First of all, at the time of writing this the price is only £14 for all four films. Even if you don't like one its great value for money. The whole set comes in a cardboard slip box with brief desciptions of all the films on the back and some technical information on the bottom. Inside are 4 cases containing 2 discs for 'Grail' and one disc for each of the other films.
AND NOW FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT
This first film was basically a remake of sketches from the TV series, but made with a bigger budget, so its more or less the same scripts as the TV but better sets and costumes.
Considering the age of the film the picture on this is very good indeed. Its an anamorphic widescreen picture which shows very few signs of age. The sound is only mono, but extremely clear.
This is the jewel in the crown of this box set. The film has been remastered and the picture quality is fantastic. The sound has also been remastered in 5.1 surround.
The first disc contains the main feature, looking brand new, with a huge range of options. There is a choice of audio commentaries: one from the two directors and another from the other 3 remaining Pythons. The subtitle choices include seeing the screenplay superimposed on the film, or (for people who do not like the film) the lines from Shakespeare's Henry IV, Part II instead of the actual film lines.
In a pastiche of The Matrix's special features, there is a "Follow the killer rabbit" option where at various points you can jump to trivia like the receipts for props.
The second disc contains even more extras. The main one is a modern documentary where Michael Palin & Terry Jones revisit the film locations and reminisce. One single castle in Scotland provided nearly all the internal locations, and its fascinating to see how it was adapted and dressed to serve many purposes. This feature is about 45 minutes. Of the many shorter extras, the highlights are a 15-minute location film made by the BBC during filming, the Camelot singing scene re-created in Lego, singalongs for 3 of the musical segments (including instructions on head-bashing for the monks' chants) and lots of original artwork. Both discs feature animated Terry Gilliam menus.
The quality of this transfer and the quality and quantity of extras makes this disc alone worth the total cost!
LIFE OF BRIAN
The picture and sound quality are nowhere near as good as for 'Grail'. In fact the picture is not as clear as for 'And Now...'
The only extras are a theatrical trailer and an on-set documentary, but the documentary is a good one, with lots of interviews with all the cast members, and about 45 minutes long.
THE MEANING OF LIFE
Probably not many people's favourite Python Film. It is little more than a series of sketches tied together by a loose theme, but does contain some great set-pieces, like the exploding Mr Creosote and the big 'Every sperm is sacred' song and dance routine. The picture and sound are not great, considering that this is the most recent of the films. The box says that the sound is in two-channel stereo only, although there did seem to be a couple of surround effects in the middle of the film. No extras.
For me, this set is well worth the expense for the two 'proper' films and their extras, but the other two films can be dipped into for the best sketches. Its a shame 'Brian' did not get the full 2-disc treatment that 'Grail' did, but that does not make it any less enjoyable.
The pack includes: 'And Now For Something Completely Different', 'The Holy Grail'(2 discs), 'The Life Of Brian' and 'The Meaning Of Life'.
The first disc, 'And Now For Something Completely Different' is a mixture of classic sketches such as The Pet Shop, How Not to be Seen and Nudge,Nudge.
The second/third disc, 'The Holy Grail' is a two disc pack, as well as the main feature there are excellent on location footages and fun 'rubbish', very entertaining in deed! The main film reminds you of the pure comic genius of these guys, can you ever forget 'The Knights That Go Ni', or 'The Killer Rabbit'?
The fourth disc, 'The Life Of Brian' is a brave but well written and extremely funny film. This is the film that made famous the song 'Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life', and includes the 'Welease Woger' and 'What Have The Romans Done For Us?' scenes. Total jaw aching laughter should be experienced throughout this one!
The fifth and final disc, 'The Meaning Of Life' takes you through the different stages of life (and death), scenes such as 'Part1: The Miracle Of Birth'(the machine that goes 'ping') and 'Live Organ Transplants' can be devoured (literally speaking of course).
All in all, the total set is well presented and offers excellent value. You don't have to be a die-hard Python fan to enjoy these titles, it does however help if you can accept a good laugh without taking offence to some of the contents. This is the material that makes British comedy the best in the world!!
Buy it Now! - "Nudge, Nudge ......Wink, Wink ......Say No More".
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