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Going Postal
June 25, 2010 7:14 AM   Subscribe

Like many fans of Terry Pratchett, I've heard him lecture several times. He toured regularly, so most of us got to hear him before he fell ill. I remember him waxing cynical about the people who optioned his early works for film, and I remember the elation that I felt when his works finally made it onto the screen. The animated adaptations of Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music were fan fodder, but the later live action version of Hogfarther was popularly successful and was soon followed by another, The Colour of Magic. The latest film based on his work, Going Postal, ends with a cameo by Pratchett and the final words "well, that's a bit of an embuggerance".
posted by teppic (35 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
...oh god. Okay, minor panic moment over. Can we please not use the words "Terry Pratchett" and "final words" together in the same post? I nearly yelped.
posted by Tomorrowful at 7:18 AM on June 25, 2010 [12 favorites]


Wait wait wait. Terry lecture[s|d]? There were other films than Hogfather?

WHY WAS I NOT INFORMED.
posted by DU at 7:23 AM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


So in terms of adaptation I liked Hogsfather more thasn The Color Of Magic (A few reasons, Hogsfather was tighter and snappier a good introduction to the Discworld, CoM felt too much like "film every scene!" and lost the plot a few times and was just soggy, tho Sean Astin is a delight forever) how does the Going Postal adaption stack up?
posted by The Whelk at 7:25 AM on June 25, 2010


DU - The Colour Of Magic was pretty good - Sean Astin as Twoflower was an odd casting choice I thought, but Tim Curry was watchable as Trymon.

Can't wait to see Going Postal.

and I agree, ever time I see a post to the blue about Sir Terry, my heart skips a beat as well.
posted by namewithoutwords at 7:27 AM on June 25, 2010


CoM had better production design tho, I think.
posted by The Whelk at 7:28 AM on June 25, 2010


Going Postal was quite good. Mr. Numberwang and I enjoyed it tremendously. Charles Dance was an excellent Patrician (much more appropriate than Jeremy Irons in CoM.).

Also, the postmen goof around between takes and it's pretty adorable.
posted by That's Numberwang! at 7:36 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can we please not use the words "Terry Pratchett" and "final words" together in the same post?

We need to start a list of prominent and beloved individuals in the media about whom posts are mandated to start with [$PERSON IS NOT DEAD-FILTER]
posted by griphus at 7:39 AM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can we please not use the words "Terry Pratchett" and "final words" together in the same post? I nearly yelped.
The timing of the cameo and the reference he makes to his illness look pretty deliberate to me.
posted by teppic at 7:39 AM on June 25, 2010


What odd synchronicity, a local theater group is about to perform Wyrd Sisters, here in Seattle.
posted by nomisxid at 7:51 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Going Postal adaptation was terrible.

I mean, if you liked the two Moist Von Lipwig books at all, do not watch this horror.

Angua changes into a humanoid werewolf in front of an entire pub. Adora rides with Moist to Sto Lat. Adora discovers something a bit like the woodpecker, the smoking gnu sort of appear for a few seconds for no reason.

Just read the books again, imagine how wonderful a good adaptation could be, and never think of the TV movie again.
posted by Danaid at 7:59 AM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


We need to start a list of prominent and beloved individuals in the media about whom posts are mandated to start with [$PERSON IS NOT DEAD-FILTER]

For pTerry, the phrasing has be "[he] aten't dead".

(And people like the CoM adaptation? I thought it was fairly disastrous. But then the Rincewind books have always been my least favorite, other than Interesting Times.)
posted by kmz at 8:03 AM on June 25, 2010 [4 favorites]


Too weird, I just watched this a couple of days ago. I thought it was the best of the film adaptations done so far.

Charles Dance was an excellent Patrician

He was fantastic. He managed to capture the character exactly as I had envisioned him based on the books, right down to the delivery of the "Don't let me detain you" line, as being both offhanded, and filled with menace.

I have to admit, when Pratchett came on the screen, I actually choked up a little. I'm not sure why, but seeing him in his own, so beautifully created world, actually made me a little sad with joy.

