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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Monty Python's Life of Brian (Criterion)
Monty Python's Life of Brian (Criterion)
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Review by Jeff Field | posted January 4, 2000 | E-mail the Author
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Features: 5 Deleted Scenes with optional commentary by the Pythons, 2 Commentary Tracks (One with Palin and Cleese, one with Idle, Gilliam and Jones), 4 British Radio ads, Theatrical Trailer, "The Pythons" Documentary, Widescreen, Dolby Digital 2.0 Soundtrack.

The Movie:
Monty Python's Life of Brian is a religious satire, set in the time of Christ (Starting in the year 1, continuing in 33AD), of a man born in the manger next to Christ who's life parallel's that of Christ. Banned in many places, originally cancelled due to fears of protest and boycotts, Monty Python's Life of Brian is one of my favorite movies. You follow Brian as he gets mistaken for the Messiah, and in the end suffers the same fate as Jesus and many other people of that time. Surrounded by more controversy at the time than Dogma is today, out of the smoke rose one of the greatest comedies of our time.

The Picture:
The picture quality on this disc is excellent for Life of Brian, of which all the versions I've seen up until have been extremely fuzzy and dull looking. This version is very sharp, but has spots and "cracks" in several areas, keeping it from getting a 4 or even 5 rating for picture. The widescreen version is a nice touch since all of the copies I've seen of this movie were full screen.

The Sound:
The Dolby Digital 2.0 soundtrack is clear, if a bit low-sounding in some places. While not being able to greatly benefit from the use of a 5.1 track, the use of the center channel on this disc would have helped with the low-sounding soundtrack. Otherwise, the audio track is satisfactory.

The Extras:
Extras are the area where this DVD really shines, especially if you are a Python fan as I am. The disc includes the original theatrical trailer, one of the features I enjoy most on DVDs as for many of the movies, I was either too young to see them or missed the opportunity to see them when they were in theatres. The disc also includes the 4 original British Radio ads featuring Eric Idle, John Cleese, Terry Gilliam and Michael Palin. The first 3 include their mothers, while Michael Palin's includes his dentist. 5 deleted scenes are included, and have optional commentary from the different Pythons. Finally, the film has 2 impressive commentary tracks, the first by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Eric Idle, the second with John Cleese and Michael Palin. Both of these tracks are funny, interesting, and informative.

Conclusion:
For fans of Monty Python, there is no arguing that this disc is a requirement for any DVD collection. For everyone else, if you're looking for a funny movie with a lot of great extras, then Life of Brian Criterion is the way to go.

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