Hogfather

Movie review by
Joly Herman, Common Sense Media
Hogfather Movie Poster Image
Long fantasy best for fans of Terry Pratchett's book.
  • NR
  • 2008
  • 189 minutes

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 4 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 4 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive messages

Stresses the importance of belief and fantasy for children, but not very convincingly.

Positive role models & representations

Both Susan and her grandfather, Death, care about humankind and risk their lives for them. Mr. Teatime, however, has no regard for human pain and suffering and enjoys inflicting pain. He treats one of the tooth fairies very badly, rolling her up in a rug and holding her hostage.

Violence

A decent amount of spooky violence. Mr. Teatime in particular enjoys tormenting people and kills a number of people with his knife. Susan finds monsters under the bed and hurts them. The assassins guild speaks a lot about "inhuming" people, and it is their goal to kill individuals. Plus run-ins with the grim reaper, aka. Death.

Sex
Language

"Damn," and "hell."

Consumerism
Drinking, drugs & smoking

There is a God of Hangovers in this movie, who is a nice enough bloke, though he asks for liquor and acts drunkenly. Cigarette rolling and smoking. Lager drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that scary images abound in this two-part TV adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book, including the character Death and the floating image of a hog god. There are stabbings and kidnappings, monsters, and wizards who inhabit a distant land in a distant universe. Fans of the book are ideal viewers and will know what to expect.

User Reviews

Parent of a 5 year old Written byMuffinsMummy March 21, 2012

Stunning film, but not for younger kids.

This is a fantastic film in every sense of the word - it is long, but as a very faithful adaptation of a Discworld novel, it needs to be. Parents should know t... Continue reading
Parent of a 10 year old Written byFierce July 18, 2011

Too Dark for 10

This is a really dark and scary film. We have read the authors YA series and adore his Tiffany Achen character. But the filming of this story is too dark.
Teen, 13 years old Written byCapeCodEmi February 22, 2010

Great weird movie for 11+

Very good movie. Kind of creepy and weird. Ages 11+ Fantasy.
Teen, 13 years old Written byJaneEyre<3 September 3, 2011

the best!

yes i do think teatime was a little too creepy, but death was hands down the best. i LOVE Pratchett's sense of humor, and i definitely recommend it.

What's the story?

It's Hogswatch Eve in the Discworld, a planet that drifts through space on the back of a giant turtle. Hogswatch is a bit like Christmas, except the guy who plays Santa is a hog-faced god who drinks sherry and eats the pork pies that the children leave for him. At the start of this two-part movie, the head of the Guild of Assassins is approached by a spectre who represents a group of otherworldly "auditors." These auditors feel that the Hogfather should be eliminated because having children believe in fairy tales is bad for the cosmic order of the universe. The head of the Guild assigns a very creepy Mr. Teatime (Mark Warren) to "inhume" the Hogfather and bring an end to Hogswatch. However, Death (voiced by Ian Richardson) realizes that the Hogfather has disappeared and makes an effort to take the Hogfather's place, delivering goodies and toys to girls and boys. As he is busy trying to get all of the presents to the homes, Mr. Teatime has brought a band of no-gooders to the Tooth Fairy's castle so as to shatter the most basic childhood beliefs. Susan (Michelle Dockery) discovers this plot, and being the granddaughter of Death, uses her magic powers to stop Mr. Teatime and save Hogswatch once and for all.

Is it any good?

Though it is beautfully staged and well-acted, this adaptation of Terry Pratchett's book chases its own tail. The jist of the message is that humans need to have belief in certain things, such as the Tooth Fairy or Hogfather (or Santa, on Earth). However, the whole of Discworld where the characters live is teeming with fantasy creatures that are certainly real in their world. It  makes believing in a gift-giving hog god no stretch at all.

Those who enjoyed the book will appreciate the details (Susan reading a very grim tale at the start of the film, a tiny grim-reaper mouse collecting dead mouse souls, the God of Hangovers falling in love with the Tooth Fairy, etc..) that the makers of this movie have brought to life. But viewers who have not read the book will be confused by the rules of this world, and moreover might be creeped out by some of the characters. The monsters under the bed are real, and Death -- though pragmatic and sensitive -- has a face only his mother could love.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Hogswatch is a little bit like Christmas, except that Santa there is a Hog-faced god who flies through the air pulled by wild boars. How else does Hogswatch differ from our Christmas? How does the Discworld differ from Earth?

  • Belief is a major theme running through the movie. What beliefs are important to you?

Movie details

For kids who love fantasy tales

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