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Monty Python and the Holy Grail

Monty Python and the Holy Grail
Fantasy Comedy / English / 1975

'Tis a silly place.

"See the loveli lakes
The wonderful telephone system
And mani interesting furry animals
Including the majestik moose"

This movie is terrible.

We apologize for the fault in the review. Those responsible have been sacked.

This movie is terrible to review.

We apologize again for the fault in the review. Those responsible for sacking the people who have just been sacked, have been sacked.

This movie is terrible to review because I've seen it so many times that other people have seen it so many times that to judge it and it's use of comedy objectively is difficult. The movie itself has become a joke.

Not just around D&D tables, but elsewhere as well, it's the first thing people think of when someone says "Monty Python" and the same goes for me, even though I personally prefer And Now For Something Completely Different and have enjoyed The Meaning of Life in the same vein.

Arthurian Legend is now permanently tainted by this wave of pop culture, but as much as I may like the old stories, I can hardly complain too much, The Holy Grail is to comedy what I think Star Wars is to Sci-Fi.

As I explained in my review of Monty Python's previous movie, the whole "British Humor" argument doesn't make any ******* sense, ESPECIALLY when this movie is set IN MEDIEVAL BRITAIN. What does this appeal to some ridiculous stereotypes people have in their head about how British people are always running around with swords and ****? No, I think there's a pretty obvious contrast between the two movies that can explain the void in popularity.

1.) It wasn't produced by Playboy, which restricted it's availability and creative license.

2.) It has a singular theme, not being a mishmash of television sketches better serves the medium of movies.

It's still has the same sort of jokes, but provided a bigger audience and the fact that it was created from the ground up to serve an actual story, introduced to that audience in chunks of increasing absurdity, it's no surprise that more people gravitate towards it.

Also Medieval Europe is a cool period in history.

Anyway, as far as the comedy is concerned, I felt that Holy Grail verged on being slightly cruder than ANFSCD. They deliberately try to show filthiness and it doesn't shy away from the low-brow when it comes to the "French taunting" and eventual dumping of feces on people.

Granting that, it's never graphic, even what I would otherwise condemn as Blood Geysers are permissible because the movie is a comedy and every sequence involving them are deliberately and ridiculously fake.

That much I can give a pass, and I can even give a pass to the regular animal abuse jokes which range from not having enough budget to afford horses so they clack coconuts together and mimic riding everywhere to beating an obviously fake cat against a wall because that serves some sort of ambiguous purpose to peasants (why are they out in a field collecting mud slop?)

I spotted Chickens, Ducks, Doves, a Cow, a Horse (they could afford a single horse for approximately 1 second of footage apparently), a Rabbit, and of course a [probably real] Herring. Putting aside, once again, the probably endless amount of actual fur and leather that went into costume design, this movie is surprisingly below-par when it comes to trashing animals in movies. I thought it would be higher, but they often don't appear or are implied to exist. The scene in which animals like a cow and sheep are thrown wholesale over the castle wall down at Arthur and his knights are clearly fake mock-ups, but there are clearly real chickens or ducks to help sell the idea.

This displeases me.

This rewatch I also paid fairly close attention to the jokes in general, and a few of them were pretty dumb. Arthur confusing the number 3 with 5 is just part of some nonsensical overarching gag of misunderstanding each other for no explicable reason. The entire scene in which Swamp Castle King has to explain to his guards how guarding a room works is really only amusing with respect to the degree to which it's taken, there's really no good reason for it, Guy A says one thing, Guy B repeats same thing back only wrong. That's not funny and there's really no justification for it, it's not like what Guy A says could be comedically misinterpreted for the purpose of some sort of word game like you'd see left and right in the movie, Clue, it's just nonsense for nonsense sake.

...and that's fine, I just... would prefer funnier jokes.

Not that it doesn't deliver of course, the "Not Quite Dead" running gag does wane a bit by the end, but it's certainly charming and genuinely well acted. To say nothing of the absolute laundry list of funny quotes starting with the opening credits of the movie.

But I guess that's also sort of the problem with reviewing something you've already watched to death. I never really got a kick out of the anti-climax ending, but then I didn't even laugh at any part of the movie just cause I could probably parrot it word for word. Guess you could chalk that up to being memorable at the very least.

I still enjoy the movie, I think it's great. And in some ways I do think it's an improvement over the first (fewer WTF Terry Gilliam animations for one).

I give it a 4 out of 5, but it certainly earns a place amidst my personal collection, if for nothing else but for how it's inspired my own sense of humor.

Final Verdict:
[Pretty Good]