Sir Terry Pratchett invented the Discworld in 1983, doing for fantasy what Douglas Adams did for science fiction, producing a universe built on stories that pokes fun at absolutely everything. He’s a master of the English language and I highly recommend that you read some of his books so you can really appreciate the deep satire and hysterical turns of phrase he employs with careless ease. This is the best movie version of a Discworld book I have seen, primarily because the director was in cahoots with the author himself and Pratchett said it was uncanny watching things come to life that had hitherto existed only in his imagination. The script is very faithful (almost verbatim) to the book and absolutely nails the characters, with my personal favorite being an inspired performance of Bilious, the Oh god of Hangovers (not at all how I had pictured him, but even better!). Hogfather is one in a series of books about the Anthropomorphic Personification of Death, a consummate professional who is fascinated with humanity and is actually a very sympathetic character. He’s not evil, he simply shows up when someone dies but is NOT the cause of it. In this particular tale, a sinister force has conspired to kill the personification of a mid-winter festival, forcing Death to intervene and assume the role himself, lest belief collapse and life as we know it cease to exist.
Discworld is made of magic, littered with all sorts of things familiar but not quite as we know them, its purpose to hold up a mirror to our own world so we can see things from a different and often extremely funny angle. My only criticism of this movie is that scenes are intercut with one another with such speed that it makes it a little difficult to follow the story if you don’t already know what’s going on. This is satiric anti-fantasy, in that the author has taken the genre so terribly seriously that the results are often hilarious and frequently extremely thought provoking, while also digging deep into the human psyche in order to find what really makes us tick. Quite profound and infinitely creative, savor a story quite unlike anything else and discover the importance of belief that defines us as human. -BETHANY
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Discworld, a place made possible only by magic and saturated in the stuff. It is carried on the backs of four great elephants who themselves stand on the shell of the Great A’Tuin, the World Turtle.
The Hogfather, a Discworld pseudo-Santa, who presides over Hogswatch, pictured on an Ankh-Morpork postage stamp.
Susan Sto Helit (Downton Abbey‘s Michelle Dockery), Death’s granddaughter (long story), a governess who chooses to deal with monsters under the bed not by telling the children in her care that they don’t exist, but by bashing them with a poker. “Don’t get scared. Get Angry.”
The Wizards of the Unseen University in Ankh-Morpork.
Susan investigates the Hogfather’s Castle.
Marc Warren as Mister Teatime, an assassin who makes even the Guild of Assassins nervous. Current contract: kill the Hogfather.
Corporal Nobbs, right, and Constable Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets, nicknamed ‘Washpot’ for some inexplicable reason.
Susan embraces her heritage.
Death gets downright philosophical.
Photos courtesy of The Mob Film Company, RHI Entertainment, British Sky Broadcasting, Moving Picture Company, Sky One and ION Television