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Category:    Home > Reviews > Documentary > Comedy > Filmmaking > TV > British > Holy Flying Circus (2011/Acorn Media Blu-ray)

Holy Flying Circus (2011/Acorn Media Blu-ray)


Picture: B     Sound: C+     Extras: C-     Film: C



The Monty Python crew has been one of my favorite comedic pleasures since I discovered them at a very young age after viewing Monty Python and the Holy Grail.  Soon thereafter I discovered the joys of Monty Python I uncovered that they had a host of other projects that are just as creative, interestingly hilarious, and insane (beyond insane) as The Holy Grail.  One of those said projects was Monty Python and the Life of Brian, a hilarious, twisted satire of the story of Jesus Christ; instead following the life of a man named Brian, who mistakenly gathered the following of the messiah.  This is not a review of that film…


Monty Python and the Life of Brian came after the huge success of Monty Python’s Flying Circus British TV series and Monty Python and the Holy Grail film.  The comedy troupe after satirizing Arthurian Legend had joked that they were setting their eyes and quick wit on Jesus.  After much back and forth a script was written; no longer focusing on Jesus himself but an unassuming man of the same era.  The project was pitched to a studio and soon The Life of Brian was green lit; but just before filming began the film was canceled by the studio…Eric Idle say they must have finally read the script.  It was in actuality (interesting to note) former Beatle George Harrison (a fan of the group) who heavily funded the crazy crew’s venture and got the project off the ground at a cost of three million dollars.  In the end, Harrison even makes a short cameo; can you spot him?  The controversy didn’t end there; eventually the film hit the big screen and was a major monetary success, with a nice box office return.  Who it wasn’t a hit with was the Christians or at least the church.  The film was essentially band and even led to a televised debate between Python alums John Cleese and Michael Palin with a Bishop and TV Personality.  This eventually inspiring the Python made TV film Holy Flying Circus, which satirizes those events.  A satire of a satire?  How artistic.


 The film is not a documentary and is not a comedy, it is somewhere in between.  The story is LOOSELY based on true events, but insane Python antics take center stage and in doing that the line between reality and fiction is blurred.  Of course what was going on here was that the Monty Python crew were attempting to take out their frustrations by mocking/satirizing the events that were unfolding around them.  The problem with this offbeat take on true events (at least in this case) is the film is not very funny; this on top of the fact that it isn’t giving any hardcore facts either.  In the end, the film feels to be a bit of a waste of time.  I love Monty Python, but this is a definite miss for them; almost feeling like a pet project for the crew to present inside jokes.  The problem is inside jokes are only funny to the people in the know; sadly we aren’t in the know.


The technical features on this new Blu-ray from Acorn media get the job done, but are far from perfect.  The 1080i 1.78 x 1 digital high definition image is nice enough but clarity isn’t the best, colors are weak, and the black levels are far from framing.  The sound is a 2.0 PCM track is adequate, being a dialogue driven presentation, but as it comes solely from the front it can be a bit drab.  Dialogue is clear.


Extras are limited and disappointing as I wanted to see more (perhaps vintage footage and new interviews), but sadly extra features only include:

·         Deleted Scenes

·         Outtakes



-   Michael P. Dougherty II


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