back to article Monty Python and the Holy Grail on Blu-ray

Round and round we go the video format bush. First you recorded it off the telly. Then you bought it on VHS. Finally, you acquired a perfectly brilliant version on DVD. And now, finally again, Sony Pictures has found yet another way for you to part with your money for the love of Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Monty Python …


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  1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

    Tell me...

    Did you used to work for a video games magazine?

    80% for a grainy film, with pointless and bad extras, that you admit has awful sound, just because it ties-in with a pay-for app? And they can't even link the online content correctly?

    Isn't this back in the realm of "pay me money, I'll give you a 90% rating"?

    Someone please bring back proper reviewing, where "scores" can go down to 0 again rather than starting at 80, and people aren't afraid to say that a product is junk or you're probably better off with the previous releases unless you're an absolute collector freak.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Tell me...

      80% because if you don't already have the DVD, it's great.

      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: Tell me...

        That's like giving Windows ME 80% because if you don't already have Windows 3.1/95/98/2000, it's great.

        1. Swarthy

          Re: Tell me...(@Lee Dowling)

          Only in the respect that Win ME is a joke. Nearly as funny as Mr. Montgomery Python, if your humor is based on schadenfreude.

          I think the score breaks down to:

          85% because it's The Holy Grail,

          +3% for added features,

          +4% for the app integration,

          -2% because the app is not bundled,

          -1% for the failure(impossibility?) of updating the audio/visual,

          -4% for not having the proper links/extras that were advertised,

          -1% because what's the point of putting it on Blu-Ray?

          -1% for cost

          Round it and you get 80%

        2. JDX Gold badge


          "That's like giving Windows ME 80% because if you don't already have Windows 3.1/95/98/2000, it's great."

          No that's a moronic argument because ME was far worse than earlier versions whereas the review clearly states the BD version is better than the DVD.

          It's pretty standard to review a product on its own merit.

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Tell me...

        I think I got a copy of this DVD from the Walmart bargain bin about 5 years ago.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tell me...

      Indeed. 80% for some fake stereo and grainy picture is mad. The film stock isn't great so it will never look that good. Since the DVD can be picked up for a couple of quid they'd need to be a compelling reason to get the blu-ray release.

    3. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Tell me...

      >>people aren't afraid to say that a product is junk or you're probably better off with the previous releases unless you're an absolute collector freak<<

      Funny you should say that. Did you read the review?


      1. Lee Dowling Silver badge

        Re: Tell me...


        Did you read the final score again? 80% if that IS your conclusion?

      2. Woodgar

        Re: Tell me... (Alistair Dabbs)

        >Funny you should say that. Did you read the review?

        I think that was the whole point.

        Most of the review was spent telling us how bad everything was, and that you'd be better off buying the DVD, but it still gave it score of 80%

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Can someone please explain this to me?

    I don't give a toss about extras, how it was made, what they had for tea on location, where it was shot, what the place looks like now or a thousand other piles of useless information. I just want to watch the film not go on Mastermind specialist subject, the bleedinng obvious. Sorry, a bit of crosstalk there.

    Basically they've invented a format that can hold far too much and now need to justify the high price by conning the public into thinking they are getting more. Pretty soon they'll be claiming the FBI warning is part of the movie experience and having a "how it was made" extra for that as well.

    1. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Extras?

      In which case you can get a non-special edition for a few quid and stop whining that serious fans want something more.

      1. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Extras?

        All of this other nonsense distracts from the movie. The movie is still the main point of the entire enterprise. If the movie itself is not executed well then the other distractions are pretty meaningless.

        Did they do a righteous transfer? If not then it's game over. The BD doesn't deserve anything better than 50%.

        1. Jolyon Smith

          Faithful transfer of poor source material somehow = bad transfer ?!

          That's dumb logic.

          The review points out that the ORIGINAL FILM STOCK itself is responsible for the poor visual quality. If the blu-ray transfer faithfully reproduces poor original visuals how is it not deserving of a high score ?

          That's like down-rating the visuals of a blu-ray because the focus is off in some of the shots. That's not the fault of the format or the transfer and ironically may only be noticeable precisely BECAUSE the transfer is top notch, showing the source material WARTS AND ALL.

          I suspect - and the screen shots seem to support this - that the image quality on this blu-ray is significantly improved over the DVD in key areas such as colour gradation, contrast and black levels, all things where blu-ray has significant advantages and benefits over DVD.

          Will that show up things we perhaps don't stand up as well alongside modern production values ? Maybe.

          But it is what it is.

          Don't like it ? Go get yourself a print of the film for your movie projector for the authentically genuine experience ... but I suspect the blu-ray will actually be preferable to that.

