A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
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.
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?
For kids who love fantasy tales
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