"How dare the Gods work against me! I don't remember giving
them permission." - Reacher Gilt
Though little known on this side of the Atlantic,
over in the UK Terry Pratchett is a well known author.
He's best known for his on-going series of
humorous fantasy books chronicling life on the Discworld.
2006 the British network Sky One adapted one of these novels, The Hogfather, into a two-part TV
miniseries and followed that up in 2008 with The Color of
Magic. Last year they aired their latest adaptation, Going
Postal, an amusing and clever tale
of fraud, murder, and the post office.
This mini-series has now made its way to Region one thanks to
Media, much to the delight of Pratchett's fans.
The Discworld is just like it sounds; a flat, giant disc
that travels through space on the backs of four mighty elephants that,
are standing on a giant turtle, the Great A'Tuin. On
it's surface humans, dwarves, elves, and
other creatures go about the business of keeping body and soul together.
This story centers around the wonderfully named Moist von
Lipwig (Richard Coyle). Orphaned as a
young man, Lipwig only had two things:
an old nag of a horse, and a talent for deceit.
Painting the horse to make it look healthy,
he sold it for a tidy sum, which he used to buy other old horses. Soon his cons and schemes grew bigger and
more daring, culminating in a forging a series of bonds that nearly
city of Ankh-Morpork
to go bankrupt.
Unfortunately Lipwig didn't realize that the chief of police
in Ankh-Morpork was a werewolf, who easily tracked him down based on
he left on the forged bonds. He was sent
to prison and summarily hanged... and that's when his story get really
It's really hard to hang a man so that his neck doesn't
break but so that he does pass out.
Luckily Ankh-Morpork has an expert hangman, and that's exactly
did with Lipwig upon orders of Lord Vetinari (Charles Dance). The Lord has a problem. He
likes to play a chess-like game with an
opponent in another city, but with the post office closed he has to
rely on the
Clacks, a sort of non-electric telegraph with lights and lots and lots
string. With the Clacks frequently down,
playing chess can be quite irritating.
So Lord Vetinari offers Moist von Lipwig a choice:
he can either die a horrible death, or take
over running the post office.
Arriving at his new employment Lipwig discovers hundreds of
thousands of undelivered letters, a staff of two slightly deranged
who collects pins... as in needles. But
definitely not nails), and a Golem who is assigned to both protect
make sure he doesn't leave the city.
That would be more than enough problems for anyone, but it's
just the start for Lipwig. The CEO of
the Clack company, Reacher Gilt (David Suchet from the ITV Poirot
series) doesn't like the competition, especially since
Lipwig is really good at convincing people to return to the post
decides to have him killed, and barring that, disgraced.
Poor Lipwig also falls for the owner of the
local Golem store, Adora Dearheart (Claire Foy), who cannot stand the
conniving postmaster. Still, Lipwig
thinks he has a chance with the girl until he realizes that one of his
indirectly ruined her family.
Terry Pratchett's are filled with amusing scenes and ideas
and this production did a great job of bringing those to life. The story isn't an outrageous comedy like The Hangover, rather it's a series of
cute and accurate send-ups of modern life that will leave you smiling
of the film's running time. I
particularly enjoyed the whole Victorian-era Internet, the Clacks, and
group who try to befuddle the system, self-described clacks-crackers
Smoking Gnu." The whole subplot on pin
collecting is a hilarious satire on collecting in general.
Just the names of the magazines released for
pin-enthusiasts are wonderful: Practical
Pins, World of Pins, Pins Monthly,
New Pins, Modern Pins, Pins Extra, Pins International, Talking Pins,
Pins, Pins and Pinneries, or Extreme
Pins which features women in leather outfits all holding pins. Of course the 'genuine collector' goes for Strictly Pins.
The actors all do a fine job and manage to bring the
characters to life without chewing the scenery of dramatically
which would be very easy to do given the material.
The play their parts nicely, especially
Claire Foy who stands out.
The one aspect that really brings the novel to life however
is the sets and scenery. They went to a
lot of trouble to make the city of Ankh-Morpork looked like a real,
city. This attention to detail really
paid off and made the show much, much better than it otherwise would be.
This film, which consists of two one and a half hour segments,
comes on two DVDs (the second is reserved for extras) in a standard
The stereo English soundtrack was clean and clear, though I
was a bit disappointed that there wasn't a 5.1 mix like the previous
adaptation. The dialog was clean and
clear and the background sound effects were mixed at a nice level. There really isn't anything bad to say about
Filmed (and broadcast) in HD, this DVD version of the movie
looked wonderful with a very good level of detail and nice strong
colors. The blacks were spot-on and the
just looked great. A nice looking DVD.
Unlike the previous two Region One DVD releases of the
Discworld movies, this one has a good amount of extras.
First off there's a five-minute introduction
by author Terry Pratchett where he tells about the filming in Hungary
problems he had with his one scene.
There's also a commentary track with director Jon Jones who
the problems of adapting a book in a popular series.
Jumping over to disc two, there is over an hours worth of
interviews with the cast and crew (and Discworld fans) several deleted
and a gag reel.
This was a funny, touching, and all around clever adaptation
of a great book. The Discworld really
comes alive in this quality adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book. Highly