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4.2 out of 5 stars153
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 13 March 2008
This is the first "theatrical" (i.e. live actors, not cartoons) realisation of a Terry Pratchett novel, and like, I'm sure, all Pratchett fans I approached it with some trepidation. Would it work? Would the intricacies and atmosphere of the Discworld be adequately represented for us here on Roundworld? Could they be? It was a bit like going to see the first of the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy at the cinema - could such a different place, which each of us believed in in our own way, actually be filmed successfully? The answer with the Peter Jackson film(s) was, of course, a resounding "yes" and the same goes for this less ambitious venture.
There have been cartoon versions of two Terry Pratchett novels, "Wyrd Sisters" and "Soul Music" and these worked reasonably well, but the limitations of the media (and some rather quirky editing) mean that we had to wait for the live action "Hogfather", with excellent casting and production, CGI, and animatronics to start to do justice to Pratchett's vision.
It is difficult to fault it. The only thing the viewer has to take care about is that as well as enjoying it you have to pay attention because otherwise you will miss some typically Pratchett little gems, and possibly something relevant to the plot. Discworld devotees will appreciate it most, I think, but others should too, judging from the positive reaction from my family members who have hitherto resisted the novels. And yes, it is worth buying the two-disc version.
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on 13 January 2011
I really enjoyed this movie having purchased it at the Christmas holiday season so was particularly appropriate. If you are a Terry Pratchett fan you will not be disappointed.Where else could you read about Death being Father Christmas!
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VINE VOICEon 10 August 2007
The deranged assassin Mr Teatime has figured out a way to kill the Hogfather (think Santa but with porcine overtones). Knowing that without the Hogfather the sun will not rise, Death decides to boost the power of belief by impersonating the jolly fat man. Meanwhile, Death's (adoptive) grandaughter Susan takes it upon herself to stop Teatime's plans.

Pratchett fans will be pleased by the surprisingly faithful adaption of the Discworld novel of the same name. The character of Susan (played by the beautiful Michelle Dockery) is a wonderfully realised character with the perfect dry wit and cynicism which makes for a great protagonist. In fact, all of the characters are played to perfection by the all-star cast be it Marc Warren's psychotic Teatime or the bemused wisdom of Joss Ackland's wizard Mustrum Ridcully. There's plenty of humour on offer here too, with at least one good chuckle every ten minutes (the Oh God of Hangovers is particularly amusing). However, the element which made this film worthwhile for me is Death. The design of the character is really good, with the twinkling blue lights deep in his eye sockets being more effective than any amount of CGI could be. But it is Ian Richardson's vocal talent which, if you'll pardon the pun, really bring Death to life. Richardson manages to convey everything from Death's confusion over the human race to his rage against the Auditors perfectly. (ALBERT: "Never say die, that's our motto" DEATH: "I can't say it's ever been mine")

The plot of this film is really quite intricate and if you don't pay attention you may find yourself wondering things like 'Why are they in the Tooth Fairy's castle?' or 'What's all this stuff about the Verucca Gnome?'. The intricacy of the plot is made more problematic by the film's length. Having originally been two separate two-hour-long episodes, this means you'll have to pay attention for four hours to fully understand the plot. My only other complaint was that we didn't see enough of the Death of Rats, aka the Grim Squeaker.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 12 August 2011
This is almost an unfair criticism, in that there is so *much* detail in the original book, and so much of it relies on previous books in the series. As a result this is probably not the best item to try the wonderful Terry Pratchett's magical world for the first time. It's still a great experience for fans. But fans are big on the details, aren't we?

I'm a big fan, and I loved it. So why only 4 stars? It's mostly in the details....

The cutting-together is not as smooth or dynamic as (say) the more recent "Going Postal" which was a full 5-star experience. There were some cut-price special effects which grated (Susan Sto-Helit's Death-face morph, eg) and some of the casting was less assured.

Joss Acland as Ridcully was not the character I expected from the books, and Marc Warren as Mr Teatime - despite a talented performance in other respects - had chosen (or been directed) to play the part in an American accent (New England maybe? Hard to be sure). His dark glass eye was too obvious (less spooky than the misty grey one described in the book), and looked annoyingly like a teddy-bear eye. But his acting was fine, so he pretty much overcomes it.

This is the first of the Discworld series attempted as a TV movie - so it's hard not to give them full credit for having a serious go with generally good casting and enough time to develop this substantial book into a complete movie.

Recommended if you enjoy the Discworld series, and it would not hurt to have read the book or know the plot. If you are more into characters (like some other reviewers) and can just let the plot wash over you, it might suit a very relaxed newcomer to Discworld.

We only bought the 1-disk edition, but other reviewers recommend the 2-disk version as a better buy. <sigh>
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on 8 March 2012
some thing to bear in mind about this particular type of product; it is an adaptation of a book and therefore has a certain expectation from the fans of the books. I am in the process of becoming a fan of the books and have read only two of the series from the disc world, but not this one.

As a film I found it stood alone well, I can imagine that the fans would of been chomping about parts left out or alterations to it. but I would probably of thought of it as a homage to the book by another fan and been accepting of the fact that if you were to act out the whole book it would of cost a lot more and become a long series. I enjoyed it, the story was fun and at parts it had me feeling a little emotional and I was caught up in the plot all the way through, having a vague, although limited, idea of how Pratchett thinks when writing the books I guessed some things fairly close to the beginning. this did not effect my enjoyment, I thought it was a really good film with a well sized amount of dark funny which I always like to see.

