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Monty Python and the Holy Grail: Special Edition

Review Written by: Estefan Ellison
Film: A
Video/Audio/Extras: B/A-/A-

Directed by: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones
Written by: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin
Produced by: Mark Forstater and Michael White
Starring: Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam
Buy it!, Buy it, rent it or skip it: Buy it

I have read countless reviews of films in which people state that they didn't know what was going to happen next. I'm sure all of those films do fit into that category, but I test anybody to watch the ultra-funny and ultra-silly Monty Python and the Holy Grail and not have utter faces of surprise while viewing it. The gags and jokes just come out of thin air with the British troupe (and their one American) making you laugh all the way through the running time. I will try to explain the film without spoiling any of the jokes, because it is important that you view it fresh. However, The Holy Grail still holds up extremely well on multiple viewings.

King Arthur (Graham Chapman) sets about to find a band of knights to join his court in Camelot. He eventually finds a group of comrades and instantly are assigned a noble quest to search for the Holy Grail. This results in numerous adventures encountering many strange characters and situations. As mentioned in the first paragraph, that is as far a description of the plot that I am going to go, because it is highly important you view Monty Python and the Holy Grail without any previous knowledge of what the jokes will be.

Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam provide their special directing touches to the film and those familiar with Gilliam's other efforts will notice his style being very evident throughout the production. The other performers do fantastic work as well with Graham Chapman (who would once again play the lead in Monty Python's The Life of Brian) acting his part with wonderful brilliance. John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin all do enjoyable work as well and it's also nice to play "spot the comedian" as the three play many multiple roles (especially Cleese). Fans of Monty Python will highly enjoy it and those new to their work will certainly need to view this so that they know whether to continue watching more of their silly misadventures.

Columbia Home Entertainment provided a very nice two-disc special edition of this classic comedy and the special features are done in true Python mayhem. We first get two audio commentaries: one with Terry Gilliam and Terry Jone, while the other features John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin. This is extremely nice since we get all the member's opinions and anecdotes on their film (well, except the dead one of course). Both are terrific commentaries that are worth listening to. A feature entitled "Follow the Killer Rabbit" puts a clickable rabbit on screen that show Gilliam's drawings and how much certain props cost. A nice idea, but I was bored by it. Two interesting subtitle options appear with one allowing to read the screenplay while viewing the film and other having lines from William's Shakespeare's Henry IV Part II connecting with what is happening on screen. These two ideas I enjoyed very much.

The rest of the special features appear on the second disc. The Quest for the Holy Grail Locations features Michael Palin and Terry Jones returning to where they filmed The Holy Grail and it is quite a funny and informative piece. It's especially to see that a lot of different scenes were filmed rather close together. Three Sing-a-Longs of three songs from the film appear, which essentially plays the scene with subtitles. I love the songs, so I don't mind them appearing as an extra here. "Coconuts" is a funny extra in which Michael Palin teaches the audience how to use coconuts like the knights in the film. This appears under the domain "Sacred Relics" along with two scenes dubbed in Japanese and an interesting look on the film's making done for BBC in 1974. "Old Rubbish" provides a lot of promotional material like photo and poster galleries. There is also the film's original theatrical trailer and re-release trailer. They're pretty much the same, but the best trailer ever created. You have to see it to believe it. There is also a cast listing, which says who played what parts in The Holy Grail.

My favourite extra on the DVD comes in the form of bricks. It is an absolutely brilliant recreation of the "Knights of the Round Table" song, made entirely with Lego. Monty Python fans should watch out for a terrific reference to the infamous Dead Parrot Sketch. Following that is archive footage with the sound of Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam joking about in the background. Finally, the DVD finishes with a gallery of unused Gilliam sketches.

With a massive set of extras along with a very funny film, it's hard to go wrong with such a brilliant DVD. Highly recommended.

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