Monty Python's the Meaning of Life

Monty Python's the Meaning of Life

3.8 18

Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese

     
 

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Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has never looked as classic when compared to the rest of the rag-tag troupe's catalogue, even though it includes some of their funniest moments -- which is why it's so refreshing that Universal has put the time and money into making this special edition DVD fit in perfectly next to Criterion's Life of Brian and

Overview

Monty Python's The Meaning of Life has never looked as classic when compared to the rest of the rag-tag troupe's catalogue, even though it includes some of their funniest moments -- which is why it's so refreshing that Universal has put the time and money into making this special edition DVD fit in perfectly next to Criterion's Life of Brian and Columbia/TriStar's Holy Grail definitive discs. With help from the remaining boys in the group, every step on the disc holds new surprises made especially for this release, most of which work, or are at least slightly amusing (the sight of the Python's doing their shtick now does seem a little forced at times). Technically, the film has never sounded better, with a brand-new remastered soundtrack sporting both Dolby Digital 5.1 and 5.1 DTS tracks. The 2.35:1 widescreen picture, however, not only could have used some cleaning, but there's blatant jagged video interlacing throughout the film (an annoying problem that will occur on many players that aren't brand new -- thankfully, Universal is offering a replacement disc if you call 1-800-433-4673). Extras on the first disc include a recently filmed prologue with Eric Idle spinning a little poetic yarn before you watch the flick, along with the chance to watch three infamous cut scenes in Terry Jones' director's cut (including another couple of gags with the tourist couple, a cheese skit which leads into the Zulu scene, and the infamous Martin Luther skit). Alongside the stellar audio tracks, you can find a Terry Gilliam/Terry Jones commentary, in which the two directors casually talk about the production and their surprisingly positive feelings looking back on it. Another track supplied is the completely Python-esque "Soundtrack for the Lonely: A Soundtrack for People Watching at Home Alone" audio option, which lets the viewer watch the film seemingly with another chap, who chimes in with his thoughts while dodging random phone calls in his living room. Disc two is where the real chicken gets cookin' -- kicking off with four more deleted scenes, including the three from the director's cut (though annoyingly enough, those are presented here with director's commentary that cannot be turned off). Big features abound, and the ball keeps on rolling with "The Meaning of Making the Meaning of Life" -- a new 50-minute documentary that tracks the film from its very beginnings to the opening at the Cannes Film Festival, featuring all of the remaining Pythons. Continuing the trend of new material comes the Education Tips section of the disc, where a fairly hilarious newly written and filmed clip awaits you, marking probably the best of what the boys have to offer these days. On the same note, the "Un Film de John Cleese" works on the same grand comic level, especially when knowing his very public history of ill regard toward the film. Sadly, not every new bit works, this time in the form of the sarcastic "Remastering a Masterpiece" featurette, which, along with the Virtual Reunion section, presents the least clever stylings of the remaining crew. As The Meaning of Life is basically a musical at it's heart, the "Song and Dance" clip delves deep into two of the more memorable music numbers in the film, with interviews from Jones, choreographer Arlene Phillips, and then-unknown dancer (and future Frasier star) Jane Leeves. More song-stuff awaits you in the Unsung Songs section, where you can listen to newly recorded alternate versions of a few of the tunes in the film. Trailers, TV spots, U.S. promotion, rejected ads, and the like are also there for you to discover, along with endless amounts of fish references that are capped off with the bizarre "What Fish Think" feature. With even more info locked in the DVD-ROM section, there's no doubt that this is the best The Meaning of Life will ever be treated on home video (save for the picture problem). It's a must for Python fans and should hopefully bring new light to a classic that's long awaited the spotlight.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide
Though their work as a television comedy troupe ended in 1974, Monty Python would intermittently reunite for features, including 1975's Monty Python and the Holy Grail, 1979's The Life of Brian, and 1983's The Meaning of Life. Unlike Brian, their most cohesive effort, Meaning is a likably scattershot collection of vignettes, reminiscent of the Monty Python's Flying Circus series and their first film, 1971's And Now for Something Completely Different. The film swings wildly between pointed hilarity and just plain silliness; the humor is also notably coarser and more vulgar their previous work, exemplified by the classic scene with a gastrologically challenged overeater. In this outing, the directing tasks were handed over to Terry Jones, but Meaning retains the idiosyncratic visual style established by longtime Python director Terry Gilliam. The comedy unexpectedly garnered the Grand Jury Prize at the 1983 Cannes Film Festival.

