Best Blu-ray Deals
Best Blu-ray Deals, See All the Deals »
Top deals |
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life(1983)
The Monty Python group examines the meaning and purpose of life in a series of sketches from conception to death and beyond. In typical Monty Python fashion they satirizes almost everyone.
For more about Monty Python's The Meaning of Life and the Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray release, see Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray Review published by Brian Orndorf on November 9, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.0 out of 5.
Starring: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin
Director: Terry Jones
» See full cast & crew
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray Review
Lesser Python, but still funny Python.
Reviewed by Brian Orndorf, November 9, 2013
After the success of narrative-driven films such as "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian," it seems regressive for the lauded comedy group (including Graham Chapman, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle, John Cleese, and Terry Gilliam) to return to their sketch-show origin with "The Meaning of Life." Building momentum with fantastic adventures through history and religion, Monty Python's 1983 endeavor has a noticeable lack of energy and almost no cohesion about it, stumbling around big ideas on life and death with all the concentration of a group on the brink of going their separate ways. It's a hit-or-miss effort that features all the hallmarks of the team's work, offering rich design elements, puckered animation, gross-outs, and crack comic timing. Despite its obvious shortcomings, "The Meaning of Life" also happens to be devastatingly funny at times, hitting a few beats of silliness with traditional Python precision -- terrifically loony moments that manage to salvage the entire viewing experience.
Of course, Python tomfoolery doesn't immediately commence. "The Meaning of Life" actually opens with a short from Terry Gilliam, "The Crimson Permanent Assurance," a takeoff of workday drudgery colliding with pirate swashbuckling, tilted on its side by Gilliam's boundless imagination for screen bedlam. Featuring intricate sets, miniatures, and a constant presence of noise, "Assurance" is a striking bit of short film experimentation from a helmer who's incapable of controlling himself. It's amusing and imaginative for five minutes, yet the effort drags on for another ten, growing assaultive as it becomes clear Gilliam has no idea how to end the movie. On a technical level, it's masterful, a warm-up jog for the filmmaker before his career-crunching time with "Brazil," but it's a taxing icebreaker that washes out the Python magic, bludgeoning the viewer before subtle, silly comedy is introduced.
Once out of Gilliam's control, "The Meaning of Life" finds its footing with recognizable Python humor, introducing the film with chapters that detail the human experience, from birth to death, each skit tied into the titular search for cosmic answers. In truth, there's really no direction to the feature, which initially hints at a structure, only to chase whims with abandon, bombing around history and the afterlife on the prowl for bellylaughs. Cutting their teeth on sketch comedy, the return to familiar techniques proves to be a confusing situation for the troupe, with the quality of the bits failing to find an energetic consistency that television provided, making the picture appear labored as it works its way through the stages of life. Again, after reaching glory with "Holy Grail" and "Life of Brian," "The Meaning of Life" is anticlimactic, an easy lay-up before retirement, yet, oddly, it's not a failure, with certain vignettes capturing a sense of inspired insanity that recalls the early work of the group, making smart use of individual gifts and a collective sense of humor that leans blissfully towards the absurd.
There are pleasures scattered throughout the work. "The Miracle of Birth" and its machine that goes "ping!" is a winning opener, satirizing impersonal hospital procedures and mechanical overcompensation. "Fighting Each Other" provides Palin with an exquisite opportunity to play daft and deafening as a military commander surprisingly willing to allow his men to skip a day of marching up and down the square. In "Death," the sight of Chapman being chased by a team of ten topless women is quite impressive, offering an askew take on capital punishment. And no description of the film's merits can leave out the miracle of Mr. Creosote (Jones), a frighteningly obese man prone to fits of vomiting, enjoying his final meal in a posh French restaurant before exploding in front of horrified diners and an unflappable maitre d' (Cleese). It's heroically foul work, and you'll never look at a wafer-thin mint the same way again. Duds include an Anglo-Zulu War segment from the "Fighting Each Other" chapter, which takes an unfunny concept (a British officer finds his leg has been bitten off, forcing the squad to find the animal responsible, coming across two men in a tiger suit) to intolerable lengths, and a reoccurring bit that has the boys dressed up as fish floating around an aquarium, conversing and commentating. It's an idea that's bizarrely bereft of even the simplest of jokes -- just a visual gag with no payoff.
Jazzing up the film are musical numbers, playing around with the group's love of songwriting, preferring mischievous ones peppered with lewd lyrics. The soundtrack for "The Meaning of Life" is teeming with gems, including the Vegas number "Christmas in Heaven" and the classic anthem, "Every Sperm Is Sacred," a memorable tune sold with a sophisticated set piece from director Jones, turning the cheeky composition into a deleted scene from "Oliver!"
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray, Video Quality
The VC-1 encoded image (1.85:1 aspect ratio) does feature some mild filtering, with slight ringing and a small amount of motion blur detected. Fine detail is acceptable if never remarkable, with facial particulars offering a slightly waxy appearance, though the HD viewing experience does benefit from a sharper look at production design accomplishments and make-up work. Colors reveal limited fade, with healthy reds and blues bringing costuming to life, while animation also carries snappy hues. Skintones are acceptable, communicating changes in health and location cleanly. Blacks are stable but far from rich, solidifying on occasion, though distances are available for study. Print displays some white speckling. The viewing experience is acceptable, supporting the limited scope of the picture, but there's no sparkling remaster here to truly push out the textures of the work.
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray, Audio Quality
The 5.1 DTS-HD MA sound mix clings to the front stage for the most part, with a slightly uneven balance of scoring and dialogue exchanges, which register a tad soft for such a mighty comedic endeavor, requiring a little extra juice for the center channel. Musical numbers are where the track really shines, with a full, lush presentation of singing and instrumentation, offering a pleasing low-end to ground the spectacle. Surrounds are engaged for circular music reach, showing true isolation during the "Find a Fish" segment, where audience participation elements offer separation. Comedy interests are never muffled, with crisp articulation.
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
New to Blu-ray:
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Riffing on religion, sex education, Heaven, dreams, punishment, war, and wonder, "The Meaning of Life" strives to make sense of humanity's struggle with a sense of humor. It's not Monty Python's finest hour, but it's a comfortable endeavor with some charming design achievements and the occasional blast of uproarious behavior. Just the opportunity to spend time with this viciously gifted cast is more than enough to provide entertainment value, even in a film that doesn't meet their traditional standards of excellence.
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life: Other Editions
Use the thumbs up and thumbs down icons to agree or disagree that the title is similar to Monty Python's The Meaning of Life. You can also suggest completely new similar titles to Monty Python's The Meaning of Life in the search box below.
Similar titles suggested by members
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray - May 30, 2013
In celebration of the film's 30th anniversary, Universal Studios Home Entertainment has announced the Blu-ray debut of Monty Python's The Meaning of Life, which stars John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Michael Palin, Terry Gilliam and the late Graham Chapman. ...
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray, Forum Discussions
Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray Screenshots
Back to Monty Python's The Meaning of Life Blu-ray »
Trending Blu-ray Movies
Trending in Theaters
This web site is not affiliated with the Blu-ray Disc Association.
All trademarks are the property of the respective trademark owners.
© 2002-2014 Blu-ray.com. All rights reserved.