107 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on August 15, 1999
Seeing this movie for the first time when it came out back in 1982, I remember telling my friend, "This is the coolest movie ever!" Coming back to it, I can proudly say my feelings for it have not diminished one iota.Its detractors say, "It's disgusting!" Yes, it is. An impossibly fat man explodes in a miasma of viscera and puke. But if you take note of the personality of the character in question, you could look at it as the Pythonian equivalent of Karma.It's oppnents scream, "It's filthy". Bingo. A stuffy schoolmaster and his wife demonstrate coitus for a bored classroom of schoolboys during sex-education class. During the lesson, the teacher admonishes a student to pay attention. "After all, this is for your benefit," he chides. A man so cut off from his own emotions, that not even sex interests him on a personal level.Its nay-sayers chant, "It's blasphemous!" You betcha. In a production reminiscent of the ones in 'Oliver', a Catholic family, apparently numbering in the hundreds, sings "Every Sperm Is Sacred". Maybe so, but why is papa so anxious to sell them all off for medical experiments?Fans say, "It's clever". I defy anyone to find a more clever song in a movie than "The Universe Song", a hummable Cole-Porterish ditty containing a pocketful of useful factoids about this wonderful material plane which we call home.Python disciples say, "It rings true". It does for me. That's why I laugh so hard.The usual Python targets are all here, all to illustrate a very valuable point. I think it's something like: Life is really short, the world is a confusing mess, hypocrites and scoundrels are plentiful, stupidity is more plentiful than any other substance in the universe. The meaning of life is to try your best to dodge all of this meaninglessness and do so with a measure of personal grace. The meaning of life is in how we face what is thrown at us. The Pythons do it by allowing themselves, and us, to laugh at it.
39 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Although this is probably the most inconsistent film that Monty Python made, it's still fantastic. It ends up being a series of sketches loosely tied together around the meaning of life. Some are the absolute highlights of the Monty Python canon (e.g. the sex education scene and the disgusting Mr. Creosote), while others are much less successful. This was essentially the last material made by the Python troupe.
This HD-DVD release contains the exact same features as the recent 2-disc DVD special edition. The extra features are superb with a hilarious and insightful commentary by director Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, who aren't afraid to admit its faults. The trouble with this release is that the film is now over 20 years old and was shot with a relatively low budget so it doesn't look that good to start with. So by getting the HD-DVD you're just seeing the graininess and clunky special effects more clearly. If you already have the DVD there's really no need to get this, but if you're looking to buy it for the first time and you have an HD-DVD player then it's a no-brainer...
...and yes, the meaning of life is revealed in this movie!
42 of 45 people found the following review helpful
on October 29, 2004
Up to their old tricks again, the Pythons finally brought their sketch comedy to the big screen. Putting together a series of unconnected skits with a common theme, they actually pulled it off, though most said it could never be done. As with all of their work, this movie contains several lines that fans will repeat over and over. "Every sperm is sacred!" Most of the skits went down as some of their greatest work, from Cleese teaching Sex in a private school by demonstrating it with his wife in front of the class, to the grossest scene ever performed in cinema, "Mr. Creosote." Absolutely a must-see for anyone with even the faintest of senses of humor.
This DVD presentation is also very solid, including a Making Of feature that lets the personalities of the individuals show through, including Cleese's disdain for doing this film. Some of the extras can be ignored, but I still found myself sitting down for over two hours to check them all out, and I was not disappointed.
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on June 20, 2007
The Movie Itself is in my own personal opinion the best of the films by the British comedy troupe Monty Python which included (the late) Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle and Michael Palin. The group made a total of four motion pictures aside from their widely popular television sketch show Monty Python's Flying Circus. This was the last of those films and was released in 1983. The whole plot to this movie as you guessed even if you're not a Python fan is obviously about The Meaning of Life. And it's pieced down into 8 stages with a little bit of fun thrown in before, during and after. The film has a lot of musical numbers that are absolutely hilarious and extremely catchy to boot (refer to my audio quality review for song titles).
