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Pros: British comedy at its best!
Cons: American viewers might not understand some of the British humor
Among all the comedy that I have seen during my life, British comedy has stood out more than any other humor. This might be due to the fact that I attend a British school, and that it might be commonplace around the school. Or perhaps it might be the fact that I have a strange sense of humor. Nevertheless, British comedy will, in my opinion, always remain as the best type of comedy out there.
Want to see excellent British comedy? I highly suggest that you watch Monty Python and the Holy Grail. This is, by far, one of the funniest movies I have ever seen in my life. I laughed so hard at this movie I could barely stand at the end (yes, my strange sense of humor begins to set in)!
Monty Python (for those who are unsure what it is), is similar to Saturday Night Live, in terms of putting together random but hilarious skits, but is yet slightly different, since Monty Python is usually evolved around a certain theme, while SNL does not execute its skits in that manner. The Monty Python series is done in a form of a movie and is not done live, like SNL. The main comedians of the movie usually play about 5-10 different roles. Famous comedians in this series include John Cleese and Michael Palin.
Anyway, first the plot. The film is basically a parody of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. King Arthur (Graham Chapman) is on the search for Knights of the Round Table, and is so throughout the movie. During his journeys, he does find some knights. He is also literally asked by God, to search for the Holy Grail (which is a well).
Arthur's Knights pretend to gallop on horses, but instead, are helped by Patsy (Terry Gilliam), Arthur's servant who hits two hollow coconuts together to create that horse galloping sound.
Throughout these journeys we learn all about the other Knights of the Round Table, and 3 in particular: Sir Lancelot the Brave (John Cleese), Sir Galahad the Pure (Michael Palin) and Sir Robin the Not-Quite-So-Brave-as-Lancelot (Eric Idle).
During Arthur's "mission from God", we break into the tales of Sir Lancelot, Sir Galahad and Sir Robin.
Sir Robin, along with his singing minstrels, ends up facing a 3 headed knight (Palin again, Chapman again and Terry Jones) and runs away from the 3 headed knight, with the minstrels singing: "Hooray, for Brave Sir Robin, who bravely ran away!" (Robin is obviously a coward, and insists he did not run away, and is not a coward).
Sir Galahad ends up in Castle Anthrax, a castle full of women aged 16-19, who make "exciting underwear" (emphasis on women). Sir Lancelot ends up pulling Sir Galahad out of the Castle, but Galahad insists he can handle all "150 of the perilous women". And that's basically it.
Sir Lancelot ends up getting a message from, what he thinks, is a princess (it's actually a Damsel-in-Distress), so Lancelot goes to the "Damsel's" castle and slaughters random people. Lancelot soon realizes the Damsel is a prince (Terry Jones again), who refuses to get married, and it causes a lot of confusion between the prince, Lancelot and the prince's father. You'll have to watch it to understand it.
Arthur and his men also have to get a shrubbery for the Knight of "Nee", so that Arthur and his men can get past these knights without being killed.
Will they do it? You'll just have to watch it!
NB: I apologize if the plot is confusing. If you have any queries, please contact that little bird up there in the sky. Thank you. I send another apology if this apology was rather sad.
There is nothing else in the plot, and the rest of the movie is basically a collection of many hilarious skits, that manage to weave themselves into the plot.
One such example is of Arthur's encounter with The Black Knight (also played by Cleese). The Black Knight does not allow Arthur to cross a bridge, so Arthur fights the knight, in order to get across the bridge. Arthur ends up cutting both his arms and legs off, because of The Black Knight's unwillingness to lose.
The dialog below shows The Black Knight's unwillingness to lose:
Arthur: "You are indeed brave Sir Knight, but the fight is mine."
Black Knight: "OOH, had enough, eh?"
Arthur: "Look, you stupid b*stard, you've got no arms left!"
Black Knight: "Yes, I have! (obviously doesn't!)
Arthur (in dismay): "LOOK!"
Black Knight: "It's just a flesh wound!"
After losing both his arms and his legs, the Knight still calls Arthur and tells Arthur that he'll bite his legs off.
Another very funny scene is when the group of knights try to get another knight from a castle, but are stopped by an obdurate French gatekeeper (John Cleese yet again!).
One of the funniest lines the gatekeeper comes up with has to be this one down below:
"You don't frighten us, English pig dogs! Go and boil your bottoms, you sons of a silly person! I blow my nose at you, so called 'Arthur King', you and all your silly English Knights."
After Arthur and his men refuse to budge, the French gatekeeper starts throwing the castle's live stock (live cows, live ducks, live chickens) towards Arthur's men and they start to "run away".
However, a huge wooden rabbit is wheeled towards the Castle, and after Arthur and his men return, the French gatekeeper uses the wooden rabbit and catapults it at Arthur and his men and they start repeating the phrase, "run away".
There is also a series of scenes, containing Latin monks "praying" (I put the quotes, because I don't know what they're doing!), while hitting their heads with wooden planks. These monks come in and out of scenes throughout the movie.
All the actors in the movie: Cleese, Palin, Chapman, Idle, Jones and Gilliam are all extremely funny! All the characters they play are hilarious, and are executed perfectly, but its Cleese's characters, who will make you laugh the most (the Black Knight, French Gatekeeper).
The way music is used to incorporate humor is another thing I found really funny in the movie. One example is when Lancelot is running towards the castle. Whenever we see the guards standing still at the castle, there is absolute silence. When we see Lancelot running towards the castle, this timpani roll is played. This has to be seen, instead of described by some bumbling fool like me.
The subtitles in the beginning during the credits are extremely hilarious as well, particularly when the "people responsible for putting the subtitles have been sacked". It's not only the subtitles though, but the actual credits itself as well. The credits state that the film was directed by llamas.
The abrupt ending did surprise me though, and I have to admit, I did not like it too much, but this is minor. I also think that in order to watch this, you must already be a fan of British comedy.
If you are a fan of British comedy, what on earth are you waiting for?! Go get yourself a copy of Monty Python and the Holy Grail on tape or DVD now!
Thanks for reading the review and I hope you enjoyed it!