (Mike Edmonds) and Og's son Tubby (Was this the part that was rumored for Kenny Baker's son?). Wally (Jack Purvis) is despised by the group as he has moved into Upper Management and is in charge of the Accounting Department.
(Note: The characters of Randall and Vermin are mentioned in passing, but no indication is given as to where they are. In reality, David Rappaport, who played Randall, committed suicide in 1990. The IMDB gives no info on Tiny Ross, who played Vermin. Jack Purvis (Wally)'s part was written especially for him, knowing that he was paralyzed and in a wheel chair. Unfortunately, he passed away soon after this draft was completed.)
The group decide they need to see exactly how creation was saved from being shut off at the end of the first millenium in order to save it this time around. They go back to the Supreme Being's Treasury, steal a key from Wally and get the map that they used in the first film. Whilst rumaging about in the treasury, they accidenttly knock over the Ark of the Covenant (Which McKeown notes should look like the one in "Raiders"), summoning the guards. They find a some time portals (think of them laying in a stack like panes of glass) and they're off.
Their first stop is the bedroom of Polly, an 11 year old American girl, who spends more time in Internet chat rooms than with her working mother and stay at home, laid off dad.
With the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse on their trail, the group and Polly set off through history on a trip similar to the first film. They enounter a cleaniness obssessed pirate captain, inadvertantly participate in Joan of Arc's capture and discover that Julius Ceaser's assasination was faked so he could get away from his shrewish wife Calpernia.
The script is fun and might have made an enjoyable movie except for the fact that it echoes the first film too closely. The bandits first stop after stealing the map is again a child's bedroom. The Pirate Captain and the Joan of Arc bit both feel similar to the Robin Hood and Napoleon segments of the original.
The Julius Ceaser section is fun, even if though I doubt there are many 11 year old products of the American school system who know who could correctly identify who Calpernia is. It also introduces a neat idea where the Bandits, travel back in time for just a day and encounter their earlier selves. When the two groups get seperated though, one expects to see the second group again, but it doesn't happen.
Finally the group discovers that they are the ones who saved Creation at the end of the first millenium and so they have to try again. Just before the switch is thrown, the real Supreme Being returns, having been delayed while measuring infinity. The other Supreme Being (the one with the hand puppet) was just his servant and had gone crazy trying to keep things going for his boss.
Polly is returned to her home, where her parents wake just in time for the New Yer's eve countdown. Downstairs, she meets her mother's new boss, a man who looks suspicioulsy like the real Supreme Being. . .
One theme McKeown seems to explore in the script is the parent-child relationship. Mox seems to be embarrased by her father, but they soon come to understand each other better. Polly seems to have the same problem with her parents and comes to a similar happy ending with them as well. (No exploding parental units this time!) Unfortunately, this is still a weak element in this draft and hopefully would have been strengthened had the project continued forward.
"Time Bandits II"'s biggest failing is that it doesn't feel like it fits in with the first one at some level. Gilliam explains that "Time Bandits" is part of a thematic trilogy about Dreamers, specifically the Dreamer as a youth. ("Brazil" is the dreamer at the middle of life and "Baron Muchausen" is the dreamer at old age.) There's no deeper theme to the sequel and perhaps it's for that reason that it just doesn't seem like a worthy successor to the first film. If McKeown had more time to devlop the parent/sibling aspect some more, maybe it would have worked better. (Or perhaps by making Polly the daughter of Kevin from the first film, there would be a stronger tie in- how would Kevin in maturity and stuck in the modern world recall his youthful adventures? What kind of parent would he be? Lots of possibilities there. . .)
But with Purvis' passing and other factors, "Time Bandits II" unfortunately joins the vast list of films that only are screened in the world of "What Might Have Been."
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Jan. 23, 2001, 5:18 a.m. CST
You're first, think of something witty to say goddammit!
Jan. 23, 2001, 5:21 a.m. CST
Loved the Time Bandits movie, would like to see a sequal but not sure this would work without David Rappaport. Perhaps, in respect to his memory, this idea is better left being just that.
Jan. 23, 2001, 5:33 a.m. CST
as much as i love time banndits, i dont think a sequel now will or should happen.
Jan. 23, 2001, 6:02 a.m. CST
When I caught TIME BANDITS on its first go-round in American theaters, I talked it up endlessly for weeks at school, and got pummeled into silence by everyone around me who apparently preferred PORKYS sequels and whatever other horseshit was playing in theaters at the time. I'm NOT a big fan of sequels -- they're almost always a waste and an embarrassment to an original film (the worst ever, of course, being HIGHLANDER 2: WE WERE JUST KIDDING ABOUT THE HIGHLANDER THING; THEY'RE REALLY ALIENS, AND WE'RE ABOUT TO SUCK AWAY NOT ONLY YOUR MONEY BUT YOUR MENTAL BALANCE AND BELIEF IN A GOOD AND LOVING CREATOR) but for a chance to slip back into the universe of the Bandits? Woulda loved it. Such a shame about the passing of Rappaport and Purvis...
