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Hogfather (2 
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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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The only slight downside for me was that some of the sets and special effects were a bit cheap-and-cheerful, but the storyline and acting was strong enough for this not to matter much. Do make sure that you buy the 2-disc version of this dvd as disc 2 has some really worthwhile content, including Death's whirlwind tour of Discworld; there are also some nice contributions from Terry Pratchett, and it was great to see him in a cameo role at the end of the film (as the toy maker).
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>
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.
It's extremely good, not as good as the book because no film ever is, especially one written by a truly literary author.
But it IS good and I can heartily recommend it. I found the extras worth buying the 2 DVD package for.
These adaptations - Hogfather, Going Postal and The Colour Of Magic are sympathetically done and well worth watching.
I've never really gotten into his books, but as visual media his tales work very well I feel.
So the film loses one star for its pacing and one star for being German language.
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