"There is no end to the wacky wonders . . . no fantasies as consistently, inventively, mad . . . wild and wonderful." -- Asimov?s Science Fiction magazine THE WORLD IS FLAT! (But ably supported by four elephants floating t... more »hrough space on the back of a giant turtle.) The Discworld, that is, as created by Terry Pratchett in his phenomenally popular sci-fi/fantasy books. Pratchett?s cast of wizards and witches, dwarfs, trolls, and giants hail from familiar myths and legends, but in the Discworld they?re a whole lot funnier. Two of Pratchett?s best tales come alive in these animated adaptations produced for British television. A little bit Shakespeare, a little bit Hollywood, WYRD SISTERS recounts how three hard-working witches get mixed up in a royal mess when they?re handed a murdered king?s baby to protect. An epic adventure with a soundtrack that really rocks, SOUL MUSIC follows the rise of a teenage musician from obscurity to Discworld super-celebrity as a rock star who?s made a deal with Death. DVD SPECIAL FEATURES INCLUDE storyboards, interview with Terry Pratchett, Pratchett bio, character bios, and more!« less
"Imagine a world that is completely flat, atop four elephants that are standing on the shell of a giant space-traveling turtle.
Now, if you can deal with that, then "Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collection" is the next logical step. It brings together two cartoon adaptations of Pratchett's deliciously offbeat fantasy world -- witches, Death, evil kings, talking kingdoms, and music with rocks in. The animation is a bit rough, but the quirky characters and intricate fantasy plots make it all worthwhile.
"Wyrd Sisters" starts on a stormy night. And three witches are abroad -- upright Granny Weatherwax, tipsy Nanny Ogg and new-agey romantic Magrat. Elsewhere, the king is murdered by his scheming cousin Felmet, and remains a ghost haunting the castle of Lancre, and his baby son ends up in the hands of the witches. The witches immediately foist the baby off on a traveling band of actors ("He killed him! And right up in front of everyone!"), and keep an eye on the new royals, the mentally unstable Duke Felmet and his nasty, schemey wife.
Unfortunately, they also hate witches. As taxes rise and the witches are persecuted and blamed for everything that goes wrong, Granny starts hearing strange cries out in the night -- the land itself is unhappy with Felmet's reign. And to deal with this nutty usurper ("Is this a dagger I see before me?" "No milord, it's just me handkerchief"), it will take the most magic the Wyrd Sisters can summon up -- not to mention a ghost, Death, and a long-lost prince...
"Soul Music" also opens on a stormy night, when Death's daughter and her husband die in a fiery carriage crash. Her death nags at Death, leaving him wondering what the meaning of life is. And when Death vanishes, his young granddaughter Susan is summoned by the Death of Rats and a talking raven -- turns out she has the power to do Death's job. Meanwhile, a young aspiring bard, who renames himself Bud Y Celyn, leaves home for Ankh-Morpork, befriends a couple of other aspiring musicians, and ends up forming a rock band -- with a strange magical guitar that instantly turns him into a "music with rocks in" star.
But that powerful guitar is also messing up the normal death cycle, and is exerting a strange power over the people who hear it -- even the wizards of Unseen Academy are affected. And as Susan finds herself increasingly drawn to this tormented young musician, she finds that she may not be able to deal with the power of his guitar. But can Death himself do the job?
You can probably depend on anything written by or based on something by Terry Pratchett to be hilarious, well-written and deliciously unpredictable. "Wyrd Sisters" and "Soul Music" are no exception -- both are quite faithful to the original novels by Pratchett, and are crammed with tiny homages and well-loved characters, such as Nobby Nobbs, Ridcully, the Death of Rats, the Librarian, and many others.
And both stories take awhile to unfold, letting events gradually build up to a stunning climax, and weaving intricate storylines with lots and lots of supporting characters. At the same time, he interweaves a lot of deeper questions into his storylines about love, death and minding your own business. And Pratchett doesn't skimp on dramatic, intense scenes, such as Susan seeing what happened between her parents and her grandfather long ago, and the tragic results.
All this, and we get to see Nanny Ogg sing the song about how the hedgehog can never be "whassnamed" at all. Yeah, there's a lot of deliciously warped humor -- a ghost misplacing his head, Granny's undignified flight around the kingdom, the witches summoning a demon, Death's searches for meaning ("I've seen the infinite... it's nothing special"), and Granny's inability to grasp that the theatre is all pretend ("It's been a long time since I've seen a theatre played properly!").
Here's a warning -- the animation is quite rough and lacking in dimension. Some of the characters are kind of goofy-looking, particularly the wizards, but it's not the worst I've seen.
In fact, you don't notice the animation so much when you notice the brilliant characters. The witches are fun counterpoints to one another, and they have a castleful of deranged tyrants, weary Fools, whiny demons and one very bored royal poltergeist. And Susan comes across as a sort of younger Granny, while Buddy's bandmates provide a sort of "real-person" presence. And the wizards are just all crazy.