Product Details

Release Date:
09/02/2003
UPC:
0025192122125
Original Release:
1983
Rating:
R
Source:
Universal Studios
Region Code:
1
Presentation:
[Wide Screen]
Time:
1:48:00

Special Features

Eric Idle introduction; Feature commentary with Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam; Soundtrack for the Lonely: A Soundtrack for People Watching at Home Alone; Director's cut with three deleted scenes; "The Meaning of Making The Meaning of Life"; Educational tips to prepare you for your life in the real world; "Un Film de John Cleese": A new trailer for the John Cleese version of the film; "Remastering a Masterpiece": How to revive an old master; "Song and Dance": A featurette about two of the film's musical numbers; Songs Unsung: Alternate versions of the original songs; In your face promotional material: Selling The Meaning of Life; Virtual Reunion: The Pythons together again; What Fish Think: Go into the minds of fish; The Snipped Bits: Deleted scenes; The screenplay; The lost scenes; The song sheets; The fat recipes

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Graham Chapman First Fish, Tony
John Cleese Second Fish, Grim
Terry Gilliam Donor,Howard,Max,Private Walters,Third Fish
Eric Idle Fourth Fish
Terry Jones Fifth Fish,Mrs. Brown
Michael Palin Carter,Chaplain,Father,Sixth Fish, Lady,Spadger
Carol Cleveland Headmaster's wife
Simon Jones Chadwick, Jeremy
Patricia Quinn Mrs. Williams
Mark Holmes A Severed Head,
Valerie Whittington Mrs Moore
Jennifer Franks Actor
Imogen Bickford-Smith Second Nurse
Angela Mann Actor
Peter Lovstrom Young Man
Victoria Plum Actor
Anne Rosenfeld Actor
George Silver Creosotish Man
Matt Frewer Actor
Andrew Maclachlan Groom
John Scott Martin Actor
Myrtle Devenish Actor

Technical Credits
Terry Gilliam Director,Animator,Screenwriter,Special Effects
Terry Jones Director,Score Composer,Screenwriter
James Acheson Costumes/Costume Designer
Jim Acheson Costumes/Costume Designer
Graham Chapman Score Composer,Screenwriter
John Cleese Score Composer,Screenwriter
Ray Corbett Art Director
Richard Dawking Production Designer
Julian Doyle Editor
John Du Prez Score Composer
George Gibbs Special Effects
John Goldstone Producer
Peter Hannan Cinematographer,Screenwriter
Dave Howman Score Composer
Eric Idle Score Composer,Screenwriter
André Jacquemin Score Composer
Harry Lange Production Designer
Michael Palin Score Composer,Screenwriter
Arlene Phillips Choreography

Scene Index

Side #1 -- The Feature
1. The Crimson Permanent Assurance [:24]
2. The Meaning of Life [3:21]
3. Birth [4:29]
4. Birth in the Third World [7:02]
5. The Protestant View [2:29]
6. Religious Education [:49]
7. Sex Education [:10]
8. Physical Education [1:56]
9. Fighting Each Other [6:28]
10. Military Education [1:20]
11. Officers & Gentlemen [3:47]
12. A Tiger [1:04]
13. Find the Fish [1:43]
14. Philosophy a la Carte [:49]
15. The Liver Donor [:10]
16. The Galaxy [4:57]
17. The Very Big Corporation of America [3:42]
18. Mr. Creosote: The Joy of Fat [2:22]
19. The Meaning of It All [:02]
20. The Good Death Guide [:40]
21. Autumn Leaves [4:08]
22. The Grim Reaper [2:36]
23. Stairway to Heaven [4:02]
24. Christmas in Heaven [2:28]
25. The End of the Film [6:52]

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Monty Python's the Meaning of Life 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 18 reviews.
Sky_0606 More than 1 year ago
All I have to say is greatest opening scene ever, Otherwise film is full of hit or miss humor. Not the best Monty Python film made.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
THIS MOVIE IS SOOOO FUNNY! THE SCENE WHERE THE FAT GUY BLOWS UP MADE ME TINKLE IN MY UNDEROOS.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Absolutely the best of Monty Python's work! A few scenes fall flat but several of them you'll remember, with a goofy smile, forever - especially the sex education class and the musical swipe at the Catholic Church's prohibition on birth control. The meaning of life, it turns out, is to enjoy every moment you can of it and not take it all too seriously.
Guest More than 1 year ago
A perfect showing of a MP comedy. The best of all Monty Python movies. A must see!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love this movie so much...I flip back and forth on if this is my favorite or if The Holy Grail is. But there are so many funny, different scenes in this one---from the "machine that goes 'bing!", to the fat guy exploding, to the "every sperm is sacred" scene---you will laugh out loud. If you don't, you probably don't have a pulse.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
When we went to see this movie, it was partly to get out of the heat. There were 16 people there. As the movie progressed, some of the people left. Our group thought it was hilariously funny. I was in my 50's at the time with my 20 to 30 year old children. We all liked it. I might add that my children were National Merit finalists. I think I can only recommend this movie to smart people who can understand the paradoxes and subtle jokes.
dasz More than 1 year ago
I saw this movie when it came out in the early 80's. Guess I only remembered a few funny scenes because most of this movie is typical British "junior high" sexual jokes/humor (think Benny Hill).