Monty Python's Flying Circus-Monty Python's Personal Best (2006)
Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Terry Jones' Personal Second Best
Featurette-A Look Into The Real John Cleese
Featurette-Eric Idle's Personal Second Best
Featurette-Michael Palin's Personal Second Best
Featurette-A Retrospective Of Python's Animation
Featurette-Graham Chapman's Personal Second Best
Trailer-Monty Python And The Holy Grail
Trailer-Monty Python's Life of Brian
|Year Of Production||2006|
|RSDL / Flipper||
Multi Disc Set (6)
|Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||2,4,5||Directed By||None Given|
Sony Pictures Home Entertain
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||Full Frame||English Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||None|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||1.33:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||Yes|
Monty Python are developing something of a reputation for being experts when it comes to recycling their product. They're not all that ashamed of it either, with titles like Another Ripp-off, Cash-in Edition and the like it's surprising they continue to get away with it!
The case in question here is Monty Python's Personal Best, a new compilation of material predominantly culled from the Monty Python's Flying Circus television series, which ran on the BBC from 1969 to 1974. The compilation is spread over six DVD5 discs, each disc containing about an hour of material dedicated specifically to one of the Python members. Some new material is included in the form of faux interviews and the like, but I'm certain that if you already own the Complete Collection of Flying Circus this won't be worth the investment. Another aspect of the compilation that disappointed me is the amount of overlap in the content between discs. Watching these back-to-back, I lost count of how many times I saw the Fish Slapping Dance, and the Cheese Shop pops up more than a few times as well. Also, the flow feels very odd because segues are missing and sketches that should flow from one to another have been awkwardly edited. Having said that, it is a good overview of the Python's work that could be an interesting introduction for a newcomer. Here's a quick run-down of the content:
This video transfer is a mixed bag to say the least. Obviously, the newly filmed segments are pristine, while the older sketches vary in quality. BBC programs from this period were filmed on analogue video in the studio and 16mm film on outdoor locations. The aspect is a consistent 1.33:1, full frame.
The image is as sharp as one would expect, considering the age of the source material. Some film artefacts, dirt and dust, is visible on the 16mm footage and some damage is visible from time to time. Magnetic tape hiccoughs are common, but aren't too obtrusive.
Colours are generally well rendered, but can appear a little smeared during the studio sequences that utilised videotape.
MPEG compression issues are kept to a minimum.
An English subtitle stream is available (among a myriad of other languages) and seems to follow the dialogue accurately.
All discs in this set are DVD5 formatted.
There's really very little to report here. A single two-channel Dolby Digital stream is included, encoded at 192Kb/s. This is effectively a mono effort.
The dialogue is dominant in the mix and easy to understand. I didn't notice any audio sync issues.
Like the video, the audio shows its age in places. There are a few minor drops in quality now and then, but it's never at the expense of the humor.
There's obviously no surround or subwoofer activity to report.
|Surround Channel Use|
This is decent collection of bonus material, but as I stated above, for a fan who already owns the complete series it's hardly an essential purchase. None of the content is 16x9 enhanced. The extras are also subtitled in English, French, German, Italian and Dutch.
A couple of additional sketches; the Multiple Murderer Court Scene and a personal favourite, Salad Days.
A couple of additional sketches; Lifeboat Cannibalism and Lupins.
A would-be making-of of the poolside interview which took two days to shoot. Cleese praises the crew generously while they all express their loathing for the man behind his back.
A couple of hilarious additional sketches; Beethoven's Mynah Bird, Julius Caesar on an Aldis Lamp, A Man With Three Buttocks and Johann Gambolpotty... of Ulm.
A very informative interview with Terry Gilliam, discussing how the animation was put together, the processes he used and his thoughts on why the style works so well.
A couple of additional sketches; Hell's Granny's, Cross-Channel Jump and Njorl's Saga.
Each disc has a ten-question quiz (titled Personal Test), based on the disc's content (some questions also cover the extras). It's a simple, menu-based system with no apparent prize for gaining 10 out of 10.
The trailer for the Monty Python and the Holy Grail DVD is included on every one of the six discs. The trailer for Life Of Brian can be found only on the John Cleese disc.
NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.
For the complete collection of Flying Circus, you can't go past the 16 Ton Mega Box.
The transfer is as good as you would expect, given the age of the source material.
The extras are worth a look.
|DVD||Denon DVD-3910, using HDMI output|
|Display||Sanyo PLV-Z2 WXGA projector, Screen Technics Cinemasnap 96" (16x9). Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 720p.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to DVD player. Calibrated with Video Essentials/Digital Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Denon AVR-3806 (7.1 Channels)|
|Speakers||Orpheus Aurora III floor-standing Mains and Surrounds. Orpheus Centaurus .5 Front Center. Mirage 10 inch powered sub.|