Monty Python?s Life of Brian – The Immaculate Edition
Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Directed by Terry Jones
Originally released 1979
2 DVD set
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment 2008
93 minutes + Loads of extras
Monty Python’s Life of Brian is my favorite Monty Python DVD. No, it’s The Meaning of Life, no it’s Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Well, Life of Brian is pretty damn good too. The Immaculate Edition of Life of Brian features a remastered though not flawless print of the movie. This movie was quite controversial when it first came out as many religious groups believed it to be blasphemous. Well, religious folks have no sense of humor. Brian may have lost its controversial edge through the years, perhaps because only open-minded comedy fans watch it, but it is still a very enjoyable if not perfect comedy. The Immaculate Edition does feature loads and loads of extra features that are actually interesting for a change.
Life of Brian is a parallel parable or pawallel pawable of the life of Jesus Christ where Brian, a Jewish Roman guy is often mistaken as a messiah and whose story very closely matches the events described in the New Testament. There is also a bit of satire of biblical movies but the real gist is Brian is not really the messiah.
I suspect most of the controversy around Monty Python’s Life of Brian had more to do with how the movie makes fun of how easily and desperately people are willing to follow a prophet. There is, after all, only one appearance by Jesus Christ himself -or an actor portraying JC-and Christ is just doing his own material. The joke and commentary is that the further away people are removed from Christ the more they misunderstand what he said.
Is Monty Python’s Life of Brian The Immaculate Edition really virginal? No. The very short moment where you see scene Jesus on the mount looks faded although even the original is a really zoomed in shot. There is also a rather jarring jump cut in one of the last scenes involving the People’s Front of Judea or whatever.
Then again, the movie itself is not flawless. Some of the jokes really are milked to the last possible drop such as when the Roman soldiers search the headquarters of the PFD or Pilate’s lisp.
There are two commentary tracks on Monty Python’s Life of Brian. One with Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, and Terry Jones, and one with John Cleese and Michael Palin. Interestingly, their comments sometimes tell totally different stories. For example, Gilliam and co say the crowd for Brian’s nude scene was a busload of tourists while Cleese and Palin refer to Muslim women being there and really shocked.
The Life of Brian DVD 2 has all the extra features. There is a really interesting 110 minutes read through of the whole movie recording illustrated with pages from the script, deleted scenes, an excellent The Story of Brian 60 minute feature where the Pythons recall the origins of the movie, and clips of radio ads for this Monty Python bibilical epic.
An Easter egg on the extra features disc: use the right arrow after selecting the clapper on the menu. This will bring you to an overhead wire. Click on it and you get the credits for this DVD.
- 82decent British comedy on DVD
- 81Life of Brian gets classical transformation into superb show.
- 64Great subtle British comedy.
- 64this great and hilarious film will not disappoint