Movie Review: Hogfather

It’s Christmas time and for some of you there are certain movies that you may watch as a family. Some of you have the intestinal fortitude to be able to watch  Ralphie and his quest for the elusive Red Ryder BB gun. Some may sit down and watch the classic Christmas cartoons of their youth and have that hidden tear appear as Linus tells Charlie Brown what Christmas is all about, or how the Grinch’s heart grew three sizes that day.

Or you run with Jimmy Stewart down the snow-covered streets of Bedford Falls yelling Merry Christmas to everyone even old man Potter.  Maybe you sit down with some hot chocolate and watch the Bingle as he sings about a white Christmas in the Holiday Inn.

Well let me introduce you to my guilty little pleasure come Christmas time.  Hogfather.  I know, it sounds like something right up there with some sorority house being terrified by a guy in a Santa suit but you would be wrong.

Come meet Discworld a fantasy universe created by Terry Pratchett where the world is a disk that lies upon the back of four elephants that stand on the shell of the Great A’Tuin a turtle that swims through the cosmic sea.  And there during the winter time is a similar holiday called Hogswatch where the Hogfather comes in his sleigh drawn by four boars.  The Hogfather then gives gifts to good little boys and girls.  Which is the problem it seems as Auditors, beings of smoke clad in gray cloaks, can’t stand children believing in the Hogfather so they contract with the guild of assassins to have the Hogfather inhumed. The head of the assassins knows this is going to take a special kind of man so he calls for Jonathan Teatime (pronounced “Teh-ah-time-eh,”).  Teatime is in touch with his inner child, that scary one that no one would play with and pulled the wings off of flies, and he know how to kill the Hogfather.

This gets Death involved and Death’s granddaughter Susan, who has left all this supernatural stuff behind and wants to have a normal life, but can’t because she’s Death’s granddaughter.  To save the Hogfather children must believe in the Hogfather so Death must dress up as the Hogfather to help the children believe which has some comical results.  After all how does one hang that beard with wires for your ears on a skull?

Will the Hogfather be saved?  What about Mr. Teatime? For that matter what about Susan will she ever be reconciled to how strange her family is, especially around Hogswatch?  You’ll have to watch and find out.

This is a fun film especially if you are a fan of the Terry Pratchett books.  Plus there are things in it especially the talks that Death has with Susan that can lend to interesting discussion with your children of teenage years.

Speaking of words there is some swearing in the film, not a lot and some scatological humor.   Really young children maybe scared by Mr. Teatime as his appearance is a little offsetting but then again that is the point isn’t it?

I give this film four stars out of five.  Give it a try.


Movie Review: Terry Pratchett’s Going Postal

Terry Pratchett is the author of some outrageously funny books known as the Disc World Novels.  They have made two live action adaption of these novels:  Hogfather and The Color (Colour) of Magic.  And oh my giddy aunt they’ve done it again with Going Postal.
First of all if you’ve never read Pratchett’s novels you are seriously going to miss a lot on this movie.  When you see the various background actors as either members of the Watch, the Vampire photographer (black ribbon doesn’t drink human blood), or the fiery eyed golems; the reader recognizes these as the normal inhabitants of Ankh-Morpork the largest city-state on Discworld.  The characters are a weird blend of medieval-fantasy along side renaissance area Florence.  And if you haven’t read the books you are confused about just what time period this is supposed to be.
So the plot of Going Postal is this:  In Ankh-Morpork Moist von Lipwig a con man has been arrested and sentenced to death.  And he is hung “within an inch of his life” when he next awakes he is in the office of the Patrician Havelock Vetinari where he is offered a choice of either restoring the postal service or walking out a door to fall to his death.  Moist chooses to become the postmaster.
Well he says that but at the first chance he gets he runs from Ankh-Morpork.  And gets dragged back by a golem named Pump 19.  Pump 19 is his parole officer and is in charge of his welfare and to make sure he does the job of being a postmaster.
Moist sets to work and starts resurrecting the post office.  In doing so he finds that the previous postmasters have all died under rather mysterious circumstances.  And the mail has been building up so long in the post office it has come to life.
  In doing so it shows what the cons that Moist has done and the consequences from them.  Moist comes to realize that he must change his ways and accept responsibility for his actions.
There are shades of merriment some subtle some not so much.  And the casting of the various characters in this was excellent.  Charles Dance was the perfect Patrician Havelock Vetinari as was Richard Coyle as Moist.  On the whole I give this 4 postage stamps out of five.