And Christopher Lee is simply perfect as Death, Discworld's endearing incarnation of expiration. He gets all the great lines too ("Oh BUGGER!" he exclaims as he drives off a cliff), and even a scene where he suffers from stage fright.
"Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collection" suffers from some rough animation, but it has vast casts of likable weirdos and strange magics. Definitely worth checking out."
Terry Prachett's Discworld Set
John B. Phillips | Webster, NY USA | 09/30/2008
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I watched Terry Pratchett's "Hogfather" and enjoyed it very much. When I went on Amazom.com to order a copy, I found that Terry had other movies. I ordered "Wyrd Sisters" and "Soul Music". Hogfather contained real actors. Unfortunately when I started to watch the first of the other videos, I discovered they were in cartoon form (but not for young children). I was somewhat disappointed, but still liked the videos. I was spoiled by "Hogfather". All three movies are very similar. I love British humor and they certainly fit the bill. In "Hogfather" there was so much going on that I had to watch it more than once. In summary, I liked the movies very much. If you do not appreciate the dryness of British Humor these movies are probably not for you"
JordanJasper | 12/07/2008
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The excellent artwork on the cover is misleading; the animation (at least as far as 'Wyrd Sisters' is concerned) is not even remotely as good as the artwork. If only!
On the positive side, the animated "film" of Wyrd Sisters is faithful to Pratchett's excellent Discworld novel of the same name. Many of the best lines are preserved and much of great dialogue is captured. That's nice, but that's about it. No kidding.
On the negative side, where do I begin? The actual characterizations themselves don't seem at all faithful to those of the book. Nanny Ogg was too pushy, too tall, appeared to have all her teeth, and was not deliciously crude enough. Magrat was much too airheaded, giggly, and astonishingly stupid--in the books she is charmingly uptight and unsure of herself, but always earnest and thoughtful in terms of her personality. She may be a "wet hen," but she never comes across as a complete blithering idiot in the books! Granny Weatherwax was perhaps closest to Pratchett's classic character, but too reserved and without any of the secretly lovable undercurrent of Granny's unbending, stern demeanor. Yeah, yeah...I know: the performers were "interpreting" the characters.
No matter what the voice-over actors may or may not have done, nothing could possibly save 'Wyrd Sisters' from atrociously cheap animation (not even on par with a bad 1980s Saturday morning kid's cartoon!), horrible pacing (it plods like a lame turtle), and rotten editing (herky-jerky doesn't begin to describe this mess). I mean it. 'Wyrd Sisters' absolutely bores to tears, despite the aforementioned attempts by the cast to do the best they could. It's not Pratchett's fault--that is certain.
'Soul Music', on the other hand, is simply much better, much more flowing, and worth the price of this whole DVD, particularly for die-hard fans. It really is.
There you have it: a definite mixed-bag."
Pleased the whole family
Brandy N. Hunt | GA, USA | 10/03/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"My husband and I are huge Pratchett fans. We had Wyrd Sisters on video tape before we learned that it was out on DVD. Soul Music just seemed icing on the cake, especially since our toddler loves it. She loves music and just fell in love with the guitar on the show :D.
We can't wait to see if the BBC releases more of the books as cartoons or live action."
An absolute "must-have" for fans of humorous fantasy
Midwest Book Review | Oregon, WI USA | 09/06/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collection: Wyrd Sisters & Soul Music collects the animated adaptions of two of Terry Pratchett's widely beloved Discworld fantasy series. Created by the award-winning animators of Cosgrove Hall Films, these DVDs faithfully bring both novels to life with their wit and wisdom intact - and even a little extra polish not possible on the printed page, such as the toe-tapping rock-and-roll pastiches in the "Soul Music" soundtrack. In "Wyrd Sisters", three witches have to confront a destructive king - but they cannot use their magic to overthrow him directly, because what magic rules, magic destroys. Only the true heir to the throne can set things right - or can he? In "Soul Music", Death literally takes a holiday, leaving his recently orphaned teenage granddaughter (the child of his adopted daughter and his former apprentice) to take over the Duty. It's a difficult enough job, but when she encounters a handsome young man possessed by the essence of rock-'n'-roll, she is determined to save him before the music burns out his life, Duty be damned! Suitable for viewers of all ages (though adults will more readily grasp the sophisticated dimensions of Pratchett's humor), Terry Pratchett's Discworld Collection is an absolute "must-have" for fans of humorous fantasy in general and Pratchett's work in particular. Special features such as storyboards, an interview with Terry Pratchett, character bios, and more round out this treasury, worthy of the absolute highest recommendation for both library and personal collections, as well as for birthday or holiday gift-giving."