Previously available in various dvd versions, including one from CRITERION, SONY has released a "remastered" version of "MONTY PYTHON'S LIFE OF BRIAN" on dvd and blu-ray. As with all Monty Python humor, "LIFE OF BRIAN" still goes on too long, so an argument can be made that it would be more appealing to watch the film in smaller(20 minute)doses, leaving the viewer wanting more, rather than watching the whole film at once, and more than likely causing a headache, and even feeling sluggish in a few spots.
When the film's gags work, it's side-splitting humor, but when some of these gags falter(and they do)it paints the bigger production as dull. The film's modest budget obviously works in its favor, as much of the humor is more effective with an intimate atmosphere. That's not to say the film feels cheap, as there are plenty of big scenes as well, with surprisingly effective large scale settings.(although one can assume the actual "Sermon on the Mount" was more crowded than it appears to be, here!)
Spoofing everything biblical, "LIFE OF BRIAN" focuses on "Brian," the boy born "next door" to Jesus, with a less than holy mother. One disturbing scene shows her getting on her knees to prepare to service a Roman Soldier. It actually jolted this reviewer, as it actually felt completely unnecessary in a film that's comprised of numerous scenes that are controversial, but at least much funnier.
John Cleese is hilarious in every single scene he's in, which thankfully, are many!
SONY has definitely cleaned up the image, especially when compared to the previous ANCHOR BAY release and even the Criterion release. There are still some signs of artifacts appearing at different times throughout the dvd, but less so on the blu-ray. Colors are notably deeper on both the dvd and blu-ray in comparison to previous dvd releases. The blu-ray offers even more notably richer colors than the new dvd manages to present. As solid as the dvd image is, it still lacks depth. This is exactly where the blu-ray really shines. For the first time, "LIFE OF BRIAN" really offers plenty of "jump off the screen" depth on blu-ray. Sure, a few scenes fall flat, but the great majority offer sensational depth! Both dvd and blu-ray offer deep blacks, but the blu-ray offers notably superior contrast, overall.
SONY has provided the correct 1.85:1 aspect ratio(with 16:9 enhancement for dvd)for dvd and blu-ray. The blu-ray offers a 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 transfer.
SONY has provided a Dolby Digital 5.1 mix for the dvd and Dolby TrueHD 5.1 and PCM 5.1 mix for the blu-ray. While the dvd and blu-ray mix are slight improvements over the previous incarnations, those ones were completely dreadful, so the bar for improvement isn't very high and none of these are anywhere close to reference quality. In fact, even while fidelity is improved, all of these mixes are disappointing in terms of dynamic range and atmosphere. The blu-ray offers slightly better surround involvement.
Both dvd and blu-ray offer numerous extras, including two commentaries, deleted scenes and a "behind-the-scenes" featurette, as well as trailers in high-def on blu-ray.