Jan. 23, 2001, 6:57 a.m. CST
Oh great, just when I had finally gotten highlander 2 out of my head, awell back to the therapist with me. But why do so many people put down sequels when we have such examples as 'Wrath of Khan', 'T2', 'Empire Strikes Back' and so on. Sure there's ALOT of sequels that just suck, but there's also alot of movies out there without sequels that suck just as bad...If someone fails at making a good sequel, just do what the highlander people did, and what we all do, just pretend it never happened :) And finally, as far as 'Time Bandits' I wish they would make more movies with obscure endings like that, that movie was truly original in it style, I loved it! But it's probably best just to leave it as it was a classic, now that much of the old cast is gone, no one could ever do a sequel any justice... "There Master! The map! I see it!" "Where?" "There Master, the little one has it!" ".....The little one?!?!?"
Jan. 23, 2001, 8:13 a.m. CST
There are several reasons cool projects get shelved while dreck gets grenlighted. One reason is that the studio doesn't get the cool stuff. They pass on something that is experimental and go with something they presume to be safe. Another reason is rights. Crocodile Dundee Up My Ass has no ownership issues, and will present no nagging legal entanglements for the studio. Which brings us to the biggest reason, budget. The studio will always greenlight a $20 million movie they think will gross $35 million before they will greenlight a $100 million dollar movie they think will gross $115 million. The bigger budget means a bigger risk, and movies like Time Bandits 2 or Alien vs. Predator would have very big budgets.
Jan. 23, 2001, 8:58 a.m. CST
If this ever left the ground, I hope upon hope that the eleven year old girl is NOTHING like the girls from the Jurassic Park film. Whining know-it-alls. "This is a UNIX system" still pummels my brain to this day. Why can't they have more child acresses like the one from the last Boy Scout, a vicious foul-mouthed tearaway.
Jan. 23, 2001, 9:01 a.m. CST
by Wee Willie
He mentions that the first one was made for a paltry 5 million. They could easily make a sequel for 15-20 million if they used the same clever techniques as in the first one (Techniques which served to give the film it's unique visual style). However, they'd need Michael Palin to do a pass on the script to give it the same humor and verve as the original. The RULE on this one should be NO CGI. Not one frame of it. I just about had a heart attack when I read about a sequel. Say, I live in Toronto and work in the film business and have been told that Craig Warnock, who played the brilliant hero in the first film, lives and works here as an assistant dirtector. Can anyone confirm this? I think his performance in Time Bandits is among the best performaces by a kid I've ever seen. (And that includes Bicycle Thieves and E.T.)
Jan. 23, 2001, 9:33 a.m. CST
by Jack Hit
Why is it that Hollywood keeps ramming sequels down our throat? I know, I know - business-wise they are sure of a certain number of viewers based purely upon how successful the original one was - so maybe I should ask another question... Why do we fall for it 9 times out of ten like a bunch of kids making themselves sick on sweets? We KNOW about the rule of diminishing returns. We KNOW that the majority of films they actually make sequels from were generally only brightly packaged same-old-same-old. We KNOW that truly great sequels are rarer than straight bananas but still we go. By fronting up the cash for these films we licence - no, Encourage - the studios to continue churning out this crap. Whoa! Don't get me wrong. I loved Time Bandits myself - but the description of the sequel showed that it would have brought absolutely nothing new into the world. It may have been a bit of fun to watch, but it just would have been the same story with different jokes. And if it was poular enough they would have done another one. Not everything has to be Art in cinema, not everything has to have vast emotional or intellectual depth - but for Christ's sake, wouldn't it be lovely if film-makers and studios tried for a bit of originality (like the original Time Bandits). The sequels that stand out - the GOOD ones that you'll all start quoting now - they're the one's that the makers have put the effort into. The one's where they've taken the original premise and expanded on it to take in a wider scope, or focussed in on areas under-developed in the originals. So Time Bandits II... nice idea for the nostalgic, but no thanks. But something different... something with the imagination and energy of Time Bandits? Bring it on baby!!!
