Monty Python and the Holy Grail
This is a classic and I can think of no more Rennie movie then Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Had I been in my right mind this would have probably been the first movie review that happened on this site.
From the credits, this movie has my full attention. This is one of those few movies where you cannot fast forward through the credits – funny as hell. I will admit there are a few places where the pacing falls off and the funny is not as funny as it could be BUT – this is still one of my favorite movies of all time and if you are into the Rennie you have to watch it enough that you can quote the majority of it by heart – it is a requirement.
Here is a brief synopsis (There be Spoilers):
King Arthur is gathering his knights of the round table at the first of the movie. After they have come together and visited Camelot (only once for it is a silly place), they are sent on a quest by God to find the Holy Grail. Each of the knights ventures forth to find the grail on their own. Later in the story, after much hilarity has ensued, they join back up and meet Tim the Enchanter. After several grueling tasks, King Arthur finds the castle that has the grail though he is arrested before he can obtain it.
The Holy Hand Grenade – Best gag ever! I want one. I would love to have one on my desk in my office (next to the Holy Grail).
The Swamp Castle – Another favorite scene. The setup, and execution of this part of the story is fantastic. A little song (almost) a lot of humor and Michael Palin chewing the scenery around everybody on screen – LOVE IT!
Graham Chapman – King Arthur – “How do you know he’s a king?” “He hasn’t got shit all over him.” – Graham Chapman’s ability to play this role so straight is amazing. Never breaking character and delivering the lines as if he was doing Shakespeare. His timing and work with the other characters ties the whole movie together.
John Cleese – The Black Knight, Sir Lancelot, the French Taunter – Playing multiple roles is not new to any of the Pythons. Cleese as Sir Lancelot (overzealous and always ready for a fight) is only slightly overshadowed by some of his other roles – The black Knight and Tim the Enchanter. Cleese is a physically humorous comedian who delivers a line like the cut of a sword and when he is ‘taunting’ King Arthur and the other knights, his French accent is OUTRAGEOUS.
Terry Jones – Sir Bedevere, Prince Herbert – Sir Bedevere stays with Arthur almost the whole movie and is a constant character, though Jones’ interpretation of Prince Herbert at the swamp castle is just as endearing. Bedevere’s use of ‘logic’ in determining if the woman is a witch is an argument that sticks in your head for days every time you watch the movie.
Eric Idle – Sir Robin, Concord, Brother Maynard – LOVE Sir Robin! And Idle as Brother Maynard is a show stopper. His reading from the Book of Armaments floors me. Also, his “message for you, sir” after being shot by the arrow from Prince Herbert was in fact my email notification on my computer for the longest time (wow, am I a geek).
Michael Palin – Sir Galahad, Dennis, Swamp Castle King – So many good roles! But if I had to pick one it would be the Swamp Castle King. “Other kings said I was daft to build a castle in the swamp!” He owns every single scene he is in. If Michael Palin is in a flick, watch it – those are the rules!
Terry Gilliam – Patsy, Bridgekeeper – The only American and one of the pythons turned director, Gilliam has a silent role in that of Patsy the squire but the Bridgekeeper has a voice and lines that will stick with you for all time.
The Score – The music is fantastic. From Sir Robin’s minstrel to the almost-song by Prince Herbert. Throw your hands up for Neil Innes and Eric Idle for a lot of the ‘good’ in the musical side of this movie.
Length – It might be said that the movie is a little long. There is certainly some fluff that could have been cut. I am a fan of Gilliam animation but I think some of the animation could go and it would have helped the pacing a little.
The End – I hate to be a hater but I am not a fan of the end. I don’t know how you improve on it because you can’t have this King Arthur finding the Grail. I don’t have a solution for the end but I am not a fan either.
If you have never watched MYatHG… you are wholly un-Rennie and your garb will be repossessed. Turn in your corset, your codpiece and prepare to be taunted a third time. After you have watched it go watch the shows at your local Ren Faire – I bet you hear a few of the lines repeated or at least an homage to the Pythons at some point.
If you are wanting to don the tabards of the knights or maybe French Taunter it up at the next faire, I have a resource for you as well: Museum Replicas – they have their very own line of Monty Python and the Holy Grail merchandise!