Moist von Lipwig -
Reacher Gilt -
Adora Belle Dearheart -
Lord Vetinari -
Miss Cripslock -
Sir Terry Pratchett
OTHER TERRY PRATCHETT SHOWS
The Colour of Magic
OTHER FANTASY SHOWS
Legend Of The Seeker
Part One first transmitted May 30th 2010
Moist Van Lipwig is a con man of the first order, but Ankh Morpork is a very dangerous place to ply any kind of trade. When the law finally catches up with Moist, it is in the shape of the city's leader, Lord Vetinari. Vetinari offers Lipwig a choice, but since the choice is between reopening the Ankh Morpork post office or throwing himself into a seemingly bottomless pit it doesn't appear to be that much of a choice. The head of the rival communications system, the clacks towers, a kind of automated semaphore system, will do anything to prevent this. The post office has been closed for a long time and only two employees remain. The building is full of undelivered mail and there is something else that is lurking within. Oh, and all the previous postmasters all died very horrible deaths.
It is the official position of the Sci Fi Freak Site that Sir Terry Pratchett is a national treasure who ought to be preserved in carbonite at the earliest opportunity, something that he himself may have reservations about. The two previous attempts to dramatise his writings (HOGFATHER and THE COLOUR OF MAGIC) have both looked the part, but failed to capture the magic and humour of the great man's writing, mainly because it isn't necessarily in the plots or the characters, but more in wordplay and descriptions that are the first things that go in transferring something to the screen. The first half of GOING POSTAL seems to be following the same lines, although the book it is based on is more story driven than many of the others.
Richard Coyle (STRANGE) is an excellent choice for con artist von lipwig, proving to be charming enough to pull off the cons, but desperate enough to be at the mercy of Lord Vetinari. He is also not so handsome as to distract from the character. Charles Dance essays the sinister Lord Vetinari and whilst he could do this sort of thing in his sleep he is certainly a huge improvement of the inexplicable, silly-voiced Jeremy Irons in THE COLOUR OF MAGIC) and David Suchet makes for a delicious pantomime villain and ought to get lots more villainous parts on the back of this. Claire Foy only manages to the look the part as the love interest, but that is mainly because she isn't given very much to do.
The wonderful production design brings the world of Ankh-Morpork to life, but since much of the script is based inside the Post Office or the Patrician's office or any number of other small offices, the story doesn't seem to have the scope of the previous efforts. It also seems to be lacking in the magical elements since the spirit in the post office remains utterly hidden. The banshee that attacks Von Lipwig and provides the fiery climax just doesn't work very well. Neither does the golem suit that provides one of the major characters. Whilst the suit itself isn't a disaster, the head fails to provide the range of movement required. Certainly, a golem is made of clay and so you shouldn't expect to get a fully emotive face, but the mouth should at least move in time with the words, if it is going to move at all, that is. By contrast, the clacks system of communications towers is wonderfully created.
The resulting show once again looks the part, but doesn't really capture the magic of the story and ends up being nothing more than an acceptable fantasy.Top
Part Two first transmitted May 31st 2010
Open war has been declared between the newly-opened and recently burned down post office and the clacks system run by the evil Mr Gilt. Each resorts to increasingly bizarre stunts to claim publicity for their services until finally a race is declared. One message to be delivered halfway across the Discworld and if Von Lipwig loses then the noose beckons.
All of the set up was done in part one, so part two gets on with the story, but there really isn't that much story to tell. The rivalry between the two organisations takes up the majority of the running time and is mildly entertaining, but hardly memorable. The sequence in which Moist cons the city into believing that he was possessed by the Gods to find the money to rebuild the post office ought to be a significant point, but proves to be just thrown away.
Claire Foy, as Adora Dearheart, comes into things more as the rightful heir to the Clacks system and a woman who is planning its downfall just as much as Moist is. This makes up for the 'Golem League' sub story that really is a waste of time. It is thanks to the cast that this remains as engaging as it is since it doesn't really go anywhere very fast, but somehow remains mildly diverting. Even the big ending with the outcome of the big race proves to be somewhat fluffed.
Once again GOING POSTAL proves that the Discworld is better left on the printed page where it belongs.Top
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