King Arthur and his knights are tasked by God to find the Holy Grail.
Any further plot details would only A) spoil any surprises for anyone leaving their Bio-Dome and having never seen the movie; B) spiral us into a never-ending re-telling of all the lunatic digressions packed into this non-retelling of the Arthurian legend. Suffice to say that the Monty Python troupe (Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Michael Palin, Terry Jones, Eric Idle) play about a million characters each, and future super-director Terry Gilliam starts honing his directing chops in an entertaining mish-mosh which is never boring.
The original theatrical release was one of those revelatory experiences for many; the original Python TV shows were just starting to be syndicated here in America, and we were ill-prepared for the total anarchy of their approach to humor, smashing together high intellectualism with low humor and rampant absurdity. For a lot of us, this movie was like a hot shower and a bracing shot of oxygen after working all day in a stifling, dirty factory: our eyes were opened and we suddenly realized how good life can be.
Of course this movie also provided creativity-challenged Renaissance Faire participants with their repertoire of lines, if not their entire character, but that cannot be held against the Pythons; Holy Grail remains, in many ways, their masterwork - a gem of inventiveness created under what can only be described as impoverished, rushed circumstances.
Columbia Tristar once more puts out a terrific-looking disc. There is some blooming on the white-against-black credits (consistent even through the trailers in the extra section), though to be fair, this is a phenomenon I've also noticed in theaters, with a projected image.
The only extras to speak of are trailers for other movies: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, The City of Lost Children, Dr. Strangelove, and Homegrown. A theatrical trailer for Holy Grail is incredibly conspicuous by its absence.
Perhaps one day the Criterion Collection's playful laserdisc pressing of this movie will be ported over to DVD - but until that fine day, this edition offers a proper, if unadorned, treatment.
Dr. Freex, 5/22/00