If you're a fan of British sketch comedy or even Canadian sketch like The Kids in the Hall you're going to love this if you've never seen it before. This is sketch comedy at it's finest in the form of a film. The film was directed by Terry Jones who was a member of the comedy troupe and obviously acted quiet a bit in this as well as bossed everyone around. It's obvious that some people will clearly argue the best Python film would be "The Quest for the Holy Grail" or "Life of Brian." They are all great films by me and I look forward to the three others eventually making their way to High Definition disc release. This is encouraging to see one being released you have to admit either way.
Video Quality on this release is presented in 1080p VC-1 encoded on a 30gb disc. First off, yes this is an improvement over the DVD version(s) of this film available in the past but at the same time it's not really the best video transfer to High Def. Don't get me wrong, I mean yes this film is from 1983 for starters and has it's obvious original film grain to it and that's cool in it's own way. The thing I'm really trying to say is that don't expect it to look amazing. Just instead expect it to look better than before. There are some artifacts and pixilatation problems in rare occasions but nothing really to complain about that much.
Audio Quality on this release is in Dolby Digital Plus 5.1. This is only a small improvement over Dolby Digital 5.1 on the latest DVD release of this film. As Python Eric Idle says in one of the bonus materials "the film is a disguised musical" so the songs of this film are really important to the sound mix. I mean after all who can forget such classics as "Isn't it awfully nice to have a penis?", "Every Sperm is Sacred", "Galaxy Song", "Christmas in Heaven" and of course the opening track "It's the Meaning of Life."
Bonus Materials are primarily all in 16:9 (Widescreen) standard definition and ported over from the latest DVD release of the film. There's loads of material here, first off an introduction from Eric Idle before the film, audio Commentary by both Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam. There's also another audio commentary track called "Soundtrack for the Lonely" which is sure to keep you company if "Terry and Terry" don't.
"Snipped Bits" (18 minutes) is basically deleted scenes with occasional commentary introductions or comment from Terry Jones. There's some laughs here but you see why some scenes were obviously deleted. "The Meaning of Making The Meaning of Life" (49 minutes) is your obvious "making of" documentary featuring interviews with the entire Monty Python... cast (even clips of the late Graham Chapman). Eric Idle says "... the film is a disguised musical." in this and we also learn that John Cleese isn't too fond of this film. He argues "Life of Brian" is the better of the Python films. Some would argue "Holy Grail" is but that's to be debated elsewhere, not in my review of bonus materials. "Education Tips" (6 minutes) is a series of skits done by John Cleese, Eric Idle and Michael Palin. I like Cleese's last character "Dr. Ken Enron Chaney." He cracks me up with just his name alone but there's some really hilarious stuff here overall. Including Michael Palin as the world's worst voice over narrator. It's ironic because he actually does voice over narration now on a nature television show.
"Un Film De John Cleese" (1 minute) is absolutely hilarious. It's nothing more than his edit of the film with only him in it. "Written, produced, directed, conceived, edited and probably projected by John Cleese." To only be a minute long it's definitely worth the minute for a good laugh. "Remastering A Masterpiece" is a spoof restoration documentary narrated by Michael Palin. It offers some goofy interviews with Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam as they try to restore the film by washing it. Gilliam and Jones both seem to have no luck as Jones resorts to a local British laundromat washing machine. Eventually Terry Gilliam gives up and says "I hate this film!" I guess this explains the video quality rating I gave this HD DVD doesn't it? Just kidding. There's a bit more material to be found but they really don't prove to be worth watching to even the most die-hard fan like myself. This is about where it stops for the bonus materials worth watching on this release. Nothing too bad but it is nothing more than the bonus materials from the DVD release ported over.
-- Review written by Justin Sluss of HighDefDiscNews.com
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2003
The members of Monty Python apparently decided to pull out all the stops when they made their final motion picture. Even more bawdy, naughty, reckless, and wickedly deprived, MONTY PYTHON'S THE MEANING OF LIFE pulls no punches and takes no prisoners as it explores, unravels, and tramples upon the stages of life, from birth to death. This film is Python with ADD, rumbling and bumbling from one sketch to the next. And it's darn funny.
For me, the film hit a homerun with its opening short feature, "The Crimson Permanent Assurance Company," followed shortly by a grand musical number--a hilarious spoof on Catholicism--entitled, "Every Sperm Is Sacred." By now, the viewer is tweaked, alert, enthralled, giddy, and laughing. Most of the ensuing sketches are firecrackers of irreverent humor and relentless satire. Alas, the movie ended rather anticlimatically, and the film's overall unevenness prohibited this reviewer from giving it five stars.
