171 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double-dip is warranted
I suspect most fans of this film and Monty Python in general already own a copy on DVD. The bonus features in this new double-disc edition definitely make it worth the repeat buy. Most of the features from the Criterion edition (two commentary tracks, five deleted scenes, radio ads) are here. (The nice 1979 BBC documentary "The Pythons" is the only feature from the...
Published on January 30, 2008 by Dan Plankton
19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Missed Opportunity
The film is an undeniable classic and the commentaries, deleted scenes and 50 minute documentary on the Criterion version are very good. However, the negative used to transfer this film to DVD is scratchy and the DVD really suffers from it. Lines (some of them really bad) are evident in most brightly lit scenes and the sky in the opening of the movie is riddled with...
Published on January 26, 2000 by Andrew Morgan
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171 of 180 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Double-dip is warranted,
This review is from: Monty Python's Life Of Brian - The Immaculate Edition (DVD)
I suspect most fans of this film and Monty Python in general already own a copy on DVD. The bonus features in this new double-disc edition definitely make it worth the repeat buy. Most of the features from the Criterion edition (two commentary tracks, five deleted scenes, radio ads) are here. (The nice 1979 BBC documentary "The Pythons" is the only feature from the Criterion version missing from this new set.)
The new hour-long documentary included with this edition is worth the purchase alone. All five surviving Pythons are interviewed and offer a lot of insight into the film, from its conception, to the controversy surrounding its opening (in the US and in the UK), to its lasting standing as the Pythons' greatest work. (Yes, I know, many fans like "Grail" even more.) I'm always pleased to see up-to-date interviews with the team, now all in their sixties.
The other significant feature is an audio reading of the original script, recorded with all six members several months before filming began. This is much more enjoyable and watchable than you might expect, illustrated onscreen with storyboard drawings and script pages. The reading is 20 minutes longer than the film, and you hear some bits that never made it past this stage.
And the film itself, of course, is a treasure. A hysterically funny, yet thought-provoking satire whose target is group-think in general, and not merely religion or superstition.
132 of 139 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blessed are the Cheesemakers!!!!,
This review is from: Monty Python's Life Of Brian - The Immaculate Edition [Blu-ray] (Blu-ray)
This is the 4th iteration of this movie that I have owned. My first was on VHS, then came the Criterion LaserDisc, which was followed by the Criterion DVD edition. I really wasn't expecting much of an improvement over the Criterion DVD since this is an older movie. Regardless of what version you own, if you are a Python fan, you are in for a HUGE surprise with this latest edition on Blu-ray. The picture is near perfection with only a couple of scenes where I noticed the tiniest bit of film grain. Perhaps the biggest surprise for me was the remastered sound elements. After trying the different sound choices, I found the PCM soundtrack to be the best. I really wasn't expecting the sound to be that great for this movie, but BOY was I surprised. Sony has truly outdone themselves with this latest high def remastering of Life of Brian. This is the absolute best I have ever seen or heard of this zany film. There are details in the picture that I have NEVER seend before, and I have seen this movie MANY MANY times. If I had to complain about anything, it would be that the special features were not in HD, but that is not that big a deal since everything else about this title is just spot on.
There are many who would say this movie is a sacrilege. As a Christian, I would disagree with such a statement. I have heard some say that this movie is making light of Jesus' ministry, and especially his crucifixion. They are missing the whole point. I think this movie illustrates how some people will blindly follow religious leaders, or will just go with the crowd without really questioning what they're doing, or why they're doing it. The scene where Brian is mistaken for Jesus and chased by the crowd is a good example. When his sandal falls off, some take it as a sign that they should remove their own sandal, while some choose to follow the Holy Gourd of Jerusalem. How can anyone NOT see the humor in that??? Also, what if there really were some in the far back of the crowd at the Sermon on the Mount who couldn't quite make out what was being said??? I have seen this movie countless times, and at no point is Jesus ever actually made fun of. Even the crucifixion scene is obviously not a slight on Jesus' own crucifixion. He is not the only person to ever be crucified, since there were countless others who suffered this horrible form of death. The crucifixion scene obviously is not about Jesus' crucifixion since there are much more than three men being crucified. Of course, I'm sure there are those who would disagree with me. If you do find this movie to be offensive, then simply don't watch it. After all, this is still a free country. To those of you who have longed for a pristine version of this classic Python piece, you MUST get this one on Blu-ray. I will be waiting patiently for Sony to deliver a comparable version of the Holy Grail on Blu-ray soon.
