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Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

by Kilian Melloy
Tuesday Oct 8, 2013
Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life

The 30th Anniversary Edition of "Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" plays like an extended episode of the British sketch comedy series "Mont Python's Flying Circus" (1969 - 1974), right down to the left-field associations, self-referential internal structure, random transitions, and overt acknowledgement that what you're watching is a film.

This may not be a great movie, but it does offer some memorable material: The gluttonous Mr. Creosote, bane of a fancy French restaurant; a visit from death that casts a pall over a dinner party; a musical number set in Heaven. The production values are much better than the TV series, though little on offer here is as good as the classic Python sketches (such as the Dead Parrot sketch, the Dead Bishop bit, or the Cheese Shop routine), but this film's better moments have earned a cultural currency, especially the musical number "Every Sperm is Sacred," which does rise to the level of the group's best work.

This Blu-ray edition is essentially a re-packaging of the movie's 2003 DVD release, complete with a raft of special features that include a Making Of, Deleted Scenes, Commentary Track, a joke audio track, and a handful of original sketches such as the absurd, so-dumb-it's-funny 15-minute long "What Fish Think" and an amusing video dedicated to the theme of what a good education means in today's world. There are also featurettes dedicated to the film's song-and-dance numbers, a John Cleese-centric trailer, original theatrical trailer and TV spots, and more.

This Blu-ray features two new extras. One is an hourlong roundtable in which the five surviving Pythons (Graham Chapman died in 1989) discuss a range of topics, from "The Meaning of Life" and the comic heritage that Monty Python built on, to existential questions of life, death, the universe, fish, and how they never won any awards. The other is a "singalong" edition of the movie.

This release is a must for Python fans, and a required rental for anyone who might wonder about punchlines like "It's wafer-thin" and "It was the salmon mousse."

"Monty Python's The Meaning of Life" 30th Anniversary Edition
Blu-ray + Digital

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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