Back around 2006 when I was working for MPC, I popped down to the TV/commercials department to do something or another for one of the producers. When I got to the production office I saw various Discworld toys spread across the table and asked whether Cosgrove Hall were making any new animated Discworld films. Given that they had already made Soul Music and Wyrd Sisters some 9 years previously, it was quite exciting to think they were gearing up for a new production.
It wasn’t Cosgrove Hall; it was to be the very first filmed live action adaptation of a Terry Pratchett Discworld book, and Sky/RHI Entertainment/Mob Film were going to make it. As it turned out, we had been contracted by them to produce all of the visual effects for..
I’ve nothing particularly interesting to say about the making of the VFX other than the time that I was returning to my desk, with a a can of Diet Coke in my hand, to see Terry Pratchett himself being accompanied into our machine room to see all the computer equipment that was going to help make Discworld come alive. It’s not often one gets starstruck, but I quickly put down that can and rushed into the machine room pretending to do something really important to see what was going on. Turns out that David Jason paid us a visit too (although I failed to catch him when he was doing his “rounds’.)
It’s been a good few years since I’ve last watched Hogfather, but I’m glad Netflix US is making it available (along with Colour of Magic). The VFX still stands up well (I still get a little bit iffy about the scene featuring Susan and the Oh God of Hangover’s visit to the house in Twyler’s painting, but the whole thing is very well tracked and layered, and the artificiality of it all lends itself to the surreal nature of the story anyway) and indeed, the VFX won MPC a BAFTA.
I like Hogfather a great deal, and clearly Sky/Mob/RHI (comprising of the Halmi father/son partnership who have been dominant in UK and US fantasy television for decades) thought so too – Colour of Magic followed, and a bit later, Going Postal. All of them are good adaptations, and Terry Pratchett should be proud of each and every one of them.
I would never call myself a trekkie or trekker, although I do like Star Trek. I’ve only ever collected a couple of VHS tapes of early Next Generation episodes, a couple of novels, and a season guide. Yes, I did visit the Star Trek Experience in Las Vegas back in 2000 and drunk Romulan Ale that turned my crap green, and that I had my face superimposed onto Star Trek posters at a booth outside the Grauman Chinese Theatre in Hollywood, but in all other respects I’m not a superfan (ha!)
Trekkies is a documentary that features interviews with fans who dress up in costume (cosplay) and attend conventions, or collect enormous amounts of memorabilia and merchandise. It also features interviews with cast and crew members of both the original series – two of whom have since died (DeForrest Kelly and James Doohan) – and that of the Next Generation.
Trekkies 2 expands on where Trekkies left off, and even follows up with some of the original interviewees including a woman who found fame having turned up to court performing jury service wearing a Starfleet uniform.
It was difficult not to cringe at some parts of either film – but overall it’s fairly positive about super fandom and cosplay. There’s some wonderful anecdotes from the writing staff of Star Trek including the story of the man who keeps sending in travel brochures and postcards that have absolutely NO bearing on Star Trek at all, or the person who submitted scripts and storyboards featuring a hybrid giant crab/Starship Enterprise.
A strange couple of documentaries, but still worth a watch.
Puss in Boots (2011)
I may not do much proofreading on this blog, but I had to stop myself making an horrendous typo that would have changed the title from a ginger cat wearing boots to a drunk with a bladder control problem.
Alas, the film isn’t as funny as the typo. I struggled with the pacing and even Antonio Banderas and Selma Hayek couldn’t enliven the performance of the cats on a mission. This isn’t Shrek, and unfortunately does not share it’s sensibilities or sense of humour. I got to about 30 minutes in and gave up.