In a world that logically should not exist, a space turtle brings us a new Christmas movie. This isn’t your typical Christmas film, however. This one has Death himself in it. Grab a glass of brandy and a meat pie because you’re about to be transported to the Discworld.
This is “Hogfather,” a two-part Sky and The Mob Film company movie based off of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novel of the same name. The story is that it’s Hogswatch night (Discworld’s equivalent to Christmas Eve) and somebody (rather, something) wants the Hogfather (Santa Claus) dead. Assassins guild member Jonathan Teatime (pronounced tee-ah-tim-me) is hired for the job. Death on the other hand knows there must be a Hogfather, so he dons the red suit and flies around delivering gifts. Meanwhile Susan, Death’s granddaughter, must find him and the Hogfather before the sun comes up.
Unlike some other holiday movies, this one delivers a holiday message that we all can get behind. It’s not corny and unoriginal. Not to mention the comedy is very well done too. That is, if you can handle the dry, stuffy British humor that permeates the movie throughout. The humor itself is not forced and, if you can handle it, will make you burst out in laughter.
It should be said the actors are the best part. Marc Warren is excellent as Teatime. He is scary, cunning, crazy, weird and an all around great villain. You can tell he’s having fun in this role. Michelle Dockery pulls off Susan’s sarcastic personality perfectly. The only problem with her is that they got the hair wrong.
The best performance by far is by Ian Richardson. His voiceover for Death is funny, scary, mysterious, ominous and just all around great. There’s no better actor for the job.
There are a few downsides for this movie though. One of them is that some people may find it a tad too long. At 189 minutes, it should be taken in two parts just like how it originally ran on the BBC. Also some people may not get some of the humor. The movie does tend to drag in some parts as well. For example, there is that whole new gods coming into being because somebody said so does not go anywhere and just drags the movie down.
Those small quibbles aside, a new Christmas classic is in down. If you can handle the British humor, “Hogfather” will become a new Christmas movie that you will watch every year. Just watch your back for people named Teatime.