Monday, December 10, 2012

25 Days of Christmas 2012 - Day 10: Christmas in Discworld

I won't lie, I don't care much for television movies.  I always feel that for all their production value and effort they always look cheap and low-rent.  But every once in a while, a tv movie comes along that has such a good story that it simply wows me.  It happened with It, it happened with Jack and the Beanstalk: The Real Story, and it happened with today's film.  On the surface it looks like a "Harry Potter" ripoff being that the title sounds like Hogwarts and the whole thing is based on one of the many books Terry Pratchett has based in his fictional universe named Discworld.  However there is much much more happening in the narrative than magic and wizards.  It is a delightful send up of our own secular Christmas tales while also spoofing our perception of death, belief, and Gods or saints.  I think it's time we all visit Discworld and learn about the Hogfather

It is Hogswatch in Discworld, a world that mirrors our own with odd aspects to separate it, and everyone is very excited for it as it is a time for togetherness, food, and fun.  It is also the time of year when The Hogfather (Discworld's Santa Claus) travels across Discworld giving gifts to all the good children of the world.  However, the Auditors of Reality (supernatural celestial bureaucrats) have decided that the Hogfather is useless and creates too much chaotic imagination in the world so they hire Mr. Teatime to assassinate him.  When Death gets wind of this, he assumes the identity of the Hogfather to ensure that children don't stop believing in him.  Meanwhile, Death's daughter Susan embarks on a mission to find and stop Teatime before he succeeds.  What then transpires is an adventure of epic proportions.  Will Death and Susan succeed or will Hogswatch be ruined forever?

I had to give a relatively short synopsis because there is really no way to sumarize a massive novel and story such as this with all of it's many layers and quirks.  It's rare one comes across a fantasy universe as diverse and carefully constructed as Discworld (worlds like the Wizarding world of Harry Potter or Middle Earth).  Naturally the medium of television is perfect for a vast world like this because it allows you to tell an entire story over the course of several nights of programming.  The acting is pretty good for a television production and the budget afforded it really allows the production values to stand out like a feature film.  As a Christmas film, the film also works as a dark adventure and an exploration of our secular Christmas beliefs through a different lens.  It is a fantastic film and one that is worth seeing for many reasons.  Check it out.

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