Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian – The Immaculate
Edition (Blu-ray + DVD-Video)
B/C+ Sound: B/C+ Extras: B- Film: B-
wild and challenging as it was nearly 30 years ago, Terry Jones’ film of Monty Python’s The Life Of Brian (1979)
has the comic troop (including Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric
Idle, Michael Palin and Jones) send up religious epics, religious films and
religion itself all the way to Jesus portrayed as gay, but the film is much
more than that, as the absurdist approach is not in the direct genre attack
style of Mel Brooks’ History Of The
World, Part One (reviewed elsewhere on this site) but offers more subtle
criticisms as well.
time later, the funniest thing about the film is how this kind of filmmaking in
its serious form has made a comeback in everything from Gladiator to 300. The jokes and gags apply to many of those
films by default and gives the picture a whole new lease on life and death.
most ironic that it arrived at about the same time Caligula (also reviewed elsewhere on this site) did and with that
film also mocking religion in its own way, you can see how badly that film
failed versus this ambitious and comparatively much less expensive comedy. With some suddenly trying to rehabilitate Caligula, Life Of Brian actually shows it up while outdoing much of its
overblown outrageousness with outrage of its own. However, Life
Of Brian is not just another gem of counterculture, but a film whose
ultimate purpose is to send up hypocrisy by being as off the wall as possible
and in these rollback times, that is a highly welcome return.
1.85 X 1 High Definition image is good, better than the DVD-Video, yet both
could have used a restored print for this (like the HD-DVD of Meaning Of Life, reviewed elsewhere on
this site) are not 100% in the print department. The hilarious costumes and production design
still come through, with dirt specs here and there. The Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and PCM 5.1 on the
Blu-ray are better than the standard Dolby Digital 5.1 on either disc (only
Hungarian on the Blu-ray) but the audio shows its age and sometimes sound
second generation just the same. The
film was a Dolby A-type analog theatrical release back in 1979, but sounds
often like it had monophonic origins. If
the soundfield on the PCM and TrueHD were any worse, the rating would be lower.
include original radio ads, hour-long documentary on the making of the film,
110 minutes audio recording of the cast going through the screenplay, two audio
commentary tracks (Gilliam, Jones & Idle on one, Cleese & Palin on the
other) and five deleted scenes. That
saves the Blu-ray disc from being a total loss and though the DVD has the same
materials, the Blu is preferred.
- Nicholas Sheffo