Study Guide

Time Bandits Escape

Escape

RANDALL: We can explain everything, sir. It's not as bad as it looks. We...we just borrowed the map and...sort of got rather happy about it and...ran off in high spirits.

Apparently, working for God isn't as great a gig as we'd hoped it might be. Why else are these little dudes so keen to get away from it?

NAPOLEON: You are the best thing to happen to me since this whole campaign. You know I come here to conquer Italy because I thought they were all small. You know, I hear they was really tiny guys...

Almost everyone in this movie is looking to get away from something or someone. In Napoleon's case, he's looking for people his own size...which sends him to Italy, and eventually causes him to make the dwarves his generals.

RANDALL: You see, to be quite frank, Kevin, the fabric of the universe is far from perfect. It was a bit of a botched job, you see. We only had seven days to make it. And that's where this comes in. This is the only map of all the holes. Well, why repair them? Why not use them to get stinking rich?

We're not sure we agree with the logic, but there's definitely no denying that the map helps. The map's primary function here seems to be as a means of escape. Don't like where you're at? Just wait for a time hole and step away from it all.

KEVIN: You know, I never, ever want to go back.

AGAMEMNON: Don't you want to see all your friends again?

KEVIN: No, thanks.

AGAMEMNON: To be in your own home, to be with your own father and mother?

KEVIN: No.

AGAMEMNON: Very well, then.

Kevin doesn't talk much about his old life back in England, but with a few quick "no"s, we find out everything we need to know. He's not interested in going back, and in Agamemnon, he sees the person he's always wanted to be. That's somewhere worth escaping to.

VINCENT: I could scarce restrain the rushing of my feet. These 12 long years have been like chains that bound me.

PANSY: Oh. And the personal problem?

VINCENT: Much, much better. And now we will ride full tilt to Dover, and there embark for France!

PANSY: Oh, you don't have to wear the "special."

VINCENT: No, no, I don't have to wear the "special" anymore. Oh, Pansy. No more worries now, Pansy.

Pansy and Vincent are certainly keen to get away from England...though as we learn, they never quite manage it. Here, they end up being tied to a tree. In their future incarnation, they're on the Titanic, headed for America...before it hits an iceberg and sinks. No one, it seems, is able to get away in this movie, even with Vincent's personal problems—from which, we suspect, these is no escape.

CARTWRIGHT: But why, if that's the case, are you unable to escape from this fortress?

EVIL: That's a good question. Why have I let the Supreme Being keep me here in the Fortress of Ultimate Darkness?

ROBERT: Because you—

EVIL: Shut up, I'm speaking rhetorically.

ROBERT: Of course.

EVIL: I let him keep me here in order to lull him into a false sense of security.

ROBERT: Ah, clever, clever.

EVIL: When I have the map, I will be free...

The map is used as an instrument of escape for the dwarves, for Kevin, and for Evil, who clearly hasn't figured out that God will always be bigger than he is. But if the Supreme Being is always in charge of everything, is there really any escape at all, anyway?

SUPREME BEING: Return what you have stolen from me. Return the map!

KEVIN: There are two holes, Randall. Which one? Which one?

RANDALL: Go, Kevin! Just get away!

We'd just like to note that it's kind of absurd trying to escape the gaze of God, who made the whole universe and, as is eventually noted, is not entirely dim. It seems possible at this point, but the final twist shows us just how absurd the whole notion really is.

KEVIN: Now all we need is the map.

RANDALL: What? We don't need the map. We know where the time hole is. Let's get out of here.

KEVIN: But Evil's got the map, Randall!

RANDALL: Oh, damn right, he has. Last thing we want to do is see him again. Come on!

KEVIN: But you can't leave it with him, or he'll destroy the world.

Sometimes, escape is impossible, even when you have the means to do it. Duty and obligation can keep you in place regardless of what you'd much rather do.

FIDGIT: Sir?

SUPREME BEING: Yes?

FIDGIT: What about my friend, sir? Can he come with us?

SUPREME BEING: No, of course not. This isn't a school outing.

FIDGIT: But sir, he deserves something. I mean, without him...

SUPREME BEING: Oh, don't go on about it. He's got to stay here to carry on the fight.

There's no escaping life, it seems. Not until the big man is ready. Kevin doesn't find the escape he clearly craves...at least, not yet.

KEVIN: Mom? Dad?

Well, that's it for Kevin's parents. The question becomes whether that means Kevin has really escaped his dreary life. We're inclined to think that he has, and while there's probably more horrid grownup-ness headed his way, he has skills and memories from an extraordinary adventure to fall back on. That's the Supreme Being for you—giving you what you want in a way you never could have anticipated.

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