Sir Terence David John “Terry” Pratchett is on of Britain’s most prolific novelists. His enduring series of comic fantasy Discworld books includes 39 novels, the first of which came out in 1983. The latest Discworld novel Snuff about to be released in the U.K and U.S. Pratchett is second only to J.K. Rowling in popularity among authors in the U.K.
Discworld, for the uninitiated, is a flat world supported on the back of four elephants, which stand on the back of a giant turtle. The Discworld novels, inspired by everything from Shakespeare to Tolkien are satirical takes on many of the world’s most current issues.
Going Postal is the 33rd of the Discworld series. Written in 2004, it was adapted for television and presented on Sky as a two-part mini series in May, 2010, and is the third of the Discworld series to be adapted for television. It has now been released on Blu-ray by Acorn Media.
Moist von Lipwig (Richard Coyle, Lorna Doone, Prince of Persia: Sands of Time) is a con man. And for his crimes he has been selected to do the seemingly impossible—reopen a barely functional mess of a post office. Actually he’s been given a choice: be executed or reopen the disastrous post office after being rescued from the executioner by Lord Vetinari (Charles Dance, Game of Thrones). Reluctantly, Moist takes on the challenge of becoming the postmaster.
The post office is a ruin, as people have turned to sending “clacks” (imagine 1990-style email and an old fashioned telegraph had a child). Even as Moist takes on this daunting task, he tries to con his way out of town. Will he succeed—or with the post office get the better (and to the better side) of Moist? On the other hand, perhaps a con artist is just what the doctor ordered? Who better to convince the citizenry of Ankh-Morpork that old-style snail mail is a necessity?
The movie has an array of entertaining characters including a Golem and the antagonist’s antagonist, Reacher Gilt (David Suchet, Poirot).
Although this was my first foray into Pratchett’s Discworld Universe, it is not difficult to become acclimated to the rather surreal world and its inhabitants. It is easy to understand why Going Postal was nominated for several 2011 Royal Society of Television and BAFTAs in visual effects and music. And Blu-ray is the perfect media through which to express the beauty and richness of Discworld and the movie.
The movie is presented in 1080i. In general the contrasts and details come out crisp and clear; colors pop—as they should in this fantastical world. The blacks could be a bit richer, but given that this is not a 1080p transfer (most transfers of British television series are in 1080i, not 1080p), the picture is very sharp, and is adequate to show off the movie’s highly detailed backdrop.
The soundscape would have benefitted from a full surround, 5.1 hi-def treatment, but unfortunately, the release falls down here, providing a 2.0 lossless stereo audio track. Dialogue is clear, but sound effects—and the soundtrack would have given viewers a more immersive experience.
The release features an hour of extras, including an introduction from the man, himself, Terry Pratchett. It goes on a bit too long, but it is wry and funny—and provides viewers with a very helpful introduction to the movie for newbies that is equally amusing for Discworld veterans. More than 50 minutes of interviews with those involved with the making the movie, including Pratchett, the director, costumers, and cast, is a real treat. On the other hand the commentary track with director John Jones is very standard, and not very enlightening. The disc also includes deleted scenes, image galleries and bloopers (always fun to watch).
The Going Postal Blu-ray is recommended for Pratchett fans, newcomers to Discworld, and those interested in the British take on fantasy and science fiction. Want a peek? The trailer is available on Acorn’s Going Postal page.