67 of 70 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get the Criterion edition of this marvellous comedy!,
To put it simple, this is one of THE funniest comedies ever made, and following the old Python tradition, it makes fun of everyone and anything. Also, if you didn't know it, this is the Python movie that also contains Eric Idle's now classic song, "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life".
I recommend you get the Criterion collection if you're going to purchase this DVD. I got it today, and it has tons of extra features, plus it is a high-quality-transfer widescreen (I don't think the standard DVD is widescreen, but I won't bet money on it).
I haven't had time to hear the TWO, yes two, additional sets of audio tracks, with commentary from all of the five Pythons (sadly excluding Graham Chapman, for obvious reasons), but I can only imagine that they alone are worth the extra bucks you spend on getting the Criterion edition.
Go get yourself this DVD right away -- you won't regret it!
38 of 43 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Monty Python's Life of Brian--Criterion Edition,
You have to be a genius to be this silly. Monty Python has done a fantastic amount of research into Jewish history and the birth of Christianity to make a total mockery of the hypocrisy found in people who claim to practice these religions. As a deeply spiritual man, I found this film completely unoffensive. This film doesn't poke fun at those who are a part of their religion because of an informed, knowledgeable decision, but rather at those who believe what they believe despite all evidence to the contrary and can't offer any valid explanation for it. Most people have probably been embarassed by people of that sort even in there own religion. Anybody who thinks that Monty Python's sense of humor is stupid isn't smart enough to understand the vast amount of research they must have done to turn verifiable history into such a ridiculous commentary on unchanging human behaviour. From the political issue made out of Stan's irrational desire to be a woman so he could have babys (You haven't got a womb. Where's the fetus going to gestate? You gonna put it in a box?) to the embarrasing meeting where the PFJ finds out that maybe the Romans aren't so bad (Okay, they did provide the roads, the aqueduct, public sanitation, education, the wine, etc.) to Pontius Pilate's speech impedement (Who do you want weleased? And no more Wudolph the Wed-nosed Weindeer.) followed by his best friend's linguistic problems (Thampthon of Thithily the Thaduthee thtrangler wanted for theveral theditious crimeth) to the finale of optomistics on crosses singing "Always look on the bright side of life." If you don't get this epic joke and at least appreciate some of what they deleted to keep the plot tight (DVD--Criterion Edition only) I feel sorry for you. But I'm not your judge. Review this film for yourself.
57 of 68 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blessed are the Cheesemakers,
...and blessed are the Pythons, the crackerjack British comedy troupe creating one of the most funniest movies I have seen in a long time.
The Life of Brian has long been one of my most favorite comedies, and no matter how many times I watch it, I cannot help but break out into raucous laughter at the insanity of this film. Truly blasphemous, truly hilarous, John Cleese and his troupe of merry men leave no stone unturned poking fun at anything and everything religious. From brainless mobs finding shoes as signs from God, to a lisping Roman emperor, to the classic cruxifiction song, this movie is not for the religious light-hearted.
Even better, this Criterion Collection version has so many extras, the true fan will be preoccupied for many hours enjoying it all. Especially wonderful were the deleted scenes and the running commentary by members of the troupe. Also, I appreciated the subtitles. For once I was able to get more of the jokes due to the British accents hard to understand with this untrained ear. If all DVD's were this rich, I'd be a happy camper. You are getting your money's worth for the price!
Rent or buy "Life of Brian - Criterion Collection" immediately!!
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars He's Not The Messiah - He's A Very Naughty Boy,
What kind of DVD release do you give the funniest film from the funniest comedy group of all time. This brand spanking release, that's what. The Criterian Collection has always been a bastian of quality, but this is one of their best. The extras are magnificant. Having been a long time Python fanatic, i thought there wasn't much i hadn't seen. The deleted scenes are fantastic, (particularly the shepards), but i had seen them before. Best on this release are the British radio spots, (very, very funny) and the wonderful 1979 BBC documentary, "the Pythons" filmed on location in Tunisia during the making of Brian. The Python's talk candidly about themselves and each other and there is some sharp, witty, banter.
