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Hogfather (2-Disc Edition) [2006] [DVD]

4.2 out of 5 stars 158 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Actors: Mark Arden, Terry Pratchett, Vadim Jean, Ian Richardson, David Jason
  • Directors: Vadim Jean, Paula Nightingale
  • Writers: Terry Pratchett, Vadim Jean, Sarah Conroy
  • Producers: Paula Nightingale, Elaine Pyke, Ian Sharples
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 2
  • Classification: PG
  • Studio: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: 23 April 2007
  • Run Time: 189 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (158 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000MRP3Y4
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 8,040 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Product Description

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.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
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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THE STORY:
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.

WHAT'S GOOD:
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")

WHAT'S BAD:
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?'.
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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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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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A well produced series in which Death's granddaughter, Susan, has to take over.
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.
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I was looking for the movie all in one go but now I've watched both discs I'm really glad I chose this. Disc One is the movie broken into two episodes - at the end of Episode One the screen reverts to the menu and the viewer must actively chose Episode Two. I was able to make another batch of popcorn without having to pause the playback.

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.
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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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