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When I was reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel
s in school I thought “This is a thing I can’t imagine being turned into a movie” and that was before I read his books in english and witnessed the countless wordplays that cannot be translated into the german language.
Coincidentally Hogfather was the first Pratchett-book I read. The story is said in a world called Discworld since it is a flat disc placed upon the backs of four giant elephants standing on an even larger turtle – sounds as plausible as it gets.
One of the recurring characters is Death – THE Death – and his granddaughter Susan and they both have a big role here:
A mysterious group wants to get rid of the Hogfather, who is a similar figure to our Santa Clause. When he does not appear Death has to carry the job and bring Hogwatch-joy to the Discworld while his granddaughter Susan has to track down the assassins responsible for Hogfather’s disappearance, a journey that goes from the Hogfather’s castle to the Unseen University for wizards to the castle of the toothfairy…
If you are a fan of Terry Pratchett and expect this adaption to translate the book onto the screen, this is not an adaption for you. Many of the jokes (some originating from brilliant anecdotes in the book) don’t work as well or at all.
Death does not have the same mysterious aura, but like in the book his parts are the best in the movie. Since Death is keen on understanding life and the things that go along with it (like Hogswatch) it is hilarious how he dissects stories like “The Little Match Girl” or the capitalistic reasoning behind Hogswatch and presents.
The movie was produced for television, so I was quite surprised at the production value. Sure there is some obvious CGI but the loving details put into this adaption makes me appreciate it more than I probably would have had a cinematic adaption.
Being made for television also means it got split apart into two 90 minutes parts which means a lot of the scenes from the book are there, but personally I feel it is way too long and a 1 hour 45 minute version would vastly improve this movie.
There is a fair deal of musing on the premise of Hogswatch/Christmas and in usual Pratchett style despite being a comedy it carries more meaning than many wannabe serious stories. Pratchett is an author whose comedic stories are not just a sequence of jokes but always have great characters and ideas carrying his marvelous british humour.
If you are a fan of Pratchett give this movie a try and enjoy it for what it is, not hate it for not being what you imagined it. If you like weird and twisted fantasty stories and can bear some drawn out seqeunces or if you are looking for a Christmas story unlike most stories you will see on television around Christmas time, Hogfather might be your cup of tea.