Study Guide

Time Bandits Good vs. Evil

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Good vs. Evil

EVIL: No one created me! I am Evil! Evil existed long before good. I made myself. I cannot be unmade. I am all-powerful!

He's not, of course, and we find out at the end that God most definitely made him. But his blindness on this front is one of the few weaknesses we see in him. Evil is a pretty arrogant dude, which seems to be his most defining character trait.

EVIL: God isn't interested in technology. He cares nothing for the microchip or the silicon revolution. Look how he spends his time, 43 species of parrots! Nipples for men!

ROBERT: Slugs?

EVIL: Slugs! He created slugs! They can't hear. They can't speak. They can't operate machinery. Are we not in the hands of a lunatic?

Here is a more precise definition of Evil: someone interested in technology and machines instead of living things. It's not exactly subtle, but it gets the point across.

KEVIN: Who was that man?

FIDGIT: That was no man. That was the Supreme Being.

KEVIN: You mean God?

FIDGIT: Well, we don't know him that well. We only work for him.

Here's a little humor used to describe God. It's an old vaudeville gag, but it reminds us that you can poke fun at good from time to time. Good can take it.

AGAMEMNON: All three are to receive summary executions today. If the queen wishes to see me, I'll be in the courts all afternoon. Remind the queen that I still rule this city.

Agamemnon is presented as kind of an ideal hero, but as we discuss in "King Agamemnon," there's some darkness flirting around the edges of his life. Here, we catch a little glimpse of it: the politics and hard edges that he doesn't show either us or Kevin.

RANDALL: Cheer up, Kevin. Kings aren't the only ones with money, you know.

KEVIN: The money wasn't important to him.

Now, here's an interesting question: is being greedy in and of itself evil? The dwarves are definitely greedy, and that's what lands the map in Evil's hands. There may not be an answer...although we certainly have our suspicions, and Kevin's lack of greed definitely speaks well to his character.

WINSTON: You try being beastly and terrifying when you can only get one hour's sleep a night because your back hurts, and you daren't cough in case you pull a muscle.

MRS. OGRE: But you are horrible, dear.

WINSTON: You're just sayin' that.

Here's another paradox. These two are clearly evil—they intend to boil the dwarves and eat them, after all—and yet they really, truly love each other. Can anyone who loves another be truly evil? And if so, how does that explain the presence of love in their lives?

KEVIN: Yes. Why do we have to have evil?

SUPREME BEING: Ah...I think it's something to do with free will.

God is really good at dodging questions like this, but the more formal explanation sheds a little more light on it. Good doesn't mean anything, philosophically speaking, if we're forced to do it. We have to choose to do good, and if it is a choice, then evil has to exist by default. It's not ideal—too many of us fail the test too often—but it's the only way to make genuine good mean anything.

SUPREME BEING: I should do something very extroverted and vengeful to you. Honestly, I'm too tired. So, I think I'll transfer you to the undergrowth department, brackens, more shrubs, that sort of thing...with a 19 percent cut in salary, backdated to the beginning of time.

RANDALL: Oh, thank you, sir.

SUPREME BEING: Yes, well, I am the nice one.

He may be good, but he feels like a senile old banker sometimes. At least his punishments are of the material variety—a cut in pay—which is something the dwarves definitely respond to.

DIANE: Honestly, Trevor, if you were half a man, you would've gone in there after the blender.

People often talk about the banality of evil, how it exists every day in the world and how it looks a lot more like indifference than the kind of Darth Vader-y evil we expect. Evil in the real world? It's more about parents who are more worried about their kitchen appliances than their only child.

KEVIN: Mom! Dad! It's evil! Don't touch it!

You can't say he didn't warn them—and isn't it interesting that the piece of Evil shows up in the toaster oven Kevin's parents obsess about? It's almost as if their focus on stuff somehow drew that piece to them…

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