Movie Renter's Guide Number 154 - January, 2008 - Part III

ARTICLE INDEX

"Monty Python's The Life of Brian" (Blu-ray)

movie-life-of-brian-bd.jpgSynopsis

The Gospel according to Monty Python: In Judea, a boy is born in a manger a short distance from and about the same time, as Jesus Christ. Three wise men from the East are for a time deceived by this proximity into believing that he is the promised Messiah, but it soon becomes apparent that he is, in fact, only a hapless peasant named Brian. However, the "Life of Brian" causes plenty of commotion for the Roman Empire and leaves him desperate to escape his burgeoning popularity.

Specifications

  • Paramount Pictures
    2007, Color, Rated R, 2 Hr 42 min
  • Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
  • 1080p
  • English DD+ 5.1
  • Directed by David Fincher
  • Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey Jr, Anthony Edwards, Brian Cox, Elias Koteas
    Rating
  • Entertainment:
  • Video:
  • Audio:
  • Extras:
  • Violence: Yes
  • Sex: Mild
  • Language: Yes

Commentary

Monty Python’s hilarious religious epic has always been a good time though I still prefer their take on King Arthur a bit more. This new release features a new HD transfer and some great supplements. Any fan of the comedy troop will love this new release! I only wonder how a film like this would be received if it was released new in our present society. Seems like this kind of comedy isn’t as well received as it used to be.

Technical

Honestly, I didn’t know what to expect from a release like this. The Monty Python films have never looked that great and production wasn’t always high on the list. Sony has done a good job with this HD presentation but its far from spectacular. The quality of the print varies significantly from scene to scene. At times the image is quite clean and detailed with nice definition and depth. I would say this is the state of the presentation for the majority of the time. The rest of the time the image suffers from film wear, some variation in color balance and grain. Some light edge enhancement was noticed in some of the backgrounds at times and there even looks like there is some compression noise in some of the backgrounds early in the film.

The audio is presented in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. Despite the surround sound recording this film stays firmly stationed in the front soundstage with little to no use of the surrounds; most of the time it comes off as monaural. Dialogue is a bit on the bright side and has an edginess to it and the score isn’t much better. The soundtrack as a whole is recorded on the loud side and has a shrill quality to it that can be wince inducing at times. Again I wasn’t expecting much from the presentation but it seems like this soundtrack could have been balanced a lot better.

Extras

Lots of extras on this release though it isn’t the 2-disc set it was originally announced as. I don’t know what supplements, if any, that Sony cut out. There are two feature commentaries, a documentary on the film, a new illustrated take on the original screenplay (quite funny), deleted scenes, ads and some trailers. While not as complete as the Criterion release, there are still some great supplements here.