No good having good extras if the films not up to much, i hear you cry! Well, rest assured, in Brian you have one of, if not the greatest comedies of all time.
It is not, as many would believe, an attack on Christ. He appears in two scenes (obviously, not the real one) but is merely peripheral. The closest to the bone this gets is with an ex-leper who claims his begging trade has been damaged since Christ cured him. Hardly extreme blasphemy, is it?
No, this film is an attack on blind faith, the willingness for people to just follow anybody who says they're the messiah and not think for themselves, and the dangers that follow. Brian (Graham Chapman) is an ordinary man who is mistakenly believed to be the messiah and is mobbed by fickle worshippers. If one scene sums up the entire film it is when Brian's followers are arguing over what Brian's "sign" is. Some believe he wants them to take off one of their shoes, like he has done, the other thinks that it means they should gather shoes as a form of worship. In reality, Brian has only lost his shoes through running away from them. This demonstrates how uneducated faith can lead to unwise choices, and arguments among society. Religion, though able to be a power for good, can rip people apart if they do not consider carefully.
It may seem like a deep message, but don't let that put you off. Brian is full of side splitting moments, and as a film is a lot more satisfactory than it's predeccessor "Monty Python and the Holy Grail." The stoning scene, Pilates address to the people of Rome, what have the Romans ever done for us? These scenes are all classics but there are many more. Please, i urge you, buy this. Your life won't be complete without it!
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE...�It�s dangerous out there...�,
The Life of Brian was, and continues to be, as very controversial picture. At the time of its release, it was met with incredible resistance from Jewish and Christian religious groups. The Monty Python troupe maintained that the film was not "blasphemous", for it does not make fun of Christ himself (in the commentaries, several Pythons contend that Christ's teachings were all in all very sensible, and therefore impossible to lampoon), but is "heretical", as it mocks his followers and organized churches in general. Religion has, after all, led to centuries of bloodshed in the name of God. There's no doubt that the film IS offensive to different groups, as it also lampoons leftist political groups, speech impediments, Roman customs, etc, as well as churches.
As a Christian myself, I admit to two things (i) There are things that I find offensive and uncomfortable in this film, and (ii) it is brilliantly funny. It should not be strange to discover that many Christians are fans of this film - after all, who better to appreciate and understand the Biblical references and the historical setting than ones who have studied it? Ironically the film's most controversial segment, where Brian's follows start proclaiming him as Messiah and follow him, is also the weakest, comedically, after a very funny first half. Unlike, the Holy Grail, the Life of Brian is not able to sustain the momentum from beginning to end. This is in fact characteristic of the Pythons, as even most of their half-hour shows range from brilliant to rambling incoherency and repetition. However, it is the moments of brilliance in Life of Brian (the People's Front of Judea, Brian's birth, the Centurion and Pontius Pilate, and the wonderful set dressing) that make it a comedy classic.
The DVD from Criterion is absolutely first-rate. This disc is worth the price they charge, because it takes full advantage of the medium. The lost scenes are a gem, as they have not been seen for 20 years - though it's easy to see why most of them were left on the cutting room floor. The two audio commentaries are also excellent. The Pythons pull no punches - particularly when talking about each other. The documentary, filmed during the making of the film, is also quite good. All in all, there are more than 5 solid hours of entertainment on the DVD. The print itself is beautiful, and you'll have a new appreciation of the production values that went into it's making.
All in all, I will maintain my position that Holy Grail is a better film, but when it comes to DVD releases, until Criterion produces a Holy Grail version, this DVD is the one to own (or you can be like me and get both).
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars No one will lose their faith in God by watching this film,
Their belief in organised religion and political organisations might be shaken though...
Most people have already seen this film probably, but this DVD contains the four scenes deleted the day before the premiere. They are viciously funny, but had to be cut since they broke the rythm of the story.
The main reason to watch this film is that it is very funny. This is Python at their peak. It is not a collection of skits like The Holy Grail, it is a real film with a clever and tight story. Beautifully directed by Jones and Gilliam, and again reaffirming the acting genius of Graham Chapman, who is probably sharing a joke or two with Jesus in heaven as of now.
