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Erik The Viking  

Review: written 24th March 2007

Not funny enough for adults, not fairy tale enough for kids

It is a little disappointing revisiting this movie after so many years..

Terry Jones has gone to great lengths in commentaries and interviews to explain that this is not a Monty Python movie, but a fairy tale - taken from his children's book. However, in reality, it spans the gap between Python and fairytale, in a similar way to Jabberwocky, or Time Bandits.

As Python comedy, it is never crazy or cutting edge enough to please the fans. At least John Cleese is here, (a last minute replacement for Jack Lemmon, apparently.) in fine fettle in a delicious cameo. There are definite sparks, and laugh out moments - I enjoyed the loading of the boat scene (`That's no good, now you have all the men with moustaches on one side, and the ones with beards on the other!'), but even in the leaner cut available on DVD it is never quite the mirth fest it so wants to be.

As a fairytale, it does not quite have the memorable message or nemesis to make it all work, although the moments in the middle are pure fairytale - the Utopian land of Hy-Brazil has a perfect flavour of Python, making it more memorable than even the ending of the film.

The curiosity factor of the film is upped by a string of interesting cameos - not just Cleese, but Eartha Kitt, Mickey Rooney and Freddie Jones all have memorable parts.

So it is a mixed bag - it is funny, but only in places. It is memorable, but only in places.. It's just hard not to wonder how much better and edgier it might have been if Graham Chapman had not died, and the Python team had stayed on board to complete it together.

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