Older than America’s Saturday Night Live, Monty Python started in 1969. The famous British comedy group consisted of now big-names such as: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin who had all previously starred in different comedy series.
The group came together and decided to start a new comedy series on BBC that would become known as “Monty Python’s Flying Circus.” The television series would become popular for its sporadic comedic work that was unpredictable and random which has become their trademark.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail, a spin on the lore of King Arthur, recently celebrated its 40th year of comedic genius in 2015. A comedic adventure, the film is based in the times of knights and castles, but also in the “modern times” of the 1970’s, makes for a great laugh for young and old.
Starting off with hilarious credits, we begin the movie with two men “riding” out of a thick mist. In search of other knights to assist him on his quest, King Arthur (Graham Chapman) and his “steed”/servant come across a castle. Instead of opening up their doors to let the King in, the men on the wall question him and converse with him about his form of transportation. The noble steed that would be expected of a king to ride, must not have made the budget cut. Instead, the use of two hollow coconuts and the prancing around of Chapman makes do.
Throughout the movie, King Arthur gathers other knights such as Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot (Eric Idle), and many others. The fingerprints of Monty Python are all over this humorous film as the French fart in their general direction, the Knights who say “Ni” try to kill the protagonists with their word, and a sorcerer who is called Tim guides them in their quest.
But the most memorable part of the film is not scene 24, a continuous joke throughout the film, but the encounter of the white rabbit. The quest for the Holy Grail leads King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table to the Cave of Caerbannog where a terrible beastie hides behind the façade of an innocent looking white bunny. Instead of making the foul beast run away, the killer rabbit forces Arthur and his knights to retreat and even cause Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot to soil his armor. However, the men do get their revenge.
Monty Python prides themselves in making extremely unpredictable movies, and this film fits the bill. The beginning scene alone makes the audience question whether they are watching the right movie at all. Instead of seeing knights and coconuts, the audience is shown the beginning credits for another movie called “Dentist on the Job,” which is supposedly set in the 1940’s and is in black and white. It has nothing to do with the film except to be part of the comic genius of Monty Python.
Deeper into the movie, a lady is accused of being a witch, and the only way that she is proven guilty is by comparing her weight to the weight of a duck. It really has no purpose to the film except to bring laughter to the audience.
Another thing that makes Monty Python what it is, is the animations that they use throughout their sketches and movies. Instead of seeing the actors all the time, the audience is given a little eye candy by the fun and quirky animations that are used to help explain the story. To help the movie move along, the audience is shown a several-eyed monster that would chase the cast while they are in the cave of Caerbannog, until it swiftly disappears because the animator dies of a sudden heart attack. The animations are also used when Monty Python shares a side story of one of the knights like Sir Lancelot or Sir Robin. The animations make the movie more enjoyable to watch because of their quirkiness and randomness throughout the film.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a great comedy. If the audience wants adventure, it has adventure. If the audience wants to laugh, they will probably soil their armor along with Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Sir Lancelot because of how funny it is. However, it should be warned that this is not a dry sense of humor film, this is extremely dumb humor that only some understand and appreciate. It is rated PG, but should also be noted that there is some profanity, violence, and other matter that should not be shown to young children.
Be prepared to laugh at this comedic adventure that has deserved the rating of 9.5 out of 10 theater laughing faces for its unfailing wit and humor.