Monty Python and the Holy Grail … is neither as sparkling as it is said to be nor as bad as it seems to be at the start. But it's pretty good—thus, as British phenomena go these days, exceptional….
The previous Python film, And Now for Something Completely Different … had the hijinks ebullience of university humor, than which jinks there is none higher, and was a series of skits that hit or missed. Holy Grail is a series of skits on one general theme, so is disguised as an organic story. It too has hits and misses. When it hits, it makes some clear statements of national humor….
["Monty Python and the Holy Grail"] is a cheerfully loused-up reworking of the legend of King Arthur's Grail hunt. This is the legend that has been such a nuisance to children and others…. [Almost everything] that has ever worried you about the Holy Grail, wimples, King Arthur, Malory, and the general mucking about of poets with the same old story is tackled head on. (p. 115)
In this version of the Grail-tale, King Arthur's knights are extremely cowardly, dirty, testy, and ill-starred…. The King himself, who hesitantly presents himself as Arthur, King of the Britons, to everyone he meets, has remarkably little effect on the lowly for a man of such high estate…. He seems exceptionally underprivileged as well as mentally underendowed. Perhaps this is because he is such an early king. He hasn't even got a horse…. [Many of the best debates in the film are yelled]. Musical geniuses have begged for centuries that arias in opera should advance the action; the creators of Monty Python now beg that rows in drama should have an equivalent right to drag the action to a standstill, and quite possibly send it packing.
The legend of King Arthur gets a well deserved swipe in what may be the comedy film of the decade or at least the week…. [Monty Python and the Holy Grail is] a smorgasboard of sight gags, puns, black humor and satire that reduces Camelot to a madhouse…. The comedy pace is faster than the Marx Brothers ever dreamed of and the humor is cerebral enough to make Woody Allen wince. If you enjoy laughing, drooling or sticking your thumb up your nose and making strange noises, you owe it to yourself to see this film as opposed to listening to it which would be a fairly silly move on your part.
Although Monty Python and the Holy Grail is a humorous films, it mocks and contains elements such as chivalric and medieval code, which lends itself to be a romance. Romance elements include the supernatural, pairing in thirds, old hags, wise old men, and references to King Arthur and his knights. All of the elements appear in this film. Supernatural powers and supernatural events help to indicated or define a romance. There are many instances in the Holy Grail of such events. The enchanter Tim had the ability to create powerful explosions and fire with merely his hands. The bunny guarding the cave where Joseph of Aramathea carved his last message could leap fast and furiously and had "sharp and pointy fangs." A bunny like that is definitely not natural. Supernatural events are evident throughout the film, but are still not the only proof of a romance. The bridge of death entailed the answering of three questions for each who wished to cross. This is a prime example of pairing in thirds, an additionally common element of romance. When Sir Robin and his minstrels were passing through the forests, they met a fiend that not only had heads paired in three but that was also quite supernatural. When the knight's who say "Ni" gave out quests for King Arthur and his knights to conquer, they came three times. But pairing in thirds is no the last element, characters throughout the film hinted as well towards a romantic theme. Wise old men and hags appeared intermittently throughout the Holy Grail. When King Arthur and his knights were seeking a shrubbery, they said "Ni" to an old crone until the shrubber interrupted them. A wise old man appeared in scene 24 who...
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