Part of this is the fact that for the past couple of weeks I've been going through the whole series by way of audio-books, so that universe is deeply in my head right now.
posted by quin at 8:05 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait wait wait. Terry lecture[s|d]? There were other films than Hogfather?

Lots of authors give talks/readings on tour when a new book hits. I got to see him in Austin when he toured for Monstrous Regiment. That's where I got him to sign my Paul Kidby cover Night Watch, one of my most treasured books.

I both hope and fear that someday there will be a Watch book adapted, and they'll finally have to cast Vimes. I'm 95% sure the daunting task of finding a perfect Vimes is why they haven't tried adapting any of them yet.

You can take your Aragorns or Harry Potters or Hamlets, Samuel Vimes is to me a better character than all of them, and that's big shoes for any actor to fill. (Granny Weatherwax is only slightly below Vimes though.)
posted by kmz at 8:20 AM on June 25, 2010 [5 favorites]


So... it's out then. Or at least aired, eh? Well. I'll pause a moment for some quiet 'EEE!-ing'. Thank you. And yes, they did some other ones, cartoony sort of things that are more than a little pale compared to the filmed ones. Soul Music, and Wyrd Sisters (as mentioned above, and beyond in the blue). Half the voice cast seemed... disinterested. I'd figure for a production like that, they could get fans queuing up to do voice acting for a nominal, if not non-existent fee.

I prob'ly would. *cough*
posted by LD Feral at 8:47 AM on June 25, 2010


As for Vimes, I always figured they'd take John Hurt. Only with Ron Perlman doing his fallout (SYTL) voice. Huh, both in Hellboy- who knew (other than IMDB).
posted by LD Feral at 8:54 AM on June 25, 2010


I seriously believe that, as much as I like the Watch books, Going Postal was the best Discworld book, and the best book on the business of communication technology.

Downloading time!
posted by ignignokt at 9:40 AM on June 25, 2010


As for Vimes, I always figured they'd take John Hurt.

Interestingly, in the Art of Discworld, Terry has stated that he sees Vimes as younger and bulkier Pete Postlethwaite.
posted by snottydick at 9:51 AM on June 25, 2010


The Hogfather adaptation also ended with a Pratchett cameo!
posted by valrus at 9:54 AM on June 25, 2010


I remember seeing Terry Pratchett lecture at my local library in - ooo, it must have been about 1992. He enthralled us all for about an hour or two talking about his most recent book (I think it must have been Small Gods - I'll have to ask my sister when it actually was), where he gets his ideas and what he was going to write about next. And then he spent half an hour answering questions. And then he must have spent another hour signing copies of his books, stamping them with his little "death stamp" and chatting with the people who'd come to see him. There were a hundred or so people there, and I think he must have seen everyone and signed each of the ten copies of his books that everyone had brought with them.

So I take my hat off to Terry. He seems to care a great deal about the people who buy his books.
posted by I_pity_the_fool at 10:01 AM on June 25, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, the mention of the earlier cartoons reminds me that while they weren't great adaptations in general, I thought the music in the Soul Music adaptation was pretty great.

Sioni Bod Da was especially nice, and you can listen to the other tracks that user has uploaded. They're very good pastiches of the various genres features in Soul Music.

The CD is actually available to purchase from one of the original composers.
posted by kmz at 10:27 AM on June 25, 2010


The Going Postal adaptation was terrible.

Absolutely agree. I couldn't get through the first episode, not because it was ruining something I love (which doesn't usually bother me because I've still got the original to read) but because it was boring and made no sense. There are some great characters and lines in Going Postal but the adaptation threw them around seemingly at random (like Adora Belle's "ray of sunshine" line), and passed scenes from character to character like pass the parcel.

