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Monty Python & Holy Grail Collectors Edition DVD Review

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Is there anything left that can be said about Monty Python and the Holy Grail that hasn’t been said elsewhere? Even if your one of 20 or so people on this continent who have never actually sat down to see this laugh-riot of a movie, you still know it. The quotes are many, the fans insane, and it’s effect on pop-culture is immeasurable. This is most likely what will be the definitive version of this film on DVD and the version to own for the die-hard fans of Python classic.

Is there any need to delve deep into an explanation of this films story? It’s doubtful. Let’s leave it at this: King Arthur goes on his quest to retrieve the Holy Grail and find brave knights who will join his court in Camelot. That’s pretty much it. Along the way, the story will take on indescribable twists and turns so bizarre you’ll be completely baffled by their inclusion. The only problem is that you’ll be laughing to hard to even try and think about them.

In all honesty, this is easily one of the single greatest comedies of all time. British humor is something that not quite everyone will “get,” and that’s probably the only reason why this film doesn’t have the large American audience of a Mel Brooks comedy (Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein). Still, those who do are literally engulfed by this films charm…and violence. Nothing beats the Black Knight sequence. Well, maybe the killer rabbit…or maybe the bridge scene…or the witch…or maybe the “bring out the dead” segment….though those credits have alot going for them…

This Collector’s Edition gift set comes in a glossy, thick cardboard case and is packed with some nice extras. The coolest feature is the 92 page screenplay which includes everything, even the credits (which are a must read since they do tend to go by pretty quickly on film). There’s a ton of photo’s (sadly in black & white) and the jokes are still priceless, even in print. A film senitype is also packed in depicting all 6 members of the Knights of the Round Table. Even the text on the back of this piece is hilarious offering a new senitype for each of the next 127,416 years…and a free tube of glue.

The 2-disc set included is the same as the Special Edition issued earlier in 2003. There is far too much here to go over completely here, but rest assured you’ll be playing around with this set for a ridiculous amount of time. First up is a great trip back to the original shoot locations with Terry Jones and Michael Palin. Fans go nuts at these locations and you can even purchase some coconuts to “ride a horse” through them! You can watch the film with a Japanese soundtrack with sub-titles reverted back into English (though no all is as it seems) or with subtitles “for people who don’t like the film.” This will play Shakespeareís “Hamlet” for the entire film in subtitle form. Why? Who cares, it’s funny! There’s a great commentary track which is almost funnier than the movie at times, a musical segment of the film animated completely in Lego’s, a “many uses for the cocoanut” featured, behind the scenes photo’s, 24 seconds of the film re-inserted, and who knows what else. Seriously, there’s enough here to keep viewers busy for a day or more depending on how long you can hold back your laughter.

The film has been completely remastered and it looks even better than it has previously. There is obviously some grain and compression issues, but for a film with a budget like this one, it’s probably as good as it’s going to get. The 5.1 sound remix is definitely powered by the center channel for the most part, but the soundtrack fills the room just like a 5.1 track should. If you prefer, you can always go with the standard mono just like it was back when the film was released.

If anything is wrong with this set, it’s the packaging itself. The hard cardboard packaging doesn’t open very well and it could very easily crack or tear. Worse yet, both of the discs are stuffed onto one single peg. Scratches are going to be a problem with this set. With a retail price of $44.99, there really is no excuse for this. Warner remains the king of DVD gift sets with their huge boxes, full-size posters, discs contained in their standard cases, and the usual assortment of goodies.

To be blunt and brief, this is the best version of one of the funniest movies all time on the best possible format. The set is packed with features (all of which are enjoyable), a beautiful senitype, a great script, and a masterful restoration job. With the exception of the packaging issues mentioned above, this is a must for any true fans of this classic. Say it with me: “Ni!”

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://www.temptationwaits.com visualsimplicity

    What? No Amazon link? I might actually purchase this set.

    Anyway, when the animator suffers a fatal heartache, now that was hilarious. Oh and the Minstrel following Sir Robin, that’s prime. As you’ve said, so many, so funny.

  • Eric Olsen

    in now, thanks Vis

  • jadester

    the only python film better is The Life Of Brian
    long live the pythons, may they live forever in the hall of british comedy fame

  • Taloran

    My son hated it until I told him “Stop trying to make sense of Monty Python. It’s not supposed to make sense, it’s just supposed to make you laugh.”

    Now he watches it WAY too often.

  • http://www.unproductivity.com Tom Johnson

    If you get a chance to see this in a theater, I suggest taking any opportunity to do so. It came around to our city a couple years ago and it was one of the more fun cinematic experiences I’ve had. Nothing beats sitting around with other Python addicts to enjoy one of the greats. I believe it may be travelling around again, so watch your newspapers for it!

  • http://www.filmrot.com/articles/filmrot_news/004305.php Eric Idle Fans

    Exciting news about SPAMELOT from the current Eric Idle tour:

    http://www.filmrot.com/articles/filmrot_news/004305.php