Monty Python's: The Meaning of Life
Special Edition, Collector's Edition
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Those six pandemonium-mad Pythons are back with their craziest adventure ever! John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin have returned to explain The Meaning of Life. These naughty Brits offer the usual tasteful sketches involving favorite body parts and bodily functions, the wonders of war, the miracle of birth and a special preview of what's waiting for us in Heaven. Nothing is too sacred for the probing Python crew. You'll never look at life in quite the same way again. Time pronounces it "an exhilarating experience!" Newsweek agrees, calling it, "the best movie from England's satirical sextet." Winner of the 1983 Cannes Film Festival Special Jury Award.
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The Pythons were at their creative peak, and tackle their subjects brilliantly. As Eric Idle points out in the 30th anniversary reunion bonus feature, the movie is a musical disguised as a comedy. Classic songs include "The Meaning Of Life," "Every Sperm Is Sacred," "The Galaxy Song," and "Christmas In Heaven." Classic characters include Humphrey Williams, the sex education teacher (John Cleese), the morbidly obese Mr. Creosote (Terry Jones), the Catholic father with many children (Michael Palin), Gaston, the waiter (Eric Idle), Howard Katzenberg, the liver donor (Terry Gilliam), and the Vegas lounge singer in heaven (Graham Chapman). "Monty Python's Flying Circus" TV series was brilliant, ground-breaking, surreal, and hilarious. All of those adjectives apply to their final film, "The Meaning Of Life." Buy it before you die.
I still get cracked up by the "Very Big Corporation of America" and that speech about wearing enough hats and the weird jargon the guy makes up ("abyneseal"), but the Sperm Song and the Universe Song are even funnier. The best things, though, are the prayer and the hymn ("O Lord, ooh you are so big, so ABSOLUTELY huge! Gosh, we're all really impressed down here, I can tell you! ...)
If you haven't seen this movie you have denied yourself one of cinema's greatest pleasures ever.
If you are a film purist, you will be happy to know that you can still see the film grain in the picture in places. Colors seem to be natual, and may be a disappointment for those of you who are used to more vibrant things in your HD. Washed out comes to my mind, but that is really more of the style of the film, and not a problem with the transfer. In fact, the animated scenes are quite vivid and brilliant, so while not breathtaking, I will say that the transfer is faithful to the original source.
There is no high-res audio track, but do not let that disappoint you. The Monty Python movies were not known for having the subwoofer pounding, full surround emersion experience, and the Dolby Digital Plus soundtrack faithfully represents the movies soundtrack without giving up anything.
Bonus features seem to mirror previous DVD releases, and nothing special is really added.
If you are a fan of this movie, this is probably as good of an HD transfer as you will ever get, and I would highly recommend it. If you are not a Monty Python fan, pass over this one.
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!