-This review pertains to the Monty Python and the Holy Grail 2-disc Special Edition DVD-
In 1974 the bad boys of British comedy decided to create a full-length motion picture, which was destined for greatness (or at least mediocrity disguised as greatness). Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a totally distasteful classic of almost epic proportions. The film stars John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, and Terry Gilliam, who not only acts but also serves as the film's co-director and animator. Each member of Monty Python is perfect in their (dis)respective roles, but standing out from the others is the late Graham Chapman, who plays King Arthur as the "straight character". Chapman portrays Arthur as a serious, heroic figure who is completely unaware of his self-satirizing surroundings.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail begins with a series of gags involving mock-Swedish subtitles and of all things, moose and llamas. After some of the strangest credits ever, the first scene opens on an epic shot of the mist-shrouded moors of medieval Britain. Two men come galloping heroically into view. What's odd is that neither of them are on horses. In fact, one of them is simply banging two halves of a coconut shell together to simulate the sound of hoof beats. Thus hilarity ensues. The story also includes such memorable characters as an obnoxious French "taunter", a three-headed knight, an effeminate prince who just wants to sing, a ghastly cartoon monster, and perhaps the most lethal rabbit ever put on film.
What makes the film so bloody funny is the complete lack of respect that it shows to Arthurian legend and medieval folklore. Both Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (the dementedly brilliant directors and co-stars) are quite familiar with medieval history and delight in lampooning it at every turn. The dialogue is perfectly ridiculous and that's precisely what makes it so entertaining. I won't go into great detail about the plot (ha-ha-ha!) or the innumerous zany characters other than to say it's absolutely irreverent and mad (something that seems common with the Pythons). Even the ending of the film is intentionally anti-climactic. But if you want British comedy without restraint, then check out this classic or, "I'll wave my private parts at your aunties, you cheesy lot of secondhand, electric-donkey bottom biters!" Oh, and don't forget your coconuts.
The 2-disc Special Edition DVD includes the following special features: an audio commentary by directors and stars Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, an audio commentary by John Cleese, Eric Idle, and Michael Palin, "Follow the Killer Rabbit" feature, "Subtitles for People Who Don't Like the Film" (taken from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II), On-Screen Screenplay, three Sing-Alongs, "The Quest for the Holy Grail" documentary, "BBC Film Night: On Location with Monty Python and the Holy Grail" vintage featurette, two scenes from the Japanese language version of the film, "How to Use Your Coconuts" instructional featurette, "Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Lego" short film, extensive image galleries, an Interactive Cast Directory, and theatrical trailers.
You know, I would've loved to have been in the audience when Monty Python and the Holy Grail was first shown. I'm picturing a fair amount of laughter, but also quite a bit of confusion and critics saying, "What the hell did I just see?" That was certainly the case when Roger Ebert reviewed the first Monty Python movie, And Now For Something Completely Different. He seemed very interested in the audience reaction during his review, and I imagine the audience reaction during the first screenings for … more
Of all the films and television programs produced by airborne members of the Flying Circus, I consider this to be their greatest achievement. Co-authored and then co-directed Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones (two rather silly people indeed), this film makes at least some effort to recreate a distant period in history and from a somewhat 20th century perspective. Apparently available funds were limited because Gilliam and Junes could not afford to rent horses and thus were forced to simulate them with … more
This movie is funny, it has so many funny lines, that you can taunt your enemies for years to come, using lines from THe Holy Grail. Monty Python may be a bit of a refined humour, that has it's fans and the non-fans who just don't like it. That's fine, this was my second Python movie ( after Eric the Viking) and I fell deeply for this humor. THe Python Boys take on so many different roles that they themselves said they loose track of who's who. The speicla edition DVD has behind scenes … more
For those who don't "get" the humor in this movie, it may seem like a 90 minute detour into one of the outer circles of hell. Actors playing multiple roles, idiots smacking coconut shells together to make horse-sounds, men playing most of the female roles, modern-day police tracking medieval knights, the use of the word "nee" to a huge extent and lots of blood gouting from gory wounds. For those people, I can only have pity.Because to love HOLY GRAIL is to establish a life-long friendship. I've … more
Could this be the funniest movie ever made? By any rational measure of comedy, this medieval romp from the Monty Python troupe certainly belongs on the short list of candidates. According to Leonard Maltin's Movie & Video Guide, it's "recommended for fans only," but we say hogwash to that--you could be a complete newcomer to the Python phenomenon and still find this send-up of the Arthurian legend to be wet-your-pants hilarious. It's basically a series of sketches woven together as King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, with Graham Chapman as the King, Terry Gilliam as his simpleton sidekick Patsy, and the rest of the Python gang filling out a variety of outrageous roles. The comedy highlights are too numerous to mention, but once you've seen Arthur's outrageously bloody encounter with the ominous Black Knight (John Cleese), you'll know that nothing's sacred in the Python school of comedy. From holy hand grenades to killer bunnies to the absurdity of the three-headed knights who say "Ni--!," this is the kind of movie that will strike you as fantastically funny or just plain silly, but why stop there? It's all over the map, and the pace lags a bit here and there, but for every throwaway gag the Pythons have invented, there's a bit of subtle business or grand-scale insanity that's utterly inspired. The sum of this madness is a movie that's beloved by anyone with a pulse and an irreverent sense of humor. If...