Whenever casts of old shows come together for a reunion of sorts, it’s always questionable. Not that it doesn’t hold some kind of perverse enjoyment for the fans of it; it’s just not something that really sticks with fans after the special is over. Plus the creators are often very reluctant to go back…I mean just look at Seinfeld. That shows only now receiving a pseudo reunion on the most recent season of Curb Your Enthusiasm just because Larry David suddenly had a brilliant idea of doing it, although time will tell if it’s a success. But never mind that rambling, the point I’m trying to make is reunions often suck…but when it comes to Monty Python, it’s hard for anything they do to be anything less than hilarious.
Monty Python reunites in this outrageous comedy and also features some of today’s biggest comedians including Jimmy Fallon, Eddie Izzard, Dan Aykroyd, and Seth Green. The Pythons are matched against their contemporaries: rock stars, comedians, actors, politicians, Python-haters and potential axe murderers, in this never-before-seen outrageous comedy from the biggest comedy troupe of all time. Watch as Monty Python is brought to life on-screen in this six part mini-series which is airing on the IFC Chanel.
“Oh,” you’re thinking to yourself, “this isn’t a real reunion so much as a look back.” Well that’s true, but it marks the first time in twenty years that the surviving members of Monty Python (John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin) have reunited for anything and that in of itself is a treasure to behold. Plus all of the various modern comedic talent (well, if you consider Dan Aykroyd to be modern) that chimes in during the documentary is a delight to listen to as well, as it adds a sense of real significance to Monty Python as they continue to inspire comics even to this day.
But honestly I’m just skirting the real issue here. The issue is that this is a six hour long documentary! Well that’s not so much an issue but more a testament to just how thorough this all is. And even at six hours I’m not sure it’s complete—other websites state the original runtime of the piece was seven and a half hours, which is even more staggering. Still, with it chronicling the humble beginnings of Python, it’s an easy documentary to get into, although you might find it dragging on occasion. It’s not that it’s not continuously funny, it’s just that if you watch anything for six hours it’ll start to feel stale.
Having not dipped into the various Python biographies and history-of books over the years, the majority of this documentary was all new to me, but from what I’ve read it’s kind of just a retelling of stories that have been printed or shot before. So In a nutshell there is nothing overly “new” here and may be the equivalent of a documentary double dip, but for uncultured Python fans such as I it was a great little history lesson. Well not little…six hours, but still.
Speaking of the six hours the whole thing was split into six individual pieces, spread across two discs. The lineup is as follows:
The Not So Interesting Beginning
The Much Funnier Second
And Now, the Sordid Personal Bits
The Ultimate Holy Grail
Lust for Glory
Finally the Last Episode Ever! (For Now)
Overall it’s a solid way to spend six hours on Python…and really, as monotonous as it got, I still greatly enjoyed it. Highly Recommended.
Eagle Rock has really done a superb job in packaging this one up. Not only does it come in a nice two-disc Elite Blu case with inserts and all that good stuff, but it also has a nice heavy cardboard slipcase that houses the set as well. Menus are nicely done and easy to navigate and everything looks good all around.
Video arrives in an AVC encoded 1080i transfer. Yes…for some reason it’s in 1080i, as are all Eagle Rock Blu-ray’s. Surely it wasn’t shot in 1080i, which kind of makes the lack of full 1080p a bit odd…but it ultimately doesn’t really matter. The new footage still looks nice and clear, with the older footage looking…well, old. Can’t clean up something that old and have it look all that hot on Blu-ray, I’m afraid. But it’s a documentary so it’s not something that goes for exceptional clarity anyway…but it still looks very, very good. Audio is a LPCM 2.0 track and is crystal clear from start to finish.
Extras are slim but…hey, six hours of documentary! Do you really want to watch more Python after that? In case you do:
• 15 Minute Interviews w/ Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam
• Gilliam Photo Gallery
• Top 10 Sketches
• Out takes
Outtakes are always funny and the top 10 sketches is a nice addition to the set. Sure you could find clips of them on YouTube, but its nice having them in one spot.
A set I Recommend to novice Python fans. Those already wrapped up in the series, however, may find this to be a bit repeat of what they’ve already heard about. A newly recorded repeat, but a repeat nonetheless.
Monty Python: Almost The Truth arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on October 27th.