Sunday, March 09, 2008

Hogfather, The DVD

Terry Pratchett wrote the book. The book was funny. In places, the book even passeth for Wisdom These Days — such as the observation that belief in Santa Claus is like training wheels for even greater items taken on faith, like Justice or Mercy.

But the sorry truth is, you don't actually want to know the plot, but because of it, this made-for-British-television (2006) two-parter could have been an hour shorter, the acting could have been a notch or two above the church Christmas pageant level, and the wizards could have worn name tags so we could have told 'em apart.

The movie stuck religiously to the book, every item of dialogue straight from the hallowed pages as though scriven there in red ink. It's been my impression that Pratchett has been rather a stuffy old goombah for some time, just going through the motions because of contracts with publishers, but this movie — which bears someone's heavy hand — feels as though it has a relentlessly iron-clad creative control clause.

Two stars, out of five at best. It's a good thing Pratchett saved a few small items for auctions later, because odds are long against this dog making money.
The Auditors place a contract with the Assassin's Guild to do away with The Hogfather, who resembles Father Christmas but ain't. Death, noticing that Something Is Up, decides to keep Belief alive by donning the Red Robes and sailing from chimney to chimney in the log sleigh drawn by four flying boars. Death's granddaughter, Susan, however, does all the heavy lifting by discovering that the Assassins have captured the Tooth Fairy's castle and are now using the harvested teeth of a billion childhoods as Unsympathetic Magick to destroy belief in the Hogfather, aforementioned. After Much Ado, all is set right, and that's that. Death dispatches the Auditors with a point well-made, draws the moral about small and large Beliefs, and the Assassin, after three good endings wasted, is Finally Done In.



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