      2. tfewster
        Thumb Down

        Re: Extras?

        It has nothing more for the serious fan - No better quality, no extras that a serious fan couldn't find elsewhere and MISLEADING ADVERTISING as to the extras included. So yes, it's a ripoff.

        But still one of my top-5 films, no matter what format. And the fact that $ony hope they can bilk another generation with another crappy release is actually a tribute to the genius of the Pythons.

    2. AndrueC Silver badge

      Re: Extras?

      Does anybody ever watch those extras? I think I might have done once from the first DVD I bought but never since. Then again I rarely bother with DVDs at all. Watching most things once is enough. I do actually have the aforementioned set of DVDs for this but only because it's a classic.

      I suppose that 80% on the basis that you might not already have it might be acceptable but I'm not convinced.

      1. JDX Gold badge

        Re: Extras?

        I rarely watch them either but that's why I don't buy special edition versions because I also don't want a special box or a 100 page book... but I appreciate collectors do.

      2. Graham Bartlett

        Re: Extras?

        If they're interesting, yes. I'm always interested in "how did they do that?" or good stuff about how it was put together.

        This though seems pretty much the definition of a WOMBAT (waste of money, brains and time). Nothing much interesting, and nothing new to say. Buy it on DVD for a fiver instead.

        1. Miek

          Re: Extras?

          I am always left wondering why anyone would want to watch the film + directors commentary, it's very much like watching a programme that has been dubbed into German but has left the original soundtrack intact but quieter than the dubbed soundtrack.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Extras?

      It is called choice. Some of us who have seen the film dozens of times enjoy knowing about the background ideas. Some commentaries can be better than the film. (Whereas others can just be a director droning on and send you to sleep)

      Usually there is a simple "single disk" or "just the movie" DVD released which will be cheaper and more fit your needs.

      It is these extras that make me want to by DVDs\BluRays of decent films instead of torrenting them. (There have been many occasions where I have watched a torrent at a friend's house and then gone home and bought the DVD from Amazon or EBay purely for that commentary)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Anonymous Coward 14:49

        Have your choice, nothing wrong with that but I still don't understand why you'd want to know that when Michael Palin said "African or European" they spent three days discussing whether it would be funnier to say it that way or say "European or African", that it took 25 dubs to get the right comic intonation and that it wasn't actually Michael Palin but a voiceover atriste because MP had a cold that day. I doubt I'll need to be reminded to stay clear of anybody who comes up with such stuff and in particular anybody who really does knows whether it was MP and the order the question was phrased because they were just guesses.

  3. Gashead

    With all that space for extras it's disappointing to see nothing about the Swedish Du-reformen and it's relationship to The Knights Who Say Ni.

    1. Philip Lewis

      OK, I'll bite

      Please tell me what the Swedish "du" reform had to do with the Knights who say "Ni"?

      If it's easier, you can answer in Swedish :)


  4. hitmouse

    I'm sure they'll have extra ads, some sterner piracy warnings, region protection and perhaps a rootkit to remind all of you not to mess with the S.

    1. electricmonk

      The only extra I want with it is...

      ...A SHRUBBERY!

      1. Thomas 4

        Extra extras

        I was kind of hoping for a scratch 'n' sniff card with it so that now you really can smell the Elderberries!

      2. Andy Christ

        But not too expensive.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ..round and round the format..etc

    You forgot to mention those of us who also paid to watch it at the cinema (yep I'm that old).

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: ..round and round the format..etc

      >>You forgot to mention those of us who also paid to watch it at the cinema (yep I'm that old).<<

      I don't think I so. Did anyone bother to read this review before commenting?


  6. Kevin Fairhurst

    Shakespeare subs....

    I'm fairly certain that and a couple of the other "Bluray only" extras are on my DVD version of the film....

  7. Eponymous Cowherd

    She's a Witch, She's a Witch......

    I'm trying to get my head around the Reg ratings system. It seems to be something like:-

    95%: Stupendous

    90%: Great

    80%: OK

    75%: Meh

    70%: Poor

    65%: Awful

    60%: Crap

    55%: Total Crap

    50%: Complete and utter Crap

    45%: So unbelievably crap you won't believe it

    40%: OK, so there is something worse than unbelievably crap

    35%: Possibly the crappiest pile of crap ever invented.

    30%: Definitely the crappiest pile of crap ever invented.

    25%: Surely nothing can be crappier than this.

    20%: Oh my GOD. I can't believe how crap this is.

    15%: The reviewer killed himself because this is so crap.

    10%: The Review killed himself after massacring the rest of the office in complete despair at the sheer crappiness of this thing.

