I had the good fortune to see Time Bandits in the theater before Terry Gilliam became TERRY GILLIAM (which he did shortly around the time he became the artistic "martyr" for Brazil), so I had the freedom to just see it as a movie, and the audience expecting another post-Python Life of Brian:
Gilliam, with his usual self-aggrandizement about how "satirical" he thought he was, reportedly thought he was doing some biting cynical Swiftian deconstruction of childhood fantasy, but I can recall kids who thought there was never a better Harry Potter-ish fantasy than the opening scenes, or the whole segment with Sean Connery. (Even the scenes at the beginning with our hero's parents have a distinctly Dursley-ish feel to them.)
If you can see the movie with THAT open mind, it's a fun movie, but if you even try to retroactively fan-compare it to Brazil, 12 Monkeys or Fear & Loathing, I will buy a plane ticket to wherever you live and hit you.
(And no one's tempted by The Thin Blue Line, the movie that first made Errol Morris ERROL MORRIS in the way Gates of Heaven didn't? I'd have thought it was worth buying for the Phillip Glass score alone.)