Bring out your dead! Ultimate 'Holy Grail' guide comes to iPad

Like any self-respecting geek, I can quote just about any scene from Monty Python and the Holy Grail — complete with a pretty spot-on English accent.

Perhaps he was dictating.
(Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET)

Needless to say, it ranks among my all-time favourite films — and that's why the new Monty Python: The Holy Book of Days app for iPad is such a treat. It's like a coffee-table book come to life; a mammoth interactive collection of cast-member goodies from the filming of the movie.

This embarrassment of riches features everything from outtakes and on-location photos to scene-specific script pages and a diary kept by Michael Palin during the filming (which, by all accounts, was a miserable experience — and one completed in just 28 days).

You can peruse the material two ways: "Day by Day", which chronicles every day of the shoot; and "Scene by Scene", which highlights just about every famous scene in the movie.

The latter provides an easy way to look at outtakes, stills, Palin's diary and script pages. But it's the "Day by Day" section where you really get to the meat of the app. For any given day, you'll get notes and quotes from the Pythons, audio clips, a daily continuity report, new and original animations (which serve as backgrounds for the pages) and modern-day, on-location documentary clips of Michael Palin and Terry Jones discussing the shoot.

Other goodies include 360-degree views of various movie props, audio clips from rehearsals, sound effects and an interactive map of Scotland.

What's particularly interesting is that you can sync the app with the newly released Monty Python and the Holy Grail Blu-ray (provided that your iPad and Blu-ray player are connected to the same network). That connection not only affords you iPad-based play/pause controls, but also lets you jump the app to whatever scene you're currently watching — or jump the movie to whatever chapter you're viewing in the app.

Alas, I couldn't get this to work on my Dynex Blu-ray player (the disc was never able to detect an internet connection), but it worked like a charm with my Sony player — and proved a really fun way to interact with both the app and the movie.

The Holy Book of Days costs a mere US$4.99, making it a must-have for Grail fans. And if you're interested in similar stuff for your iPad, check out the War in the Pacific app.


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