Jan. 23, 2001, 10:20 a.m. CST
I wish Gilliam would do Watchmen. I know he said he couldn't do justice. I know Moore said the story should never be made into a movie. I realized that leagions of fan boys would probably be dissappointed in the final product but damn it, I swear this is the movie Gilliam was born to direct. Yes the script sucked, throw it out and do something new. He could just focus on the years from 77 to 85. Ok, I'll go and take my meds now. :)
Jan. 23, 2001, 10:21 a.m. CST
From the sound of it , this was less a remake and more of a weak remake.What happened to the heavy fairytale fantasy stuff that made up a lot of the original..that was its strongest point.Joan of Arc and the meeting themselves bit, has been covered , by Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey.They more or less exhausted the plundering thru history and meeting famous peaple bit.It would have been nice to see Gillian return to whimsical fantasy ..after the likes of Fear and loathing ..but Time bandits was a great little one off curiosity...they should leave it at that.Oh and what is about midgets , not being able to act???They seem to have their own unique ,shit acting style.Willow is torture to sit thru!!
Jan. 23, 2001, 12:45 p.m. CST
Right? And The Baron makes it a trilogy. If we're going to crap all over the original, why not just make Time Bandits a Saturday morning cartoon and have done with it?
Jan. 23, 2001, 3:47 p.m. CST
Aliens Vs Predator, treated correctly could have been an absolutely phenomenal accomplishment (as a nature documentary, with David Attenborough narrating over)....
Jan. 23, 2001, 5:58 p.m. CST
by Sith Lord Jesus
. . .I believe that TIME BANDITS II is one of those wonderful ideas that should remain just that--an idea. And as for sequels. . .for every WRATH OF KHAN released, there's got to be a half dozen LETHAL WEAPON IV's.
Jan. 23, 2001, 8:19 p.m. CST
The original was great and to do another sequal to anything so long after the original seems like they need some more money ...but I will still go and see it or mabey wait for the DVD
Jan. 23, 2001, 9:25 p.m. CST
...that you are a product of the system you malign, to wit: "The Julius Ceaser section is fun, even if though I doubt there are many 11 year old products of the American school system who know who could correctly identify who Calpernia is." 1. "even if though" Does anyone understand this? 2. Caesar spelled incorrectly 3. "who know who ..." WTF is up with this absurd bastardization of the language? 4. Calpurnia spelled incorrectly My Dear Reno, I propose that most 11 year old products of the American school system have a more complete mastery of the English language than you have demonstrated. These oversights make me wonder if you are nothing more than an 11 year old stretching your wings and trying to bullshit everyone. Please temper your future posts with a spell check pogam or a a grrammmar revue if'n u wish to be takn seriuslee.
Jan. 24, 2001, 7:11 a.m. CST
I had to rewatch Time Bandits last night. Amazing the hidden jokes in this film. But sadly, with the original cast gone it wouldn't make much sense. It will feel forced. The bond between the robbers is what made this movie great. I also love how they view Kevin as an equal...as if this child had been their gang member all along. Though we Fanboys hate to say...sometimes less is more (see: Highlander).
Jan. 24, 2001, 11:06 a.m. CST
Twonkenn, you hit it right on the head, I would rather their not be a sequel if it meant every time the movie came up i'd also have to groan and bring up the terrible mistake that someone made trying to profit off of a classic. Hell, now i've gotta go out today and buy that movie...and continue to groan over Highlander 2 and 3...
Jan. 24, 2001, 9:27 p.m. CST
what made time bandits so good for those of us who were kids when we first saw it was the fact that it was the boy's story, not the gang of midgets. he waits for them in his bedroom, he splits with them for a while in ancient greece, and most importantly, he's left to fend for himself at the end. this new script sounds like a story about creation with as many clever jokes jammed into it as possible, and the kid thrown in as an afterthought. a sequel 20 years after the original is obviously a bad idea. hollywood can have the brady bunch, charlie's angels, and scooby fuckin doo, i don't give a shit about them anyway. leave me one piece--just one little old piece of well crafted nostalgia that i can enjoy for the rest my days in peace, without having to grimmace in agonizing pain every time i hear, see, or think about the fact that a substandard copy was made, which is exactly what this would be if it ever became a reality.
Feb. 18, 2001, 8:46 p.m. CST
No (space) one could possibly play the 'ol SB except Sir Ralph Richardson, who sadly is also departed. Yeah, please leave this project in somebody's filing cabinet. "Aliens v Predators" would be pretty cool, but may I suggest we throw the Vogons into the mix? Their poetry would have killed Ah-nuld and Danny Glover in seconds. And why do you people keep talking about "Highlander 2"? There was no sequel to "Highlander"; everyone knows that. Next you'll try to tell me there was a "Highlander 3", or that they're even planning a "Jurassic Park 3"...no (space) one could be that stupid...
Jan. 9, 2004, 12:37 a.m. CST
So, will there be a "Time Bandits" Sequel?
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