Day Seventeen: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (MotM 2017)

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Is it a meme to claim that Monty Python in general is overrated? Nevertheless, Monty Python and the Holy Grail is one of the most beloved films of the franchise. It’s created a number of memes and quotes that, even out of context, are fairly humorous. Even those who have never seen the movie once are sure to know that the film is never serious, and never takes itself seriously either. A type of comedy that’s far different than the American standard, it relishes in the whimsical absurdity it concocts with every scene. However, this is all one can expect, and with that in mind, there’s not much to say.

The Holy Grail makes fun of medieval things. It makes fun of chivalry and heroic conquests of epic bombast. It makes fun of the common tropes that come with epic action/adventures. And it delivers them with such enthusiasm that half the jokes run on for far too long. Commitment, they’ll call it. Committed to running down on time, I suppose. It truly is a specific taste for comedy, and while some will claim that it’s the wittiest and sharpest writing this side of early aged Europe, that sort of expectation is sure to make something as subjective as comedy falter. There is some credit to what kind of humor the film harbors, as it’s fairly varied in some regard, but ultimately, it doesn’t make for a hearty “LOL.”

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There’s a good runner-up term that indicates when a film isn’t exactly funny, but charming enough to be memorable. “Quotable.” No, quoting the term “quotable” isn’t a double-negative that nulls its effect. The Holy Grail is a very quotable movie, which almost works better for the truly zany moments during its span. Certain scenes are funnier than others, while some serve as filler for better things to come. Unevenness is the name of the game when all sorts of jokes are thrown with every other line. There’s use of fourth wall breaking, playing characters for fools, even animation is incorporated to good use. It all accumulates into a rather entertaining experience, but nothing truly worthwhile. Though this fault is my own, as I have a certain set of priorities with films, many of which The Holy Grail scoffs at.

For me, this film was a mindless watch, something as a means of baseless entertainment. I had no expectations because in a ridiculous parody film, one shouldn’t. I simply watched and allowed myself to be entertained. Was I? To some extent. It had its moments of genuine ingenuity and some characters shined within their roles. For the most part, the performances were spirited and perfect for the nature of the genre. If not for the varying degrees of long-running spiels, the film would’ve made for an eternally amusing piece. Forgive me if I type as though I’m disappointed in the film by means of lost potential. The Holy Grail makes use of any and all potential within the genre it resides in. It just didn’t tickle me in the same way as others did, particularly films by Mel Brooks or Kung Pow.

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Just because I didn’t care for the comedy doesn’t mean it’s a bad film. The thing is with parody is that it’s fairly straightforward most of the time. If the art of parody doesn’t amuse you, there isn’t much else to hold onto, as just about every aspect holds true to that art. Whether it be story, characters, humor, performances, sound, tone, etc. Everything directly ties in some way to parodying a certain prospect. I appreciated the quotability of the film, though not the type of comedy—well, most of it. It’s recommendable on the merit that it employs a number of different styles that could possibly have a very strong hit for certain people. Plus, it’s nice to find out the origins of such classics as “It’s just a flesh wound.”

Final Score: 5.5/10

The rating for all other films can be found at Letterboxd.

For more, check out the March of the Movies Archive!

2 thoughts on “Day Seventeen: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (MotM 2017)

  1. As you said, this film is quotable. I enjoy parts of it in isolation, and love watching clips or individual set ups from it, but sitting through the whole film is kind of an exercise in tedium (then again it is well known my sense of humour is broken so my opinion on a comedy probably doesn’t mean much).

  2. I actually really love this film and find it absolutely hilarious, although a lot of that is likely to do with the fact that I grew up watching these stupid Monty Python films on top of being “British” (lol).

    I also have an incredibly stupid sense of humour. I love comedy that’s just plain silly, such as The Naked Gun movies (which handle this quotable and surreal comedy far better).

    That being said, the movie is certainly more quotable and more of a meme generator than anything else, especially by today’s standards.

    It’s been a very long time since I last watched the Holy Grail and I was never particularly into The Life of Brian or The Meaning of Life as much as this one, so I’m unsure of how I’d feel today (although I imagine I’d still get a large kick out of it).

    Nice post, really enjoyed your thoughts here!

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