If you like Monty Python, you'll enjoy this film. If you're unfamiliar with Python, yet willing to get smacked between the eyes with X-treme comedy, give THE MEANING OF LIFE a try. (Not on a full stomach; the "Mr. Creosote" sketch might have you reaching for some Alka-Setzer.) Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Michael Palin, and Terry Gilliam give new meaning to the meaning of life!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 6, 2006
After reading many reviews about this DVD, I was begining to worry that my purchase of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, may have been a mistake...
To make matters worse, I hadn't bought it for myself... I bought it as a Christmas gift for my father.
But after viewing the DVD upon it's arrival, all my fears were put to rest...
There are many reviews saying that this DVD was poorly mastered, containing flashing images on the screen, and horrible picture quality. Other reviewers have said that there is a "well done" version of this DVD, but none of them specified which version that was...
Well, that's where I come in... The version that I bought of this DVD did not have any of those problems, there was no flashing, and the picture quality is nice and clear! My version of this DVD is the "2003 2-Disk Special Edition version" So I guess that would make mine the "safe version" of this DVD.
I dont know which version of the DVD is the bad one (there are 3 different versions of this DVD) But at least I can tell you that the 2003 2-Disk Special Edition version of this DVD wont cause you any trouble, and if safe for you to buy!
Keep in mind before buying this DVD that it is Monty Python! Meaning that it will contain, Crude & Sexual humor, nudity, etc...
The 2003 2-Disk Special Editon Widescreen version of Monty Python's The Meaning of life is well mastered, with Dolby 5.1 digital sound, tons of special features, and safe to buy!
I highly recommend this DVD to anyone who is a fan of Monty Python!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on May 20, 2005
While I enjoyed the disc overall I was appalled by the blatant censorship in the second song sequence taking place in Yorkshire. There is not the blink of an eye at mocking Catholics, Buddists, Protestants or Jews the disc blanks out a twenty-second portion of dialogue which refers to Muslims. It is obvious that the terrorists have won and more's the shame.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
on September 15, 2003
Great movie, best the film has ever looked in my memory and considering they had trouble finding elements for it they get kudos. It sounds great too.
By and large the second disc isn't very good. The extras are neither informative (technically) nor funny (subjectively). Maybe it's me but I think these guys are less funny in their old age. But it doesn't matter; more python is good no matter what.
IF YOU ARE HAVING PROBLEMS READ BELOW:
Universal has addressed the problem that some people are experiencing:
"Thank you for contacting Universal Studios. With the advent of cutting-edge technology in the DVD format, a small number of DVD players do not have the technical capability to take full advantage of the Monty Python's The Meaning of Life disc format. Universal Studios Home Video has become aware of a player specific issue which results in the appearance of jagged video interlacing, on disc 1 only. Disc 2 is NOT affected. Consumers with an incompatible player may mail back Disc 1 to Universal and receive a replacement. To obtain a pre-paid USPS envelope in which to mail back the original Disc 1, please call 1-800-433-4673. Replacement discs are currently scheduled to be available mid-November 2003. We appreciate your patronage and hope you continue to enjoy our products."
Now you have no excuse not to buy this.
15 of 17 people found the following review helpful
on September 19, 2003
Yes, "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" is probably as disgusting and contaversial as the Python team ever got, but you can't come up to me and say you didn't at least crack a smile watching it. While not the best effort in their cinematic history, "Meaning of Life" definitely has some memorable, and sometimes completely out there (i.e. the "Find the Fish" segment) scenes in Python history. At some points, the sketches don't seem to string together as well as they should. In essence, "Meaning of Life" is a sketch show, with a loose concept (the meaning of life) behind it. While it could've done without some of the oddball sexual humor and nudity, that just makes it all the more...Python. Which is a good thing. I think. Anyways, here's what's with all that DVD nonsene!
Eeeeeew, I won't take off stars for this in particular, BUT as anyone who has purchased this DVD knows, Disc 1 has major picture problems with all progressive-scan DVD players (which is the majority, of course!). Replacement discs will supposedly be available mid-November. Other than that huge, gigantic, terrible, disgusting thing, yeah, it looks nice.
