The Colour of Magic – Episode 1 (2008) – Television film
I have just finished watching the first episode of the Colour of Magic television production. This episode ends where the book ends. Except for the happenings at the Unseen University, the movie stays true to the book. Of course, a lot of the story could not be included due to time constraints (and probably budget).
One does not have to be a Pratchett fan, nor does one have to have read either Colour of Magic or The Light Fantastic in order to understand the “plot” of the movie.
The film has a narrator, Brian Cox, that works well for my autism sensitivity to such matters. Stage set and costume quality varied. At times I felt as though I was watching a theater production. Death’s costume is under par. REALLY! That was the best SkyOne could do???
Rincewind is supposed to be around 50 years old when we first meet him. In the film you will probably notice that he seems much older than that (depending on how old the person watching the movie is). He has been thrown out of the Unseen University for his complete inability to learn magic. Having a spell that terrifies any other spell is what makes Rincewind a one-spell-wizzard. At what he feels is his lowest point in life thus far, Rincewind meets the strange phenomena – the tourist Twoflower (and Twoflower’s Luggage). In the film Twoflower was the stereotypical US tourist. That worked for me. Rincewind was in his usual anti-adventure, pro-running away from trouble form. I find this kind of character rather adorable.
From this point on we follow three storylines through episode one.
The first is Rincewind who is forced by the Patrician to be Twoflower’s guide. Guiding Twoflower is dangerous at best and deadly (if not for the spell) for Rincewind. But Twoflower and the spell pull Rincewind’s bottom away from Death’s waiting arms several times during this episode.
Back at the Unseen University there are a couple of important matters happening. One is the disturbance Rincewind’s disappearance and the Turtle getting closer to the red star is causing Octavo. Octavo is an incredibly dangerous magic book. On the Discworld, you risk being eaten by some of the magic books. Exactly what the Octavo does no one seems to know. Not even Rincewind who has one of its spells inside his mind.
The other matter going on at the Unseen University is a battle for supremacy. The approved way to the seat of the Archchancellor is through the death of its current holder (whether through natural or assisted causes). Tryman desperately wants that power and is not afraid to kill those ahead of him. Tryman felt a bit forced. The portrayal Archchancellor was much better.
The third plotline is the one involving the Krull and their obsession with anything to do with the Turtle. One of the extremely important unsolved questions is what the gender of the Turtle is. One of their scientists is played by Pratchett.
At times the movie lagged. Sometimes it was funny. I never really felt the danger of many of the situations as Pratchett portrays them. But all in all I enjoyed the film. Average quality is the grading I give the first episode of the Colour of Magic adaptation for television.
- David Jason as Rincewind, a failed wizard and the main protagonist.
- Sean Astin as Twoflower, the discworld’s first tourist.
- Tim Curry as Trymon, the power-hungry senior wizard at the Unseen University.
- Christopher Lee as the voice of Death.
- Jeremy Irons as Lord Vetinari, the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork.
- James Cosmo as Galder Weatherwax, the incumbent Archchancellor of the Unseen University.
- Nicolas Tennant as Head Librarian of the Unseen University, who is turned into an orangutan during the events of the film.
- Karen David as Liessa, a dragonlady from the Wyrmberg.
- Nigel Planer as the Arch-Astronomer of Krull.
- Richard Da Costa as The Luggage/The Librarian as Orangutang.
- Roger Ashton-Griffiths as Lumuel Panter.
- Miles Richardson as Zlorf, the leader of the Ankh-Morpork Assassins’ Guild.
- James Perry as Kring, the enchanted sword.
- Stephen Marcus as Broadman, the bartender at the Broken Drum.
- Toby Jones as one of the heads of the eight orders of Wizardry.
- Terry Pratchett appears in a cameo role, playing Astrozoologist #2 in the opening and closing scenes of the film.
- Richard Woolfe, the director of programming at Sky One, also appears as the Alchemist.
Posted on 2015-02-07, in Adaptations and tagged #ColourOfMagic, #Death, #Discworld, #Dragons, #LordVetinary, #MagicSwords, #Rincewind, #Television, #TerryPratchett, #TheLuggage, #Twoflower, #UnseenUniversity, #Wizards. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.