    Products scoring less than 10% will result in immediate Armageddon.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: She's a Witch, She's a Witch......

      Amiga Power was one of the few magazines ever to use the full 0 to 100 range. Made them a few enemies though from publishers who couldn't accept that 50% was an "average" game.

      This was their reasoning:

      1. mark 63 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: She's a Witch, She's a Witch......

        haha, Thats a proper old school text only website must have been from the days when ISPs like pipex only gave you 5mbs of space.

        1. This post has been deleted by its author

  8. Giles Jones Gold badge


    Is it not in 3D? blimey, there's the next release lined up then.

  9. mark 63 Silver badge

    Weighs more than a Duck

    So if the Blu ray has more data on it than a DVD ,

    Then it must be heavier , so if the dvd floats ..

    and the BLu ray dosent then it weighs more than a duck!

    Fetch the Large Scales!

    1. TheMidnighToker

      Re: Weighs more than a Duck

      DVDs and ducks are made of wood?

      1. Thomas 4

        Re: Weighs more than a Duck

        Judging by the horrific grinding noises my DVD drive makes when it's installing something, I'd have to say yes.

  10. Donald Miller

    A Load Of Rubbish! — Is this included on le Bleu Roi? I doubt there's much extra beyond the 2001 Special Edition, and the weblinks worked back then. Mind you, I haven't tried them lately. And the entire Japanese version is on that 2-disc (sic) lowly DVD. Now if this had Black Plague Tetris as the original CD version did, that'd be spanking!

    1. NogginTheNog

      Le Bleu Roi?

      "The Blue King"?

      The French for Blu Ray is "Blu Ray" :-)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Le Bleu Roi?

        Certainly you mean "le Blu Ray".

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    worth it i suppose

    as some stage the nutcases will appear and question why the grubby low quality res of the film wasnt spread across the whole full fat bluray capacity cos they can see the

    Shame most of the 70s looks so fuzzy.

    I suppose the invention of faster film stock meant you could dispense with a lighting crew and controlled studio settings. saving cash in the 3 day week 70s.

    and there is an air of grubby medieval authenticity compared to those naff bollywood epics from the 50s and 60s.

  12. Winkypop Silver badge

    First shalt thou take out the Holy Pin, then shalt thou count to 80

    no more, no less. 80 shall be the number thou shalt count, and the number of the counting shall be 80. 81 shalt thou not count, neither count thou 79, excepting that thou then proceed to 80. 82 is right out. Once the number 80, being the 80th number, be reached, then lobbest thou thy Holy Hand Grenade of Antioch towards thy foe, who being naughty in My sight, shall snuff it.

  13. HP Cynic

    My favourite Python but I have it on DVD so thanks to this review I can safely pass :)

  14. bitmap animal

    Film grain vs compression

    Generally I don't mind film grain, it tends to be quite organic whereas I find compression artefacts harsh and intrusive.

    Another often overlooked quality difference can be the graduation of colour; the film is effectively infinite but during digitisation it will need to be stepped. I'm sure there is a technical term for it but you will often see it on underwater scenes where the watery background should be smooth graduated colours but actually has just three or four blocky steps. Horrible.

    1. Emo

      Re: Film grain vs compression

      It's called quantisation.

      1. ridley

        Re: Film grain vs compression

        I think you have a LCD/LED type TV, this sort of thing is much less noticeable on a plasma IMHO. Though why that should be I have no idea.

      2. Fuzz

        Re: Film grain vs compression

        Maybe it's different for video but that kind of colour banding is referred to as posterization on digital images.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I can highly recommend

    That anyone who works in IT, particularly with Indian developers, watch the scene in the swamp castle with the king and his guards, it may seem strangely familiar.

    King: Guards, make sure the prince doesn't leave this room until I come and get him.

    Guard: Not to leave the room... even if you come and get him.

    King: No, no. *Until* I come and get him.

    Guard: Until you come and get him, we're not to enter the room.

    King: No, no, no. You *stay* in the room, and make sure *he* doesn't leave.

    Guard: And you'll come and get him.

    King: Right.

    Guard: We don't need to do anything, apart from just stop him entering the room.

    King:No, no. *Leaving* the room.

    Guard: Leaving the room, yes.


  16. Detective Emil

    The app's fine without the BD …

    … and rather better value.

  17. Dapprman
    Thumb Down

    One of teh few reasons I still have a video player ...

    I bought that 'excellent' DVD set to replace my ageing video copy, but instead it was the former that got filed away. Compared to the original there were various bits that appeared to have been edited by the PC brigade, especially the opening (the curry house advert 'and after while not see the movie Monty Python and the holy Grail at a near by cinema').