Disc One has a few goodies for all you fish out there. First off is a little introduction by Eric Idle, with many naughty words! A commentary with Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, but NOT one with Idle, Palin, and Cleese! What happened!? The other two movies had this setup for commentaries (Jones + Gilliam, and Idle + Palin + Cleese). I would've loved to hear their thoughts on the film, but Gilliam and Jones do a good job. Listen to it. Now. Also is a Soundtrack for the Lonely which is terribly boring and...well, just super! Ooh, and 3 Deleted Scenes, which are placed in the movie terribly and have not be retouched at all. Watch with caution. They are, overall, not too funny either.
Disc Two includes "The Meaning of Making 'The Meaning of Life'" a documentary detailing the making of the film with recent interviews with all 5 of the (surviving) Python members, as well as old interviews that include some with Graham Chapman, who is dead, as you may have guessed from the previous statements. Only bad thing about it is they put them in front of these completely stupid backgrounds during the interviews. Oh, and Michael Palin rambles for a while about John Cleese's behind, among other things. Yes, it's true.
"Song and Dance" is a little feature about the songs "Every Sperm is Sacred" and "Christmas in Heaven" which sheds some light on those multi-(million)-Grammy worthy numbers.
"Educational Tips to Prepare You for Life in the Real World" is a feature made for the DVD with a few of the Python cast playing the parts of Professors or some sort at a completely made-up, fake, (not real) university. Yes.
"Remastering a Masterpiece" is a "documentary" on remastering the film, which includes Terry Jones doing many illegal things.
"What Fish Think" is a segment about - FISH - that only fish will understand. Humans stay away.
There's a "Virtual Reunion" with the Pythons where they all hang out and dance and party all night long. No, not really, they just stand around and you might chuckle at it after a while.
"Un Film De John Cleese" is John Cleese's giant, mega, blockbuster !NEW! trailer for "The Meaning of Life" featuring -
3 songs of the movie sung by different Python members. They're in recording studios, but you get the vibe anyways.
Oh, and some deleted scenese (a few more than in Disc One) with commentaries by Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam, as well as some promotional material, including (but not limited to) telepathy!
It's true. Get it.
21 of 25 people found the following review helpful
on January 29, 2001
It would take much more than 1000 words to comment on this movie. So I thought I'd concetrate on the restaurant sketch which many reviewers didn't seem to understand of whom some wrote favorable reviews and some unfavorable.
The restaurant room represents planet Earth.That monstrous guy represents man ( homo sapiens ) while the rest of the people represent the other living things on our planet.The vomit signifies enviromental pollution.Although we try to contain that ( the man asks for a bucket so he can puke inside ) we're not very succesful.One of the results of that is that species which have lived on this planet for millions of years dissappear ( the people who live the restaurant room ).Finally the waiter who tries to convince the customer to eat this extra mint at the end ( which leads to his explosion ) signifies the role of advertising which constantly tries to convince us to buy things we don't really need.This the rough outline of the main ideas.
However the purpose of the artists is not to express in symbolic terms things we already know but rather to have us look at ourselves in a different light.We tend to admire our species a lot but what Monty Pythons suggest is that not only we're not admirable but rather monstrous and disgusting like Mr. Creosote.That's because we live in disharmony with our enviroment unlike the rest of the living things.Not only that but we also have a destorted view of the world.We tend to view things like vomit or excrement as disgusting.But these don't really pollute the environment.Actually excrement is quite important for something called the nitrogen cycle in nature.On the other hand we feel totally at ease with say plastic although this really harms the environment and takes a very long time to dissolve.
Real satire ( which is much more than making fun of things ) is supposed to make you think and this is what this sketch does.It is offensive but that's how it should be.It tries to grab us by the shoulders , metaphorically speaking of course , shake us and shout at us:"Do you see what you have become ?".I must say that although when I first saw it I was holding my sides now I don't think it's so funny anymore.
Let me finish on a slight personal tone.In the beginning of the second part of "The miracle of birth" Yorkshire is described as part of the third world.I have been in living in Leeds ( West Yorkshire ) for over 1+1/2 years now and I can attest to the fact that most streets do indeed look like they belong to a third world country !