Friday, October 22, 2010

Ryan Watches A Motion Picture #68: The Color of Magic (2008)

This mini-series, comprised of two films, is based off of the incredibly charming work of Terry Pratchett, a British writer of glib, comical fantasy novels. I had seen the Hogfather about a year ago without realizing that it was a Terry Pratchett piece, and was amazed to find that I was watching a fantasy film that wasn't shit. In fact, it was probably one of the best fantasy films I'd ever seen.

The Color of Magic doesn't achieve the same kind of gravitas that the Hogfather reaches, but offers enough to endear me to Terry Pratchett's world, and more importantly, his characters. Color follows a lovable, aged, and underachieving wizard by the name of Rincewind who's studied magic for 40 years only to find that he can't really do anything particularly magical. There's grand adventure and whatnot, as is typical of the genre. But Color will poke fun at that.

The acting is half-way decent and the comic deliveries tend to be pretty entertaining. And ladies, start your swooning, because Color stars none other than "Mr. Samwise Gamgee I was in Lord of the Rings!" Sean Astin himself! You've shit your pants with amazement, since I can smell the sickly sweet excitement from here. Technically, more starring than Sean Astin is David Jason as Rincewind. He's the voice of Count Duckula! Remember him? And Mr. Toad from the Wind in the Willows! David Jason is terribly charming despite having a first name for a last name. Oh, and you get to watch Tim Curry get his evil wizard on. Damn right.

You'll also get a fascinating world to learn about, one that's flat like a disc and sitting atop four huge celestial elephants that are in turn sitting atop a huge space turtle. The whole world is strung together by oddity and humour.

I was surprised to find some fitting and strange film homages as well. Like a scene spoofing the famous "What is best in life?" scene from Conan the Barbarian, and references to Monty Python's Holy Grail and Star Wars. The strange one comes as a visual homage to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid as the heroes dash out from a hiding place in slow motion, slinging spells like pistols in a last-ditch effort while under heavy spell-fire themselves. Where the hell did that come from? I mean I like it, but WTF, as the French say.

So: The jokes are sometimes over explained, but since it's so wildly imaginative, it never ceases to be interesting.

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