I hope people find this useful and end up enjoying it as well.
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on 11 May 2007
I won't make this a long review, but if you want to watch a film that has superb actors and characters along with humour and seriousness, then I strongly recommend you get this film. It makes excellent viewing without going overboard as some films can do. It helps that the film is divided into 2 episodes. My children and I enjoyed this very much.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 13 January 2008
An excellent film to watch with the family if you like Terry Pratchet's novels of Discworld, particularly at Christmas.

The story is divided into two episodes, each with an introduction and a set of credits. Contrary to the inaccurate review above, both episodes ARE included on the disc.

The story is set in Terry Pratchet's Discworld at the start of the festival of "Hogswatch" which is extremely similar to our Christmas. Children are hanging up their stockings and hoping that "The Hogfather" (e,g, Santa Claus/Father Christmas) will bring them plenty of presents.

At the start of the film, four spectres who call themselves the auditors of reality pay a visit to the head of the Guild of Assassins with a most unusual assignment - they want to take out a contract on Father Christmas/The Hogfather.

It turns out that a very sinister assassin called Mr Teatime,
(pronounced Tay - Ah - Tee - May and he hates being addressed by the name of the meal) has actually done some thinking about how you might go about killing immortal beings like the Tooth Fairy, Death, or Father Christmas, and he is willing to put these ideas into practice ...

Mr Teatime's plans appear to be working when both Death, and Death's grand-daughter Susan, discover that something very strange is going on. Before long Death finds himself impersonating Santa (sorry, the Hogfather).

It's not often an actor who is merely providing a voice manages to steal the show, but the late Ian Richardson as the voice of Death, manages to do so here. Richardson even gets to reprise the infamous line of his almost equally sinister character Francis Urquhart from House of Cards - "You might think that, I couldn't possibly comment."

Richardson and David Jason provide an excellent double act with Jason playing Death's butler.

A very amusing film with some great acting and brilliant special effects and lots of highly entertaining details such as a cameo appearance for the Death of Rats. (Ian Richardson's character is referred to throughout simply as "Death" but in line with Pratchett's books he is actually the "Death of Humans.")

Mostly light-hearted but also includes some sombre and quite powerful scenes when Death eventually realises and explains to his grand-daughter why the Auditors want the Hogfather killed and why they have to try to stop this happening.

I can strongly recommend this DVD, especialy to Pratchett fans.
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VINE VOICEon 18 December 2007
Simply brilliant!

Usually books made into films are significantly dumbed down for the couch potato audience this one hasnt been, this is the most faithful film recreation of a book i have ever seen. The storyline and jokes all transfer brilliantly to the script from the pratchett book.

The cast is excellent and everyone plays their role to perfection. Michelle Dockerty is both beautifull and brilliant as susan capturing the dry sarcastic wit and cynicysm of the character excellently. I found myself genuinley disturbed and chilled by Marc Warrens superb realisation of the assasin Teatime. David Jason was possibly the perfect choice for Albert. Nicholas Tennant had the challenge of bringing accross Nobby Nobbs rather unique character with very little screentime or lines to work with and accomplished it seemingly effortlessly. Ian richardson done well with the task of speaking in capitals (the only person who might have performed the voice acting for death better is James Earl Jones).

The sets were good recreations of the books locations and were beleivable. The appearance of death was excellent, the pinpricks of blue light deep in his eye sockets were perfectly realised. Some have complained that his face was unmoving but he is after all a skeleton, he does not move his lips to speak as his voice does not really come from his mouth, after all he has no vocal chords.

This is a film that is very entertaining however it is quite complicated and strange in parts. My wife commented that it is the weirdest film she has seen though she isnt a Pratchett fan. It is a film that does require your attention if you have not read the book because as with most Terry Pratchett stories it has a tendency to leap between the different story threads of the various characters before bringing them all together in the finale. It is also very long however this is aided by the fact it is in 2 parts so you dont have to sit through the full film in one go.

I would highly recomend this to fans and newcomers alike but urge newcomers to give it the attention it rightly deserves when watching or you may lose the plot and get confused.
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on 21 March 2008
Would probably have given this 5 stars if I had not read the book. The stories are never quite as good as your own imagination.
I loved Susan and the Death of Rats, but wasn't sure about Mark Warren's strange American accent for Mr Teatime, a British one would have been better, but he acted it with some skill.
Again contrary to M.Fenton's review, both episodes are on this single disk.
I will be buying the Colour of Magic when that reaches DVD, as Rincewind is the best character in all the Discworld!
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on 24 December 2007
One for all the family. The story line at times is a bit ropey. The characters however are not.
Death as a character well what can you say he has a dry sense of humour. Well acted. Love his eyes also his voice and he seems real.
Mr teatime is evil and has the voice to match. See who you think he sounds like. My husband and I guessed right away. He has something of the Johnny Depp about him in a certain film.
Deaths Granddaughter is a great little actress.
There are serious moments, funny moments you just want to keep watching to find out what happens. That's always a good sign if you ask me. Don't worry about the plot so much. The chararters are the ones you get involved with. There is one for everybody. It is Christmas and it is a different take on all the festivities.
I love Death and I never thought I'd here myself say that.
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