Monty Python's And Now for Something Completely Different Reviews
Monty Python was a genuine, unique and silly British comedy series. There hadn't been anything like it before. For this reason, this film preserves some of their most famous early skits. However, this film will likely not be appreciated by non-fans, who will want to desperately turn it off or run out of the room after the first 10 minutes or so, if they can last that long.
I appreciate the genre and their TV series, but enjoyed their feature films more.
The best sketches like "Lumberjack Song", "Twit of the Year Race" and the opening "How to Stay Hidden" are probably worth watching the film at least once to have them in the memory banks. I'm also laughing as I write this with one of the best "clutz destruction" scenes of all times with the Mountain Climber in the office. That was an amazing bit to behold!
So if any of this piques your curiosity - you're going to enjoy this flick enough to be worth it. I just wanted to turn it off a few times for various reasons as well... hence the 3 of 5 rating.
Its actually amazing to read that some sketches or effects couldn't be recreated for this film because the budget was so low! This makes me wanna go back and watch the TV show to see the differences. Anyway, despite those revelations I've always liked this compilation of classic Python material and seen it as (almost) the definitive versions of the sketches, although that's probably because I grew up with this movie rather than the TV show (will somebody please fondle my buttocks!).
Watching this today as an adult many things have obviously changed, firstly, I actually understand all the gags now, all the little cheeky lines and quips are loud and clear. Its amusing to watch and remember back in the day when I didn't understand certain scenes or dialog. They totally flew over my head and I only enjoyed them mainly because I knew it was silly and because my dad was laughing. Its also quite shocking and hilarious at how offensive this movie actually is in places, its things like this that, back in the day, were virtually normal, maybe slightly taboo, but generally accepted in comedy. Watching now and its incredible! obviously you'd never get away with it. I'm pretty sure the camp soldiers on drill would be lambasted these days, also certain lines are clearly racist...'did you see who moved in next door?', 'oh yes, black as the ace of spades', 'Oh well, there goes the neighbourhood', blimey!
Its also funny to mention as early sketch which starts out with the narration...'In 1970 the British Empire lay in ruins, foreign nationals frequented the streets, many of them Hungarians'. Now is it me or, apart from the fact its Hungarians, the date of course and the sarcasm, this silly statement has actually come true! just replace Hungarians with Polish, Romanian and Bulgarian. Anyway, aside from the awkward, yet admittedly funny, offensive bits, there are of course all the main humdingers that we all know and love. The all time classic dead Parrot sketch with Cleese and Palin, 'nudge nudge, wink wink' with Idle and Jones, the lumberjack song with Palin, how to defend yourself against a man armed with a banana etc...Next to that you of course have the slightly longer skits that form small stories and offered a glimpse into the brilliant future of Python movies that had yet to be made. I actually preferred these at times as they felt more complete, obviously, like tiny comic strips with little tiny story arcs. In this movie the best of which are easily the 'Upper Class Twit of the Year' competition and the 'killer joke', which I reckon could of been made into an entire movie.
But wait! who could forget about those off the wall and quite often gruesome little animations from Gilliam. These were a real highlight for Monty Python, I especially liked them as a kid for obvious reasons. The whole concept just added a completely new layer to the proceedings, the teams surreal comedy could be expanded and more risky with the use of adult cartoons, they looked cheap and tacky, but at the same time so very well created. The almost shabby, bare bones, crude methods used for these little animated moments feel very much like a precursor to [i]South park[/i] if you ask me, it definitely seems that way, but the fact that some of the cartoon animations (and the style) have become just as big as the live action sketches goes to prove how fantastic they were. Everybody knows a Monty Python cartoon image when they see one.
All in all, even though this film could be looked upon as not entirely classic Python seeing as they remade everything from the original series for the cinema, and to some people that might cheapen or water down their act, the film has managed a cult following. Although, I must say, with all the various incarnations of their famous sketches, they can start to feel tiresome on occasion, I have often found one specific version of a sketch to be the best with many others missing a beat. Anyway being the first Python movie this naturally holds a special place in most fans hearts and its still an excellent spicy little ride. Application forms for lion tamer are available to all those with the proper qualifications only, thank you.