    If the Blu Ray movie is the same version as on the DVD, then I'll stick with my video until it eventually wears out.

    1. Jeebus

      Re: One of teh few reasons I still have a video player ...

      Weird, my two DVD versions both contain the curry house advert.

      Strange how the "PC brigade" only chose you to victimise. Oh wait.

      You wanted to get in a sly dig about how they "don't allow it no more".

      Shame you're lying.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: One of teh few reasons I still have a video player ...

        >Shame you're lying


        How to recognise a pirated DVD from quite a long way away

        No. 1: Monty Python and the Holy Grail -

        Answer : It doesn't have the curry advert

  18. AlexS
    IT Angle

    Excellent, IT website The Register does film reviews under a hardware portal.

    Keep it up ;)

  19. Captain DaFt

    I can't believe you missed one!

    Of all the ways you listed to enjoy "Monty Python and the Holy Grail", you left out my favorite; the video game! Possibly the easiest video game ever, but you'll spend hours registering it!*

    *Anyone that's ever played game knows what I'm talking about. :)

  20. Steven Jones

    Strange criteria...

    Anybody buying, or reviewing a Monty Python film on the basis of the quality of its audio and video technical quality has, frankly, rather missed the point...

    1. Alistair Dabbs

      Re: Strange criteria...

      >>Anybody buying, or reviewing a Monty Python film on the basis of the quality of its audio and video technical quality has, frankly, rather missed the point...<<

      I agree, but audio/video quality is always high on the list when people consider buying Blu-ray movies. I don't think my review would have been enhanced by not addressing the question at all.


  21. Anonymous Coward

    Excellent news

    Now i will download this off usenet, not give sony a penny and add it to my collection.

    WHEN are they going to stop flogging the horse on releasing stuff, filmed on acetate with pin hole cameras, mono 2 bit sound, then slapping a sharpening filter (which makes it worse), some crappy extras and touting it as something wonderful...

    Thanks Sony, anything i can do to contributre to your imminent downfall is OK by me...

    PS, i bought this on VHS and then DVD.

  22. DownUndaRob
    Thumb Down


    If it cant be played on my PCs Blueray Disc Player then its faulty and I want my money back.

  23. RAMChYLD

    One thing I don't understand...

    External Blu-Ray drives can't play back the disc? This can't be good news for those with an ultrabook or netbook and want to watch the film on the go but don't want to go down the ripping route and feel cheated enough to don't want to buy the film again on iTunes or whatever digital format available in the region.

    Oh wait, Sony release you say? Not surprising then. Personally, I'll pass.

    1. Paw Bokenfohr

      Re: One thing I don't understand...

      Agreed, that was the negative that stood out for me in the review too.

      Sure, the picture quality is going to be a little ropey, and the sound too - what would people expect from a low budget decades old film?

      But why the restrictive DRM? You know that it's going to be available online immediately someone get a hold of the disc, so why punish only the people who legitimately purchase the disc fair and square?

      Do Sony really think that this is the way to shore up their share price? Surely they should be looking to ways to engage their customers rather than new ways to alienate them.

    2. ChrisC Silver badge

      Re: One thing I don't understand...

      "do not try to play the disc on an external USB Blu-ray player attached to your computer: the copy protection only allows it to be played through video connections such as HDMI."

      This is the first I've heard about the type of connection between drive and decoder having any influence over whether or not HDCP kicks in. It's also the first time I've heard about HDCP preventing playback, rather than simply playing the content back downscaled to SD resolution instead.

      Would it be reasonably safe to suggest that playback failed on this particular test setup, not because of the USB drive used to deliver the disc data to the decoder, but rather because of some non-HDCP-compliant component further along in the output chain?

      Whatever the reason for the failure to play the disc, it's crap like this which makes me pleased there's stuff like AnyDVD out there - other than the occasional hiccup when I first try to play a disc either it or PowerDVD haven't seen before (with the resultant collection of update requests sometimes tying the system up in knots), the ability to play DVDs and Blu Rays over an unprotected VGA link to my plasma, with no worries about region coding, unskippable trailers and anti-piracy propaganda etc. manages to dull the pain and suffering involved in watching video material legally just sufficiently to stop me from simply grabbing a torrented version that doesn't strive to make life difficult for me to simply watch whatever it is I want to watch.

  24. toadwarrior

    I wish my life was so empty that I could get upset about a movie being released on a new format.

  25. Anonymous Coward


    Poor picture, high price, no playback on USB.

    Might I suggest that people go and buy the DVD version instead for a couple of quid and El Reg grows some balls and awards this release something closer to 50%?

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