Saturday Movie Review – “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”

The Saturday Movie Reviews continue. Now that the
April Fool’s Day gag is over, and that I have home
Internet access, I’ll post a schedule of the
forthcoming reviews for all to see.

Cast, Crew, and Other Info

Graham Chapman as King Arthur and others

John Cleese as Sir Lancelot and others

Eric Idle as Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir
Lancelot and
others

Terry Gilliam as the Bridgekeeper and others

Terry Jones as Sir Bedevere and others

Michael Palin as Sir Galahad the Pure and others

Connie Booth as the Witch


Written by Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle,
Terry Gilliam,
Terry Jones, and Michael Palin.

Directed by Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones.

Complete information is available from the
IMDB
.

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past movie reviews can be found here.

Premise

King Arthur is given a holy quest to find the Holy
Grail.

Some Words on the DVD

I feel compelled to discuss the DVD features, as this
has one of the
best lists of special features I’ve seen. In addition
to the usual
subtitles (English, Spanish, French) it also includes
the screenplay
as subtitles, and the rather unique “Subtitles for
People Who Don’t
Like the Film (taken from Shakespeare’s Henry IV, part
II).” It
boasts a high definition widescreen transfer with pink
frilly edges,
commentary by the five remaining Pythons in two
commentary tracks, a
“Follow the Killer Rabbit” feature, a “special feature
for the Hard of
Hearing,” sing-alongs, an educational film on “How to
Use Your
Coconuts,” “Monty Python and the Holy Grail in Lego”
and a number of
other extras that are listed in detail at the
Amazon.com page. If
you’re one of those people who isn’t sure if they want
to pick it up,
the excellent features just might make it worth your
while.

High Point

“A moose once bit my sister” and so forth.

Low Point

The set-up to the ending was sudden, and as it only
involved on
individual, it didn’t really work to end things as it
did. That
should have been tweaked to better integrate the
ending into the
film. It should have involved more knights, or at
least clearly used
Arthur/Graham.

The Scores

This is original. Though the ending has
structural problems,
it is certainly unique. There are a number of
self-referential gags,
and a number of send-ups of the usual attempts at this
typicall
serious subject. I give it 6 out of 6.

The effects don’t even try to convince. This
attitude seems
much more like a stylistic choice than a true failing,
so it’s hard to
really hold that against them. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is a series of skits loosely tied
together into a
rather general plot. The skits are good, certainly,
but it’s still
not that coherent, particularly compared to the film
of next week’s
review. I give it 4 out of 6.

The acting is limited to a series of
depthless caricatures who
often have similar personalities. These people are
here to deliver
hilarious dialogue, not to act. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional reponse is where the film
shines. This is just
plain funny. I give it 6 out of 6.

The production is more involved and
interesting than most
comedies. It’s clearly quite low budget, but there
was some attempt
made to maintain a variety in camera work. I give it
4 out of 6.

Overall, this is a comedy that succeeds at
being funny. The
other issues are not in the important areas. I give
it 5 out of 6.

In total, Monty Python and the Holy Grail
receives 32 out of
42.

Next Week

Next week we review Monty Python’s Life of
Brian
.

9 replies on “Saturday Movie Review – “Monty Python and the Holy Grail””

  1. Timeshredder says:

    Ni!
    I prefer Life of Brian myself, but shouldn’t Holy Grail get some kind of bonus point for being one of the films most-referenced online?

  2. SmokeSerpent says:

    I wouldn’t have given such a high score
    … and I am *wearing* a Monty Pythn and the Holy Grail tee shirt, coincidentally.

    As a film, it has a ton of problems. The cinematography is amateur, the editing is horrible, it has no narrative structure, etc etc.

    It *is* an extremely funny 1 1/2 hours, and as a piece of geek culture it deserves a 42 out of 42 just for being one of the most quoted geek films of all time. However, as a *film* I would give it a D+ rather than a solid C.

