Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty-pythonMonty Python and the Holy Grail  (1974)    Columbia Pictures/Comedy    RT: 91 minutes    Rated PG (language, crude humor, bloody slapstick violence, sexual references)    Director: Terry Gilliam and Terry Jones    Screenplay: Monty Python    Music: Neil Innes    Cinematography: Terry Bedford    Release date: March 14, 1975 (US)    Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Connie Booth, Carol Cleveland.    Box Office: $127.9 million (US)     

Rating: fullstar1fullstar1fullstar1fullstar1

 One of the best things about the most recent re-release of the classic 1974 comedy Monty Python and The Holy Grail is that it's NOT in 3-D ...... thank God for small favors! However, the movie is preceded by "Terry Gilliam's Lost Animations", a 12-minute documentary featuring recently discovered animated footage, including extended intros for Sir Robin and Sir Lancelot. It doesn't really add anything new to the experience of watching (or rewatching or rerewatching......) the movie, it's more like a DVD bonus feature that will only appeal to the die-hards. It's still preferable to a 3-D conversion. Thankfully, we have the actual movie and it's as hilarious as ever. It looks better than ever thanks to some high-def remastering, it's in honor of the movie's 37th anniversary ..... what kind of gift does one give to celebrate a 37th anniversary, a shrubbery?

monty-python-and-the-holy-grail Everybody knows that Monty Python and the Holy Grail spoofs the legend of King Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, it's a great starting point for 91 minutes of sublime silliness from the British comedy troupe. The movie opens with King Arthur (Chapman) recruiting his Knights of the Round Table- Sir Bedevere the Wise (Jones), Sir Lancelot the Brave (Cleese), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-As-Sir Lancelot (Idle) and Sir Galahad the Pure (Palin). Under orders from an animated God, the not-exactly-courageous knights set out to find the fabled cup that Jesus Christ drank from at the Last Supper. It's a journey beset on all sides by mortal danger and outrageous hilarity. I'm talking about things like coconut shells, Trojan Rabbits, flying livestock, horny damsels, an argumentative three-headed giant, a killer rabbit, a ferocious animated beast and the Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch (Thou shalt count to three, no more, no less!). Oh and let's not forget the dreaded Knights Who Say Ni who can only be appeased with a shrubbery. And while all of this is going on, they're being pursued by 20th century policemen for the brutal murder of a historian doing a television program.

 Everybody has their favorite scenes and that's a tough call to make given that Monty Python and the Holy Grail  is full of great scenes. But if pressed to name just one, I would choose King Arthur's bloody duel with the Black Knight. How can you not laugh yourself silly when the Black Knight shrugs off his mortal injuries as "just a flesh wound". It gives a whole meaning to the idea of disarming one's enemies. It's also a movie full of quotable dialogue about medieval politics and swallows. Monty Python and the Holy Grail proudly displays its silly spirit like a badge of honor. It's a refreshing break from the over-the-top gross jokes and forced humor that define most of today's comedy flicks (e.g. The Five-Year Engagement, Wanderlust, American Wedding). It may be a cliche to point this out, but it's absolutely true that they just don't make 'em like they used to. Some of Monty Python's humor is gross but it's also funny whereas many of today's comedies are just gross without being particularly funny. I still chuckle at the morbid humor behind "Bring out your dead!". Monty Python and the Holy Grail has a high repeat watchability quotient, it stays hilarious no matter how many times you watch it. You have to love Arthur's dismissal of Camelot as "a silly place" after a daffy musical number featuring singing and dancing knights. In conclusion, let me leave you with two parting thoughts: 1) Ekki ekki ekki ekki PTANG! Zoom Boing! Z'nourrwringmm! and 2) Pie Jesu Domine, dona eis requiem. BONK! (Fans of the movie know what I'm talking about!)

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