Camelot (it’s only a model) gets a Blu-ray upgrade as the comedy classic Monty Python and the Holy Grail comes to Blu-ray loaded with bonus material and still bringing the laughs. On the format, the film has considerable grain, but you are too busy laughing to notice any problems with the picture.
Released in 1974 and directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones, the film stars Monty Python’s Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Gilliam, Jones, and Michael Palin. It also features Connie Booth (who looks like a witch), Carol Cleveland, Neil Innes, Bee Duffell, John Young, and Rita Davies.
The film is easily one of the most quotable comedies ever released and stays funny no matter how many times you see it. I had the fun of watching it with my 13-year-old son (who had never seen anything Monty Python before), and enjoyed it even more as he cracked up from the second King Arthur (Chapman) appears on screen with Patsy (Gilliam) – who is banging to empty coconut halves together.
Some of the jokes were over his head, but the outrageousness of Monty Python kept him interested all the way to the end – which he wondered if it was really the ending of the movie or just another joke.
For those who haven’t seen it, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is probably the best of the Python movies, and one of the best comedies ever made. Its plot (if you can really say the film has a plot) follows a somewhat dim King Arthur as he gathers his Knights of the Round Table, heading to Camelot (before deciding it is a silly place) and eventually being told by God to go on a quest to find the Holy Grail.
Along the way, King Arthur has to deal with the Black Knight (Cleese), who doesn’t know the meaning of defeat even if he is lacking his arms and legs; rather rude French knights, who like to taunt the king; and his subjects who aren’t quite sure how he became king since a tart handing out weaponry is no basis for a government.
The film then breaks the plot up to focus on chapters from the individual knights from the Book of the film (expect for Sir Not Appearing in this Film).
Sir Galahad the Pure (Palin) has his adventure at Castle Anthrax after being led there by a Grail-shaped beacon and tempted by the castle's women - who would like to put his purity to the test. Arthur and Sir Bedevere (Jones) encounter the deadly Knights who say Ni with their only hope of survival depending on their ability to deliver a shrubbery!
Sir Lancelot the Brave (Cleese) receives a message of a maiden trapped in Swamp Castle and sets off to rescue her before her father can force her to marry. After he slaughters half the wedding guest and kicks the bride in the face, Lancelot discovers the maiden is actually the Lord's feminine son - who has a tendency to break out into song. Finally, Sir Robin the Chicken (Idle) encounters a Three-Headed Giant but avoids bloodshed by bravely running away.
Reunited, King Arthur and his knights stumble upon Tim the Enchanter (Cleese) who takes the group to a cave where the location of the Grail is carved onto the walls. Before they can get into the cave, they have to beat the deadly Rabbit of Caerbannog. Luckily, the group has Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch to take care of the blood thirsty bunny.
The movie wraps up as nutty as it started with Arthur and Bedevere discovering the castle where the Grail is hidden only to find the French knights there. The knights taunt Arthur another time before the king orders his army (which appears out of nowhere) to attack. The ending left my 13-year-old son saying “huh?” and then he made us watch the black screen for several minutes to make sure the movie was actually over.
Although the Blu-ray picture might not be quite as pristine as some releases on the format, the bonus features more than make up for any problems with the picture. Features include commentary with Cleese, Idle, Palin, Jones and Gilliam; Lego knights performing the “Knights of the Round Table” song; a special Japanese version; an educational film on how to use your coconuts; three sing along songs; photo gallery; outtakes and extended scenes; lost animations with an introduction from Gilliam. The Blu-ray also includes the excellent Holy Book of Days Second Screen Experience.
Thanks to the wealth of bonus material and the fact it is laugh-out-loud funny no matter how many times you see it, the Blu-ray edition of Monty Python and the Holy Grail is worth the purchase price no matter how many other versions of the film you already own. This is a movie that just gets funnier with every viewing and belongs in every movie fan’s collection.
Visit the DVD database for more information.