    I am looking forward to the Life of Brian review, which is a much better *film*, but somehow a bit less popular.

    • joe__gee says:

      Re: I wouldn’t have given such a high score

      I am looking forward to the Life of Brian review, which is a much better *film*, but somehow a bit less popular.

      You know, I didn’t like the Life of Brian as much as I liked this one. I own both on DVD (although not the extra-special versions, must pick those up somewhere.) I tend to re-watch Holy Grail more often. I guess I find it more accessible.

      For the reviewer, as for disconnected I have yet to view a single, solitary Python project that *wasn’t* disconnected and disjointed in jarring fashion. :) That’s part of what makes each Python production so enjoyable to me. To me this film is one of the Python troupe’s more coherent, organized efforts (comparing it to "The Day the Earth Stoof Still" — apples and oranges, yes it is disjointed. Comparing it to "And Now for Something Completely Different", or "The Meaning of Life": now *those* are loosely-connected skit films.) In this *Python* film the characters and setting remain astonishingly consistent up until the end, and the film’s method of ending in itself is amusing. For me one of the film’s best jokes is that, for Python, the cast are extremely in period / in character until the very end, and even then the cast remains in character once the production is cut short by police. In this film particularly (a m00se once bit my sister… No, realli.) they’re reminding us that even film-making conventions aren’t sacred to the Python boys. :)

      And I love the Frenchmen, just love them. FETCHEZ LA VACHE.

      Indeed. :)

      -Joe

      P.S. A round of applause for those whooping llamas, and the loveli fjords.

    • Jethro says:

      Re: I wouldn’t have given such a high score
      I completely agree with everything you said, except that I’m not wearing a Python T-Shirt. I’m wearing Holy Grail boxer shorts.

      Life of Brian is much better produced. If you listen to the commentary on both movies you realized they learned a lot from the mistakes they made in Grail.

      Totally agree that it should get 42/42 just on the basis of being "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", too.

  3. Daemonik says:

    What, no quotes???
    French Soldier: "I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

    And the ever famous:

    King Arthur: "Look, you stupid Bastard. You’ve got no arms left."
    Black Knight: "Yes I have."
    King Arthur: "*Look*!"
    Black Knight: "It’s just a flesh wound."

    • Captain_Avatar says:

      Re: What, no quotes???
      I am laughing my ass off just reading those quotes! God Bless Monty Python for making the world a better place.

      French Soldier: "I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

      And the ever famous:

      King Arthur: "Look, you stupid Bastard. You’ve got no arms left."
      Black Knight: "Yes I have."
      King Arthur: "*Look*!"
      Black Knight: "It’s just a flesh wound."

    • GrimSean says:

      Re: What, no quotes???

      French Soldier: "I don’t want to talk to you no more, you empty headed animal food trough wiper. I fart in your general direction. Your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries."

      A very good friend of mine and I once got threatened with detention in Grade 10 because we wouldn’t stop quoting this movie in class (our county library had a copy of the script for some reason, and we memorized it – before watching the movie)

      I was an odd kid.

  4. Jethro says:

    High point is the opening credits?
    I think it’s funny that your high-point is in the opening credits. That kinda means the rest of the movie is a downhill slope!

    About the DVD features – it is indeed an excellent DVD. What annoyed me was that the commentaries were clearly transfered over from the laserdisc. In fact, they mention in the commentaries that they’re recording them for laserdisc. Is it this one or Life of Brian where they actually mixed two commentaries, done by two seperate groups of Pythons on two seperate occasions into one commentary? That was annoying. It was like they were ignoring each other.

    I got a tremendous kick out of the feature where Terry Jones is sitting on the hillside where they filmed The Bridge of Death (I think?) and watching the movie on his laptop. just so surreal.

    I also agree with SmokeSerpent. Production on this movie is pretty sucky, but it deserves a 42/42 just for being this movie. (:

Comments are closed.