Monty Python and the Holy Grail (40th Anniversary Edition) Blu-ray Review
Have you ever been talking to someone about a specific movie and you realize that the person you’re talking to has never seen it? It’s a universal feeling and it’s a bit disingenuous to respond with shock if they haven’t, especially if it’s a new movie. We all have busy lives and have busy schedules, and for some of us, movies just aren’t that big of a deal. We’re all guilty of doing this at some point and I’ve tried to better myself about doing this to people that I know. But if you seriously haven’t seen MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL, what the hell are you doing with your life?
Comedy is such a subjective thing, that when a movie can transcend time, gender, language, and nearly every other barrier, it is truly something special. MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL is one of those movies. Much like AIRPLANE! and other comedy classics, it finds its humor in silliness, subversiveness and highbrow foulness. It is unrelenting in its attempt to tickle your funny bone.
The movie follows King Arthur (Chapman) and his knights of the round table. They’re on a mission from God to find the Holy Grail, a Christian symbol that in real life has blurred the lines between bizarre factoids and literary storytelling. In this movie, the mystery and search for the Holy Grail serves as our Trojan Horse to sassy Frenchmen, smarter than the filth they’re covered in villagers, the acknowledgement of bad set pieces, surreal animated sequences, and a murderous rabbit.
Even with the general acceptance of rampant brainlessness by characters and story arcs, there’s a hint of genius behind everything. The Arthurian legend in which it’s mocking is very faithful and there are even some historical pokes and prods, such as the self-abusing monks. Despite all the talk now by the Monty Python troupe about how they barely put any effort into the crafting of the jokes and plot, the comedy group are very serious about being stupid.
That halfhearted attempt at comedy and story, in its own regard, is what adds to the Monty Python charm. Acknowledging on-screen that there’s an endearing lazy effort at work should win any audience over. There have been movies since MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL that have tried to blend self-parody, dry wit, and silliness just as seamlessly, but nothing has ever come quite close. The accomplishment on screen makes MONTY PYTHON an instant classic and a must own for anyone who says they’re a comedy aficionado.
There’s never a dull moment in MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL with the array of visual and verbal gags, along with the jokes within jokes. Without a single hiccup and doing everything right, MONTY PYTHON AND THE HOLY GRAIL is one of the longest lasting best comedies out there. Even after the death of its stars and my own life, it’ll still be watched and revered. It truly is a comedy for everyone and it will remain the biggest feather in the Monty Python cap.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 1:78:1) For every blurry and grainy bit of footage, there are some significantly clear presentations when it comes to picture quality. Some scenes are wonderfully pristine and some scenes are best suited for VHS.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The soundtrack remains lossless, but just like the video quality, it has its hits and misses.
Commentary with John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin: I can see why there are two separate commentaries from a timing standpoint. With these three, it doesn’t feel like there’s enough time for them to pour out all their thoughts. The amount of stories they share are so condensed and hurried, that you feel like a written history of the making of this movie should be authored by all of them. They share stories and laugh like old college roommates about the times they had, miserable or not.
Commentary with Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones: The humor and storytelling in this commentary is on par with the previous one, but it feels like there are more stories about the pain of actually shooting the movie more than there is the methodology behind the acting. Splitting up these commentaries was a solid idea since it offers two humorous commentaries, but starkly different looks at the classic movie.
2015 Tribeca Film Fesitval Q&A with Terry, Terry, Mike, John and Eric! (30:18): Comedian John Oliver attempts to keep all five of these men in line as they avoid questions from the audience and act like a couple of drunken pals reconnecting at the bar. It’s a very fun and hilarious feature.
Outtakes and Extended Scenes (18:57): Terry Gilliam introduces a couple of the new outtakes and deleted scenes he managed to dig out of the Monty Python vault. This blu-ray also attaches previous outtakes and deleted scenes.
Lost Animations (12:55): Once again Gilliam introduces some more treasure that could have possibly been forever lost. These are animations that were cut from the movie.
Quest for the Holy Grail Locations (47:00): This feature revisits many of the film locations throughout the movie. It’s a visual road trip complimented with stories about the pains of shooting specific scenes.
Lego Knights (1:43): The famous Camelot scene done with Legos. It’s a very old video that was most likely circulated on the Internet during the 90’s.
Japanese Version (8:34): A few scenes featuring the Japanese dub of the movie.
Coconuts (2:58): A fake public service announcement on creating your own coconuts to mimic riding on a horse.
BBC Film Night (17:12): A BBC feature from 1974 about the making of the movie. It has interviews with cast and crew as they shoot and act on set. It’s very much an old TV feature/advertisement for the movie.
Sing-Along (5:10): A sing along feature that has the musical scenes with lyrics popping up at the bottom of the screen. It has the songs “Knights of the Round Table”, “Sir Robin”, and the “Monks Chant”.
Subtitles for People Who Do Not Like the Film (From Henry IV Pt. 11): Features mocking subtitles for English, Chinese Traditional, Japanese, and Portuguese
Cast Directory Photo Gallery: A very buggy and unnecessary feature.
Original Theatrical Trailer