It sucked all the air out of a really fun story and replaced it with meandering rubbish. Much like the other Sky adaptations, except this time with shit golems.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 10:56 AM on June 25, 2010 [1 favorite]


Terry Pratchet is not dead...                                             ... yet.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:12 AM on June 25, 2010


It's a shame because I found Going Postal and Making Money to be scary and prophetic coming mere months before the realization that Mortgage-Backed Securities had no real value crashed the economy and quite possibly multiple governments. It's something I wondered about back when Bill Gates' net worth reportedly dropped over 50 million in a bad day on Wall Street, and realized that much of his wealth is tied up in assets that could be worthless next month should a bunch of people decide that Microsoft was no longer worth it.

Night Watch IMO is the Pratchett I most desire and dread ever making it into cinematic form, primarily because we're much more likely to see a Liam Neeson as Vimes than a Pete Postlethwaite.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:01 PM on June 25, 2010


While I desperately want the City Watch books to be adapted, I fear it too much. They are my very favorites, and I would be so irate to see them done less than perfectly.

I'm surprised that aren't doing more with the one-off books, like Small Gods, Pyramids, and Moving Pictures. which don't feature as many central characters.
posted by quin at 12:55 PM on June 25, 2010


He still lectures. He's doing so at Winchester University this weekend.
posted by A189Nut at 2:12 PM on June 25, 2010


More here
posted by A189Nut at 2:16 PM on June 25, 2010


What odd synchronicity, a local theater group is about to perform Wyrd Sisters, here in Seattle.

Holy shit, that's just two blocks from my home! And starts today! Thanks!
posted by qvantamon at 2:39 PM on June 25, 2010


Night Watch IMO is the Pratchett I most desire and dread ever making it into cinematic form, primarily because we're much more likely to see a Liam Neeson as Vimes than a Pete Postlethwaite.

I'm not too worried about it, simply because Night Watch really does require a basic familiarity with the setting that movies can't assume.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:52 PM on June 25, 2010


Night Watch was my first introduction to Diskworld, and easily managed to make the setting comprehensible. It helps that Pratchett makes effective use of familiar literary and historical tropes. His characters are all stock cliches we've seen dozens of times. Somehow he manages to pull a time-traveling detective into a police comedy during a revolution against a snarling madman of a dictator with aristocratic ninjas and a zombie. He makes it work, at least in later novels, by brilliant character writing.

In fact, it's the novel I've given to friends and family to introduce them to Pratchett. None of them have complained yet. Many of the earlier novels in the series don't stand as well because they're little more than a literary fanwank of an inside joke for genre fans. If I had read Color of Magic before Night Watch, I'd probably have considered Diskworld as something between Xanth and Hitchhiker's in quality and not have become a fan.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 7:35 PM on June 25, 2010


If your imagined Moist is drowning in guilt, miserable, always nervous and completely uninspiring, then by all means, see the movie.

As for me, I'm relistening to the excellent audio book version read by Stephen Briggs in an effort to erase the memory of it.
posted by brambory at 3:39 AM on June 26, 2010


I always start people on Small Gods or Reaper Man and tell them to stay the hell away from nearly everything before Guards! Guards! until they like Pratchett enough that they won't judge him based on their lower quality.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:41 AM on June 26, 2010


The Hogfather adaptation also ended with a Pratchett cameo!

As did the Colour of Magic adaptation.

I liked the Going Postal adaptation, but I'm a huge Richard Coyle fan, so I may have been a little too forgiving. I also thought Budapest made a great Ankh-Morpork.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 7:53 AM on June 26, 2010


I always saw Vimes as a craggier Bob Hoskins.
posted by Quantum's Deadly Fist at 8:10 AM on June 26, 2010


I love the way the current guy draws Vimes.
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 11:32 AM on June 26, 2010


KirkJobSluder, agreed.

Unfortunately, the idea of starting a series midway through has always made my skin crawl, so I started with Colour of Magic. If it hadn't been for all the people whose opinions I trusted telling me "No, stick with it. Once he finds his stride, this series becomes exactly the sort of thing you like" I would have given up early and never reached the crowning moment of awesome that is Night Watch.
posted by the latin mouse at 1:12 PM on June 26, 2010


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