Hogfather (2-Disc Edition)  [DVD]
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With an all-star ensemble cast of the UK's most loved actors including David Jason, Ian Richardson, Peter Guinness, Marc Warren and Tony Robinson, Hogfather brings Pratchett's infamous 'Discworld' to life.
Discworld is a world very similar to our own - if you overlook the fact that it is flat, and balanced on four elephants, which in turn are standing on the back of a giant turtle. The inhabitants of Discworld have their own version of Christmas, Hogswatch, and their own version of Santa, the Hogfather - who is pulled across the sky in a hog-drawn sleigh.
This year, however, something is amiss, when on the night before Hogswatch, Death (voiced by Richardson, Bleak House), who is responsible for escorting all beings to the afterlife, notices that the Hogfather's life-timer is lying broken on the floor of his castle. Could it be that Hogswatch will not happen this year?
With much of the fabric of reality dependent on the human power of belief, Death swaps his black shroud for a false beard and red coat to make sure that the children of Discworld remain blissfully unaware of the Hogfather's absence. With the help of his faithful servant Albert (Jason, A Touch of Frost, Only Fools and Horses) Death dutifully travels from house to house delivering gifts, leaving his granddaughter Susan (Michelle Dockery) to find the real Hogfather before belief in him, and subsequently Discworld is destroyed.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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?'.Read more ›
Any description of the action would undermine the story.
This is based on Terry Prachett's stories and is the Death series. It manages to be both funny and slightly scary.
It is one, which is worth watching more than once. You need to watch it more than once to pick up all the nuances.
Disc Two has the special features (not going to give it away but Disc Two is fab).
All in, a good purchase and will now be viewed every Christmas season. And perhaps somewhere mid-year as well when I feel the need for some cheering up.
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>
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The disc box was not wrapped in the usual shrink-wrap. Discs were dirty and scratched. Video and audio quality poor, some dropouts. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Frank House
Terry Pratchett a brilliant writer, Discworld are my favourites, from audio books to DVDs, Godfather is a special favourite.Published 2 months ago by Mrs. Carole Brittain
This particular disc is German. There is an English soundtrack, although your German will need to be good enough to get through the menu to find it. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mr. Rick Sarson
The best Terry Pratchett story adapted to the screen and a festive favourite. Very like the book and a great film. I would heartily recommend for any fan of Terry Pratchett.Published 4 months ago by Noswad
Amazing. Better than what I thought it would be. Makes me want to read the book sometimePublished 4 months ago by jason