The Pythons have admitted that they set out to write a parody of Jesus, but when they studied the bible they saw to their surprise that his teachings made sense! Let me state this: THE PYTHONS ADMIT TO ACTUALLY RESPECT AND ADMIRE JESUS. They then wondered what to do; they then understood that the problem with christianity is not Jesus - it's organised religion! Leaders who interpret Jesus's teachings to fit their own beliefs and needs, and then demand that we, the rest, make them our needs and beliefs.
It is mainly in the US the film has caused a controversy: other countries where the competition between churches is less and the need to control the "flock" is less urgent the film is not seen as as dangerous.
Not content with attacking organised religion they actually deliver an even more scathing attack on political extremists - something which tends to be forgotten in the hue-and-cry over the alleged heresy of the film.
The essence of the film is that we should just get on with our lives, don't let anyone manipulate us, or get swept up in hysterical mass-movements. Brian learns it the hard way when he in the end becomes a "symbol" - not a human anymore - and he is more valuable dead than alive to the movement he, unwillingly, created.
In a funny twist to the film the Roman occupiers come out as quite sympathetic charatcers - after all, they represent an authority governed by reason and law, not by whim and charisma.
22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Always look on the bright side of life...,
In my opinion, the Python team's finest film. Unlike their other efforts, which I have also enjoyed, the film has a continuous story, rather than being a series of sketches.
The film does not make fun of or put down Jesus and Christianity. The film makes a statement about how some people seem to lose the ability to think for themselves and act a bit crazy when they assemble together. The whole message of the film seems to be 'Think for yourself and don't follow the masses'. Graham Chapman is fine as the lead part, Brian. All of the other Pythons are great in their various parts. I particularly like John Cleese as Reg, the leader of the Judean People's Front. His 'What have the Romans done for us' bit is hysterical. The Front is reminicent of the activists who have to sit in meetings and discuss things for ages before they do anything.
Watch for appearances by Spike Milligan, tbe man who created the great radio comedy program, 'The Goon Show', which the Python's acknowledge as one of their major influences, and also a 'blink and you'll miss him' appearance by ex-Beatle and executive producer George Harrison.
Avoid the Anchor Bay barebones DVD which contains only the film and the trailer. Buy the one that says 'The Criterion Collection' on the top of the front cover. This one has a transfer which was supervised and approved by the director, Terry Jones, who also puts in a hilarious performance as Brian's Mother, The Virgin Mandy.
The Criterion release includes two commentaries, one with Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones and one with John Cleese and Michael Palin. Deleted scenes from a 3/4 inch tape that Terry Jones had. 4 radio ads, which feature mainly Mothers of the Pythons (John Cleese's Mother actually won an award from the British advertising industry for her ad) The final extra is an hour long documentary called 'The Pythons' which was shot in Tunisia while the Python troupe were making 'Life of Brian' there. Oh yes, the theatrical trailer is included, too.
A very good package of extras for a relatively low budget comedy that was filmed in 1979. As usual, Criterion has put together a fantastic package, which is a must for the Python fan.
The song at the end is kinda catchy, too...
90 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Movie Illuminates, Leading to the Light,
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This review is from: Monty Python's Life of Brian [VHS] (VHS Tape)
This movie is often decried for being sacrilegious. Quite the contrary! It should be seen by every Christian, as it so illuminates Christian history. But in a supremely enjoyable and funny manner- making it, along with Princess Bride, the top comedy ever. Unless one feels they can not laugh *along with* God, there is nothing offensive in this movie. Here you get to learn why there are so many splits in the church, as people in the very beginning follow the holy shoe or the holy cloak. Or the fight that breaks out in the first scene of the movie (the only one depicting Jesus) over whether, when Jesus said "Blessed are the peacemakers," he meant cheese-makers or everyone in the dairy industry. How can one not see here a reflection of Christian misinterpretation and subsequent divisions through the ages? In truth, I know of no other work that in such a light-hearted manner shows me truly who I am.
Monty Python is always great acting, and even better writing; The consummation of British wit. They take reality around them, and twist it, to show us the reality that lies beneath. Some brief unfortunate gratuitous nudity is easily endured. Watching this movie provides innumerable quotes for future use. ("Splitters!" "What have the Romans ever done for us?") And the final song, which I can't describe for risk of spoiler, and also following reviewer guidelines, is worth the price of the entire video.
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Monty Python's Life Of Brian - The Immaculate Edition by Graham Chapman (DVD - 2008)