How on Earth could I have lived almost 38 years without ever seeing “The Life of Brian” to the end? It is a movie in its own category, even within the Monty Python group; friends had been telling me I had to watch it for a long, long time.
Now that I am through it, I have to admire the incredible finesse with which the MP crew packs a short amount of time. It is bound to be the highest concentration of satiric jokes on DVD. Some of the skits they came up with are so amazingly to the point, you can’t really laugh because there is too much depth.
For those like me that haven’t had the time to watch the movie yet: it’s about the life of a Brian of Nazareth, born by coincidence around the same time as Jesus. It’s the story of a guy that lives in the shadow of Christ, encountering the same characters, but with a funny twist.
Let me give you an example: the very first scene is the nativity, with the three Wise Men coming to honor the newborn child. They go into a house, find a bitchy and greedy woman with a little child. She tells them the baby’s name is ‘Brian’, and tries to get rid of the men. When she finds out they are there to give the child presents of value, she takes them and throws them out.
Once they get to the street, the real nativity beckons from a manger, and we start understanding this is not an anti-religious movie at all. The Wise Men will return from Brian’s house, take the gifts away from the greedy mother, and return them to their intended recipient.
While the movie may not be anti-religious, it certainly is iconoclastic. It pokes fun at nearly everything (except religion), especially at the ineptitude of the Roman occupiers and its well-matched incompetence in the Jewish resistance, whose member Brian becomes.
Some delving in the lower echelons of humor must be forgiven, as should be a gratuitous E.T. scene that contributes nothing to the plot. That year, I guess, there was a lot of alien kidnapping going on in the press.
The DVD itself is very poorly produced. I hope there is going to be a remake (of the DVD) with better sound and a few extra features.
All in all, though, definitely a must see!