The Colour of Magic DVD

I didn’t get to see this when it was first shown on Sky One, as it was during the period when Sky and Virgin were indulging in an extended game of silly buggers. So, I got the DVD when it was released, but didn’t get round to watching it for a while[5]. You see, I had a bit of a conceptual problem with this adaptation of the first two Discworld books (that’s The Colour of Magic and The Light Fantastic – they do more or less form a single story[1], so it made sense to make them as one film thingy). The problem was with the central character Rincewind – he’s a sort of failed wizard[2], who after an unfortunate accident with a particularly old and dangerous book, ended up with a spell lodged in his brain which prevented him learning any others[3]. He’d hung around the University ever since, but I’d always visualised him as a relatively young man, so I was a bit alarmed that he was to be played by David Jason, who, fine actor that he is, seemed just too old to be my Rincewind.

But, as the extras reveal, not only is David a fan of the books, he really, really wanted to be Rincewind. And all it took was a line suggesting that he’d been a failed student for about forty years, and all was well.

And all was indeed well. Like Hogfather, it’s close enough to the book to not be annoying, and appropriately twiddled to make good TV. Minor alterations included making the Patrician of Ankh-Morpork much more like the character who’s such fun in the later books, which seemed quite sensible, especially as the next adaptation, to be shown at Easter is Going Postal, in which the Patrician plays an important part.

David Jason was fine as Rincewind, Sean Astin conveyed the naive (ish) Twoflower very well, and Christopher Lee took over from the late Ian Richardson as the voice of Death. The Luggage[4] was realised quite wonderfully, and the whole thing worked very nicely indeed.

Extras include and introduction by Sir Terry, interviews with the man himself, David Jason and Sean Astin, the usual deleted scenes and bloopers, and a, err, useful tourist guide to Ankh-Morpork.

[1] Well, the first book is a set of episodes, nicely parodying popular themes in heroic fantasy. The second one is more of an actual novel. But that’s not really important right now
[2] Which doesn’t stop him having “Wizzard” on his hat…
[3] Apparently they were too scared to stay in his head with the big spell
[4] Homicidal box on lots of little legs.
[5] And even longer to getting round to posting about it, of course