Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I have to admit I couldn’t get through Terry Pratchett’s “The Color of Magic,” which is the first book in the Discworld series (how many are there now, like fifty or something?). I thought I would love it because I loved “Good Omens,” which he wrote with Neil Gaiman. That book was funny and clever and extremely readable. But the problem I find with most fantasy is that is feels overwritten. The description and dialogue sounds like the characters are from the Victorian Age, very stilted and stiff. And many of the names use apostrophes and lots of consonants…I’m generalizing but you get the idea.

I also tried to read Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” but that too was difficult for me. I frankly got bored with its description-laden prose and complex sentences. I’m a simple girl, after all, with a very simple brain. Peter Jackson’s visual interpretation, however, made me love the story and the characters.

And the same was true for Vadim Jean’s television version of “Hogfather.” I loved this movie! The characters were fascinating, particularly Death, who came off as possibly the most sensitive of all the characters in the film. I never felt confused by any of the story – just as with Jackson’s “Rings,” I didn’t feel lost because I didn’t read the books. It was extremely well-written and I think it helped a lot that Pratchett himself “mucked about” with it, as his film credit goes.

The general gist of the story is that, in this alternative world, the auditors of the universe want to eliminate all of humankind’s belief in things like the Hogfather (similar to our Santa Claus), the Tooth Fairy, Death, etc. (anything in which a belief is personified). So they hire a very cold and calculating man with an intimidating glass eye named Mr. Teatime –who kills an awful lot of people in this movie – to “inhume” him. Mr. Teatime begins by going after the Tooth Fairy. When Death finds out what’s going on, he takes on Hogfather’s role, so that the children of the world will still get their presents and continue to believe because if they don’t believe anymore, he will disappear and the sun won’t come up.

I loved the character of Susan, Death’s granddaughter, who wants to live a normal life but gets sucked into helping Death because a) she’s curious and b) there are certain places Death can’t go but she can. And I adored her scenes with the monsters under the bed and Mr. Teatime – she is one butt-kicking chick.

The whole film was simply fascinating and was produced by Robert Halmi, Sr. and Jr. the father and son who brought some remarkable stories to American television, including the amazing “Gulliver’s Travels” a few years ago. The whole production definitely has their brand of visual lushness and high-quality CG.

Watching this movie makes me want to try reading Pratchett again.

2 of 3 Vees would dig this.