petermorwood: (Default)
...The Irish one this time, and just as good in its own way as the USDWCon at the beginning of September. One was big, the other was small; one was far away, the other was relatively speaking in our own back yard, one was hot and dry, the other was intermittently but impressively - Hollywood special effects impressively - wet.

And then the sun would come out :-)

D and I had a great time - including one especial benefit, being able to sit and speak to Terry for the first time in too long. We didn't have any opportunity to chat with him at all during the Tempe convention, so really enjoyed being able to just talk: about knightly things like spurs (we gave him a pair, since HM didn't) and swords (he's making one, since HM overlooked that, too) and the leverage being a Sir can give against the more annoyingly petty bureaucracies; about writery things like DragonDictate, which can now be trained to recognise the vocabulary of a complete backlist; and about stuff we weren't allowed to mention till the banquet - the Scottish BAFTA award for Living With Alzheimer's. I'm happy the documentary won, but at the same time I wish it had never needed made.

We had the chance for a natter with Jack Cohen and Bernard Pearson as well. Jack is as wise as ever, and added some interesting comments to our impromptu, five-minutes-warning Folklore panel (the original panellist didn't show) that gave people second thoughts about having furry slippers in their bedrooms, never mind on their feet. Bernard is his usual ebullient self - has anyone ever thought of bottling that man's laugh as an anti-depressant? If an audible dictionary needs to define guffaw, that's what to use.

Much beer was consumed over the weekend (of course) and I'm not the only one to think that Sir T. Pratchett, all in black with a white beard, looked very well matched by the pint of Guinness in his hand. He also seemed very at ease, so much so that he decided to extend his stay at the hotel. And There Was Much Rejoicing.

We weren't the only ones who got plenty of Terry-time beyond the programme items (where there were a few moved or cancelled events, but nothing earthshaking that a glance at the Voodoo Board couldn't fix.) The Falls Hotel and the convention numbers were both cosy enough that he was able to sit in one place and let the con come to him - which it did, with great enthusiasm. As he said at the closing ceremony, IDWCon gave him fond recollections of other early conventions, and he even used the word "relaxacon."

Though fortunately not the word "custard." :-D
petermorwood: (Default)
That was fun! We've just finished watching Part Two courtesy of a Sky+ recording, and enjoyed it a lot.

The overall look is much improved from Hogfather, with better indoor sets and outdoor location work thanks to a bigger budget. David Jason and Sean Astin played very well off one another (even though Rincewind in the books is much younger, and Twoflower is Auriental, but making him Hammerkin is OK, I suppose: the cliché-tourist version of both is a great taker of snapshots.) Tim Curry showed his teeth a lot and Jeremy Irons made a great Patrician – unnamed, but obviously Vetinari, complete with Wuffles-as-a-puppy.

"What are we going to do with you, you little scamp?" immediately became a favourite soundbite...

...Unlike "wearing a wet copper armour and shouting all gods are--" (at which point the production had second thoughts about Rincewind's line.)

This one's a real niggle, because the word 'bastards' is in the book and it's what was shot; watch David Jason’s mouth. Even this mouth-movement was pixellated out during last week's trailers, but I didn't think the actual broadcast would be censored; I was mistaken. If post-production thought their redub to "idiots" wouldn't be noticed, they were mistaken. It's partly hidden by a sound-effect clatter of rock, which only points up how clumsy it is. Try this: since "bastards" turned out a no-no, then instead of bowdlerising it, drown the entire word with the rock-clatter. Beep it out with convenient local noises. Just as effective, and maybe even funny.

SFX is spotty and needs work to even it out from the highs of the view of Ankh-Morpork to the lows of green-screen horseback closeups (check how people rise in the saddle at a real gallop and bounce faster, guys!) - though I liked the dragons a lot, their appropriate upside-down roosting posture a well-thought-out idea. Action sequences could be a lot better, the swordfights in particular being clang-clish-clang knife-sharpening exercises (swashbuckling isn't what the Discworld is about, but still...)

Pacing overall is much improved on Hogfather, but still sporadically sluggish, especially in dialogue. Some exchanges that should be crisply delivered instead come out Slow And Portentous, (all right if the subject matter warrants it, otherwise not), and even though characters who dot their speech with needless Significant Pauses are mocked in the books, too many such pauses remain on the screen.

The fault here isn't the writing, though there were a number of places where I'd have trimmed hard. (I've done it before: 'deliver this in a leisurely way - if you can.') However the direction still lacks punch. I don't know whether Terry comments about this anywhere, but Vadim Jean remains too fond of admiring the view whether real or CGI, unwilling to cut an over-lengthy close-up, reluctant to alter a good line "taken straight from the book": maybe he's still a bit too respectful of the original material. Nothing wrong there, except that good prose dialogue doesn't invariably become effective screenplay dialogue.

In case you think I'm sticking the boot in, I'm not. Read the first paragraph again, then consider that my few subsequent paragraphs of criticism cover nearly four hours of TV time. The Colour of Magic is definitely fun, stuck much closer to the original material than any Hollywood suit could stomach, and I have a feeling that the next one (Going Postal, apparently) will be better yet.
petermorwood: (Default)
Diane and I will be guests at the first-ever US Discworld Convention in 2009. We've known about it for a while, but had to keep quiet until the Concom got all the details nailed down. It'll be at the Mission Palms Hotel in Tempe, Arizona, a nice hotel in a super location - we were there as guests of CopperCon last year and had a great time both at the con and outside it, since the hotel's conveniently located for various restaurants, a brewpub just across the road, a really excellent used-book store, and since almost all the Coppercon convention venues were in rooms around the hotel courtyard, there was no hiking for miles through the Arizona heat (it was hot - and I loved it!) to get from one panel to another.

The official announcement follows after the cut )

Having a convention in a college town is always a good idea, because students and fans have the same requirements: food and drink at reasonable prices and not so far from the campus or con that there's a risk of missing lectures or panels. This is going to be a lot of fun!

Don't forget, closer both in terms of distance (for European Discworld fans, anyway) and in terms of time is next year's UK Discworld Convention - see its own LJ community [livejournal.com profile] discworld_2008 for more information.

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