Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
May 16, 2010 by Dennis Amith
Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Monty Python on television, “Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” is an enjoyable and hilarious comedy oratorio at the prestigious Royal Albert Hall. Fantastic video and lossless audio quality on Blu-ray! Monty Python and “Life of Brian” fans will love this Blu-ray release!
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TITLE: Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy
DURATION: 91 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (1:78:1), English, 5.1 DTS-HD MA, Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, Portuguese, Spanish
COMPANY: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
RATED: PG (Suggestive Material and Language)
RELEASE DATE: June 8, 2010
Directed by Aubrey Powell
Written by John Du Prez, Eric Idle
Produced by John Goldstone
Music by John Du Prez
Cinematography by Eugene O’Connor
Edited by Simon Sleap
Costume Design by Hazel Pethig
Eric Idle as Baritonish
William Ferguson as Brian
Shannon Mercer as Judith
Rosalind Plowright as Mandy
Christopher Purves as Reg
A one-night only live stage show/musical based on the motion picture Monty Python’s Life of Brian, and written by Eric Idle & John Du Prez (the creators of Spamalot). Show is being performed at the Royal Albert Hall in London on Oct 23, 2009 and being filmed in HD.
In 1979, “Monty Python’s The Life of Brian” was the most controversial film of its time and over 30-years later, the film is now looked at as the greatest British comedy of all time.
The film which revolved around a Jewish man named Brian who was born on the same day and lived next door to Jesus Christ is mistaken as the Messiah. And the three wise men accidentally praised Brian as the future King of the Jews. Brian has a resentment towards the Roman occupation of Judea after learning is father, Roman Centurion Naughtius Maximus had raped his mother Mandy. The film would feature Brian finding love, joining the Peoples Front of Judea (PFJ) and going on adventures that would lead to many people believing Brian to be the Messiah. Brian tells them that he’s not the Messiah but the answers he gets is that he looks like one and thus they put their belief in Brian to liberate them from the Romans.
Needless to say, because of the film’s content, “Life of Brian” was seen as blasphemous. While the Pythons maintained that the film is heretical and it lampooned practices of modern organized religion but not lampooning God that Christian and Jews worship.
The film eventually became the highest grossing British film in the US in 1979 and has left behind a legacy with various polls proclaiming “The Life of Brian” as the “Greatest British Comedy Film of All Time”.
Over 25-years later, with the success of Eric Idle’s “Spamalot”, a musical retelling of “Monty Python and the Holy Grail”, in 2007, Idle went on to create a comedy oratorio (a large musical composition featuring an orchestra, choir and soloist and modeled after an opera) for “The Life of Brian”. The oratorio would be known as “Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” and would spoof Handel’s renown oratorio “Messiah”.
As the 40th Anniversary for the Monty Python television program was to begin in 2009, Idle along with fellow Pythons Michael Palin, Terry Jones and Terry Gilliam would have a 90-minute one-night only performance of “Not the Messiah” at the Royal Albert Hall held on October 23, 2009. This would mark a major achievement for the Pythons and a first for the Royal Albert Hall and would feature the BBC Symphony Orchestra and Chorus conducted by John du Prez.
The performance would feature on stage, 5 soloists, 140-person chorus, 120 musicians and literally a full house. Now this exciting one night performance comes to Blu-ray and DVD on June 8th.
The following is the set list for the 91-minute performance:
1. The Liberty Bell.
Part One: Apocalypso Now
1. Chaos and Confusion!
2. There Shall Be Monsters.
3. O God You Are So Big.
Part Two: The Boy Next Door
1. Mandy’s Song.
2. Woe Woe Woe!
3. And There Were Shepherds.
Part Three: The Temptation of Brian
1. Brian’s Dream.
2. What Have the Romans Ever Done For Us?
3. The People’s Front of Judea.
4. I Want To Be A Girl.
5. The Market Square.
6. You’re The One.
Part Four: Baroque and Roll
1. Hail To The Shoe!
3. The Chosen One Has Woken!
4. When I Grow Up.
5. Take Us Home.
6. The Chosen One (cont.)
Part Five: Miserere Loves Company
1. Find Your Dream
3. A Fair Day’s Work.
4. The Final Song.
5. “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.”
6. Encore – Lumberjack Song
“Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” is presented in 1080p High Definition (1:78:1). The concert is full of colors and is quite vibrant. For a performance, there are a good amount of cameras covering the performance overhead, onstage, front of the performers, cameras on the choir, musicians, etc. Lighting is exceptionally well-done and a good amount of color is featured onstage. From the amber lighting, to the reds and blues which look very good and blacks are very deep.
The performance is absolutely beautiful in HD. Especially during the performance of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” in which the audience members hold their purple glow sticks and everyone including the audience is into (and involved) in the performance. Definitely one of the more colorful scenes from the whole concert.
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD MA. The lossless audio is fantastic! The music and vocals comes crystal clear through the front and center channels. While the surround channels are used for the audience and chorus. At the end, there are a few bangs but for the most part, the music and the excitement from that performance is literally heard quite well through this lossless soundtrack.
“Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” comes with the following special features:
- BD Exclusive: movieIQ+sync™ and BD-Live connect you to real-time information on the cast, music, trivia and more while watching the movie!
- The Road to the Albert Hall – (31:02) A featurette on how the Pythons, the performers, musicians prepared for the one-night event in a week’s time. We see what took place each day leading to the moments before they stepped onto the stage at Royal Albert Hall.
- Showtime! – (3:07) A featurette on everyone as they are excited, nervous and getting ready for the performance onstage.
- The Bright Side… – (2:57) A featurette about the use of the song “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”. Eric Idle talks about the use of the song for “Not the Messiah”.
- 6 Sing-Along Songs! – Viewers can sing along to the following songs: “What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us”, “The People’s Front of Judea”, “You’re the One”, “Amourdeus”, “Take Us Home”, “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life”.
For fans of the film “Life of Brian” or fans of Monty Python, “Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” is a wonderful and hilarious 90-minute concert. For one, the songs are quite enjoyable, the lyrics are quite hilarious but for the most part, the performers did a wonderful job singing and acting out the characters during their vocal performance.
Everyone is utilized in the performance. Aside from Idle and the Pythons and the four main performers: William Ferguson (Brian), Shannon Mercer (Judith), Rosalind Plowright (Mandy) and Christopher Purves (Reg) up front, we can see the musicians and the choir in the back. They get into the performance, whistling at parts that include whistling, nudging each other in unison and not just static performers, everyone on stage has a part.
And the audience was very supportive and also got into the performance. They laughed at the right time and as mentioned, the performance of “Always Look on the Bright Side of Life” was really impressive as everyone at Royal Albert Hall took part in the performance, including the audience with their glow sticks.
The performance was well done. The opera singers were fantastic and while singing these hilarious songs, they acted the part showing great facial expressions and most of all, Eric Idle definitely did a wonderful job as the Baritonish and John Du Prez doing a wonderful job in conducting the orchestra.
The Blu-ray for “Not the Messiah: He’s a Very Naughty Boy” is absolutely wonderful. The picture quality of the video and how the lossless soundtrack was used to bring out the vocals, the music and using the chorus and audience for the surround channels was well-done. Also, the Blu-ray comes with a good amount of special features as well.
If you are Monty Python or “Life of Brian” fan, there is no doubt about it, you’re going to love this performance on Blu-ray! Definitely recommended!
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