STUDIO: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
MSRP: $29.95
RUNNING TIME: 92 Minutes
Subtitles for People Who Don’t Like This Movie
On-Screen Screenplay
Commentary w/ Pythons
"Follow the Killer Rabbit" trivia feature
"A Taste of Spamalot" featurette
"The Holy Grail Challenge" trivia quizzes
"Secrets of the Holy Grail" trailer
"The Quest for the Holy Grail Locations" featurette
"How to Use Your Coconuts" featurette
"Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Japanese" segment
"Knights of the Round Table in LEGO"
Interactive Cast Directory
BBC clips
Unused locations
Unused ideas
Other fiddly bits

The Pitch

like history, only better!"

The Humans

Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Terry Gilliam, Michael Palin.

The Nutshell

Arthur (Chapman) and his Knights of the Round Table venture far and wide in a
God-given quest for the Holy Grail. Along the way, semi-related sketch comedy

You know The Game? I just made you lose The Game.

The Lowdown

We’re at
a strange place in time as regards Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
There’s not much in the way of new critical methods that have been developed
since the film was first released, which means it’s kind of hard to write
something new about it. Also, it has entered a position in popular folklore
which makes it about as hard to criticize as the stories of Paul Bunyan or John
Henry. Sure, they can be deconstructed a bit, but they’re more cultural
artifacts now than pieces of entertainment.

bitch, bitch, bitch, Ian." I can’t argue that Holy Grail will stand as
a lasting piece of world fiction, since it contains very few of those qualities
which cause stories to survive. It has no depth, no thesis, and consistent
reward. What it does possess, in spades, is the quintessence of a comedic
tradition. The irreverence and apparent spontaneity of sketch comedy grew in
popularity in the twentieth century before dimming somewhat for more narrative
approaches. It wouldn’t be hard to debate that other troupes and individuals
did such comedy better than the Monty Python guys, but few have such great name
recognition. (Even if many people who recognize the name think that there is a
man named Monty Python in charge of the troupe.)

It’s so easy to put words into his mouth. Size of that yawn,
you could fit antidisestablishmentarianism in there.

In term
sof narrative cohesion and nuanced humor, Life of Brian beats the crap out of Holy
, but the latter is much easier to bring an audience into. A few
of its segments reward a careful attention and repeat viewings, though. Michael
Palin’s brilliant lesson in civics to the politically dense King Arthur bites
and entertains in perfect balance, while the famous witch burning sketch
cleverly defangs history. For the most part, though, the sketches that make up
the movie are of the "fire and forget" type; they’re clever,
occasionally hilarious, and generally in no need of repeat viewings. Once
you’ve laughed, you’ve gotten all there was to be had.

essentially my problem with the film: it survives not so much on its own merit
but on the bloody-mindedness of its fans. It is easily above-average in terms
of its writing, unique in terms of its direction, but continues to enjoy life
based on the nostalgia of its fans, and on the initial gut-busting laughter of its
new discoverers which will one day turn into nostalgia. I’m naturally
distrustful of any film which appeals so much to good memory instead of good
criticism. Fondness is an investment of the audience, not a quality of the film

You know that sound that Dracula makes? Kinda like a "blah!" and the sound
Ralph uses to make his motorcycle go? Yeah, I wish I could type that.

The Package

Now: you
must decide whether or not you need this super-special three disc set. To make
it easier, let’s go ahead and discount the third disc. It’s the soundtrack
album that has been available for decades, packaged alongside the pair of
feature discs which are largely identical to those of previous DVD releases of
the film. The soundtrack album is fun to listen to; it’s a fine adaptation of
cinematic humor to the style of radio entertainment, but it’s not exactly new
or difficult to get ahold of outside of this collection.

There are
a number of bonuses reproduced from previous editions of the film, but the
authors saw fit to include a few bits of brand new. These are:

Taste of Spamalot," which is a bit of Gilliam-esque animation cut together
with some of the original songs from the cast album of the Spamalot album. This
means Tim Curry for you! Along with the still, small voice saying that you
ought to buy the Spamalot cast album.

A new
trivia game called "The Holy Grail Challenge," which features several
categories to choose from, including a quiz for those who don’t like the movie.

out the brandy-new features is a trailer for the box set you presumably have
already bought.

I know. It’s more than I deserve.

And then
there is the list as long as an orangutan’s arm of the special features you may
well have encountered on previous releases, including:

The film
remastered in high definition, though this isn’t an HD-DVD; 5.1 Dolby surround;
subtitles in English and French; subtitles for People Who Don’t Like This Film;
on-screen screenplay; a commentary track with the surviving members of the
troupe; a "Follow the Killer Rabbit" feature trivia game; a
"special feature" for the hard of hearing; the original mono
soundtrack, for those who feel it necessary; sing-a-longs; location scouting
with Michael Palin and Terry Jones; a PSA on How to Use Your Coconuts;
"Monty Python in Japanese;" the "Knights of the Round
Table" musical sequence animated in LEGO; a BBC segment from a screening
in 1974; an interactive cast directory; still arts from Gilliam and promotional
material; photos; "A Load of Rubbish;" unused location guide; unused
ideas; and the brilliant trailers.

Many of
these bonuses are here only for the humor of it all, and they’ve all got a
glorious irreverence which mirrors the content of the film just perfectly. It’s
a loving treatment of a well-liked film, but, y’know… it’s been loved a few too
many times already.

6.8 out of 10