Study Guide

Time Bandits Materialism

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Your Money or Your Life

Stuff is bad. Just ask this movie.

One of the big, underlying messages of Time Bandits is that an obsession with stuff leaves humanity soulless, dull, and possibly evil. We see the effects of materialism on Kevin's parents, with their inane obsession with kitchen appliances; on Evil, with his focus on "lasers, 8 o'clock, day one!"; and perhaps most importantly in Your Money or Your Life, the idiotic game show spewing out of the TV in Kevin's house.

We're not sure what the rules of the game are, what the contestants win, or even if there's any point to the whole thing. We don't much care. The empty chattering of its host puts us to sleep in the worst possible way. It's the kind of sleep after which you wake up with your wallet empty and your shoes missing.

As far as Time Bandits is concerned, Your Money or Your Life is emblematic of exactly the kind of world that Evil wants to make: a world of people obsessed with empty stuff, constantly sporting creepily large grins and unable to think about or discuss anything but this fabulous prize or that one-of-a-kind deal. It's a world where everyone is an accountant or a used-car salesman, where machines reign supreme, and where happiness is a surface emotion, used only to hide how miserable everyone is.

Uhh, that doesn't sound totally unlike our real world…

But anyway, that's probably why when Evil tempts the dwarves with the Most Fabulous Object in the World, he makes it look exactly like something on that cruddy little show.

Note the title of the show: Your Money or Your Life. That's actually pretty much the literal choice people have in this movie: if you're all about money, you lose your life (sometimes metaphorically and sometimes literally), while if you want to live a real life, you have to stop focusing on money and stuff all the time.

Pretty simple.

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