Gilliam plays with our sense of reality in Time Bandits, careening us from one era to the next before finishing the movie up in a giant metaphor brought to life: the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness.
But once that's all wrapped up, Gilliam seems to fall back on one of the hoariest clichés in moviedom: the old "it was all a dream" gag. Kevin wakes up in his smoky bedroom, just in time to be pulled out by a firefighter and plopped on his front lawn.
That's what it seems like, anyway. And yet Kevin still has all of the pictures he took on the journey stuck in his satchel, which seem like tangible evidence that all was real. Then there's the piece of pure Evil in the toaster that literally smokes his mom and pop. Those details throw a little water on the notion that it was all a dream, suggesting instead that God put Kevin back home knowing what he had accomplished, maybe to supply some of that hard-earned wisdom to the world.