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"I must say, with all the negative reviews that this animation was getting, I was almost afraid to watch it. But my insistance on seeing Death animated persuaded me to buy it anyways, and I'm glad for it. So I will address some of the main negative commentary. First, the quality of animation. Perhaps I've become desensitized to bad animation (thanks to some low-budget Japanese anime) but in my experience, Soul Music's animation is not at all bad. If anyone could stomach Scooby-Doo or Johnny Quest, then this is nothing. The adaptation itself (while I would rather have seen Reaper Man or Mort animated) was exquisite and followed the novel almost exactly. Sometimes the cuts or execution of a particular scene in the novel didn't translate exactly, but for the most part seeing it in action actually clarified aspects of the book. I was particularly impressed by how well things such as Death's house and time travel were handled. And finally, the voice acting was very well done. Christopher Lee as Death was a piece of casting that could not have been done better, not to mention the design overall was done well! Susan, although her character design fluctuated a lot, was also very good. The musical aspect of the story -- going through all the 'stages' of rock music since it started -- was handled surprisingly well also.
The only gripe I had was the fact that the Death of Rats didn't have a rat skull. Nor did he, er, SQUEAK properly. He looked more like a Death of Lizards. And Quoth didn't really look much like a raven, and talked more like a parrot. But otherwise, everything was spot-on."
Soul Music Rocks!!
sallie101 | St. Augustine, FL United States | 07/21/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"As a Terry Pratchett fan, I eagerly awaited the arrival of "Soul Music" and I wasn't disappointed! The story was true to the book, and very entertaining. Mainly it's a story of Death's attempts to forget,and his granddaughter's attempt to fill his shoes. While Susan is filling in for death, she meets a boy whose death is averted by music. She than tries to figure out the how and why, and what to do next.Sounds confusing, but my husband, who doesn't follow the discworld, could keep up with it. I only have two complaints that keep it from receiving a perfect score. One, they used the same animators that did "Wyrd Sisters" so the animation seemed almost from the 1970's (someone compared it to the animation for Fat Albert!)and dated, and two, it was not a seamless story. The DVD version was broken into episodes . I found it distracting to get into the story and to have that episode end, and then have to go to the menu to choose the next one. The extras;howerver, were fabulous. They include an interview with Terry Pratchett, a copy of the pilot (which seemed to be based on the beginning of Reaper Man), a story board break down of one of the scenes, and more. If you like Terry Pratchett, or even writers such as Douglas Adams, this is a fabulous disc!! (pardon the pun, I couldn't help myself!)"
"While this is not a PERFECT rendition of "Soul Music"--one of my very favourite Discworld books, ever--it's still pretty fun. First, to get it out of the way--the bad news. Some of the best running gags, such as the rock-fan wizards and the punk/garage band that kept changing its name, are shortened down considerably for time purposes. I didn't like the way they drew the wizards. And well, this really couldn't be helped, but things that were supposed to be just _feelings_ in the book, were translated into rather cheesy special effects. (Like the "energy" coming out of Imp's guitar and coursing through his body, for example.) But I guess that's the only way you CAN let the audience know what's going on, in a visual medium. It seemed more realistic/less cheesy in print, though. I should also mention that since this is probably my VERY favourite Discworld novel, I was judging it a little more closely than I might have otherwise. Other people might react differently.Now, the GOOD! This cartoon miniseries does stay pretty dang close to the actual plot of the book--using original dialogue whenever it can, even. It includes the types of details and scenes that MOST movies-based-off-of-books would have clipped out. Susan and Imp the bard are especially well-drawn, I thought, and DEATH is, of course, just the way he should be. Also, the Music With Rocks In songs are _catchy_!Overall, this video is an enjoyable time. It'll make people who _aren't_ familiar with Discworld yet want to learn more--and those of us who are already fans of those hilariously funny fantasy books should enjoy the chance to _see_ one of them on the screen."
Plenty of "Soul"
E. A Solinas | MD USA | 08/10/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
""Soul Music" features plenty of Discworld's most popular character: Death, the efficient-but-not-nasty Grim Reaper of Discworld. Full of jokes about "Music With Rocks In" and in-jokes about Discworld, this is a delight for kids and adults alike.Ysobell and Mort Sto Helit die in a tragic carriage accident, leaving their teenage daughter Susan (Debra Gillett ) at a stodgy girls' academy in Anhk-Morpork. But unknown to Susan, they were also the adopted daughter and son-in-law of Death himself (Christopher Lee). Death is depressed by the loss of Ysobell and Mort, and at the advice of a slightly befuddled wise man, he takes leave of his duties in an effort to forget. His manservant Albert, a talking raven, and the Death Of Rats recruit the unwitting Susan to fill Death's place until he can be found. While Death gets drunk and joins the Klatchian Foreign Legion, Susan struggles to deal with the dead.Elsewhere on the Disc, a young aspiring bard named Imp Y Celyn (Andy Hockley) leaves his dreary home for Anhk-Morpork, intending to become the greatest musician in the world. After gaining two bandmates (a dwarf named Glod and a troll named Lias Bluestone), earning the displeasure of the Music Guild, and losing his harp, Imp Y Celyn finds a magical guitar that produces amazing music -- by taking over all the musicians on the stage. The music ("Music With Rocks In") soon takes the Disc by storm. At the same time, Susan finds that Imp Y Celyn is supposed to die very shortly -- but something in the magic guitar doesn't want him to die. And, it turns out, neither does she...The other Discworld production, "Wyrd Sisters," was extremely entertaining, but "Soul Music" surpasses it by having deeper issues in it, as well as the funny ones. Why do humans die? Is it better to die after a human life than an immortal, inhuman one? Interspersed are many old favorites such as the wizard-turned-ape Librarion, Colon and Nobby, Death of Rats, Albert, Binky the horse, Ridcully and his wizards at the Unseen University (Ridcully is the only one who hates Music With Rocks In), and many others. For rock aficionados, there are jokes about Elvis, the Sex Pistols, the Beatles, Buddy Holly, and many, many others.Christopher Lee mixes the sublime and the funny as Death: he's alternately menacing (the time-travel scene where he menaces Mort), melancholy (the scene where he tries to explain to Susan why he couldn't save her parents), and outrageously funny, like the scenes where he is drunk, driving a motorcycle ("Oh bugger!"), or arguing with a wise man about the infinite ("What did it look like?" "It's blue." "It's black." "It's BLUE." "It's BLACK!" "From the outside, it's blue!"). Debra Gillet does a pretty good job with the difficult role of Susan, who initially seems very cold and unsympathetic, but gradually is revealed to be an ordinary girl with extraordinary abilities. Andy Hockley plays Buddy/Imp Y Celyn as a pleasant young man in the throes of an obsession, developing an unnatural link to his soul-sapping guitar. His two bandmates Lias and Glod are good foils for Imp Y Celyn, with Lias as the voice of straightforward reason and Glod the more cynical, twisted mind, but both of them good at heart. And any parents will sympathize with the frustrated Ridcully, who has to deal with a University full of music-crazed wizards, who are acting like unusually immature teenagers.The animation is also slightly better than in "Wyrd Sisters." While it still has something of a crude quality, it remains more consistent from one to the next. One thing that may annoy viewers (and the DVD's biggest flaw) is that each part takes the viewer back to the menu rather than proceeding to the next part. Additionally, "recap" snippets and opening credits are present before every part, rather than just the first.However, technical issues aside, this is a hilarious and touching story about life, death, Death, fate, magic, music, and Music With Rocks In. A must-see."
"Soul Music is one of my favourite Discworld books ever (it's a comedy fantasy series that takes place on a flat planet) and I must say that this animated version was pretty decent. The story of Soul Music, basically, is that Death, while trying to "FORGET", runs off, leaving his grand-daughter Susan (don't ask) to do his job--whether she wants to or not! Meanwhile, a young bard named Imp goes to the city and joins up with a dwarf named Glod and a troll named Lias to start a music band. He finds a strange guitar in a mysterious wandering shop. It seems to play of itself...Imp is destined to die on stage during the band's first gig, but Susan--as Death--doesn't WANT him to die! (He's a cute teenage boy, she's a teenage girl...) Before _she_ can save him, though, something _else_ does......and _rock and roll_ breaks loose in a _medieval_ society! This causes about as much chaos as you might expect, and the rock-fan wizards among other things, are just about the FUNNIEST thing you could think of. This story--the original book, especially--pokes fun at just about _every_ rock or pop cliche of the genre you can think of. Examples include a song called "Pathway to Paradise", the Dean with his leather robe that says "BORN TO RUNE" and a _new_ twist on the idea of a rock star "redecorating his hotel room." The musical jokes are HILARIOUS, but you will only get them if you know about rock history! Those of you whose knowledge only goes as far back as Britney Spears and 98 Degrees--you won't get it. (Me, I wasn't born in the '50s or '60s, but I have good _taste_, see. ;))However, "Soul Music" also has its serious side: The story with Death, Susan, and Mort and Ysabell is very tragic and parts of it will have you sniffling. The frailty of human life and the inability to change your fate are big themes here, and they give the comedy a solid emotional underpinning; they save it from being mere fluff. And Imp the bard is now living fast; will he die young? Wait and see...Did I mention that he renames himself "Buddy"? Um, not the best omen...Now, for the animated version: It wasn't perfect; I really did not like the way they did the wizards, a lot of the best jokes from the book weren't included--but to balance that, you get to actually HEAR "Music With Rocks In" _songs_...something the book could only TELL you about, in words. They are really catchy and sound just like real, legitimate songs off the radio (BETTER than many, actually...) and...yes, there IS a soundtrack album! Hard to find, but worth it. :) (My favourites are the _extremely_ catchy "Cover Girl", the early-Beatles-esque "She Won't Change Her Mind" and the rather dark "The Messenger", among others.)In short, if you like fantasy, if you like to laugh, and if you like rock and roll, buy this DVD! You'll be glad you did."