Written by: Terry Pratchett, based on his novel
Directed by: Jean Flynn
Starring: Jane Horrocks, June Whitfield, Annette Crosbie, Christopher Lee
- Pratchett and character biographies
- Production storyboards
- Discworld booklist
Released by: Acorn Media
Anamorphic: N/A; presented in original 1.33:1 format
My Advice: Rent It.
Okay, let me start out and say I’m a huge Discworld fan. I’ve read all the books many times over and I have all the British editions because the cover art is lively and crowded and the American versions are minimalist crap. So when Widge said he had two Discworld animated stories, Wyrd Sisters and Soul Music, for review, I think my exact response was, “GIMME GIMME GIMME!”
[ad#longpost]Good King Verence of Lancre has died of natural causes (natural causes being stabbed in the back by an ambitious cousin). Not that Duke Felmet and his imposing wife care about the kingdom. Lady Felmet just wants to rule something with an iron fist and the Duke is only interested in getting rid of all the trees. Unfortunately for them, the royal couple has gotten on the bad side of a trio of witches: Magrat Garlick, the “maiden” of the coven, who is a practical girl even with her fascination of crystals, runes, and funny colored candles; Nanny Ogg, the “mother” of the coven, a lover of life, liquor, and a rude song; and Granny Weatherwax, the “other one” of the coven, a powerful witch who believes in doing Right, particularly when it’s unpleasant. These three must make sure that the rightful heir (currently with a troupe of actors learning to act like a king) will regain his kingdom. But the Duke has learned of the power of words and propaganda. Who will conjure the right outcome to this royal problem?
Wyrd Sisters is extremely faithful to the novel in this cartoon retelling. Everything from Granny’s barely working broomstick to the kiss that lasts for eighteen years has been depicted. There may be a few bits from the book cut here and there, but most of that Pratchett goodness is included. Which is a good thing, because the animation is not that great. The concepts behind the look of the characters are decent, but the execution leaves a lot to be desired. The voices are respectable though; I couldn’t find a single voice that didn’t fit with the characters in the story. The three witches (Horrocks, Whitfield, Crosbie) each capture their character’s personality from Magrat’s wishy-washy goodwill to Weatherwax’s iron will. The story may be a little confusing to someone new to the Disc, but trust me; it’s worth the trouble.
The features, although sparse, do help the newcomer. Included are bios of the major characters and even a short describing the Disc in all its improbability. A list of the books gives the viewer an idea to where to start if he wants more of the Discworld. There isn’t a lot to the features pertaining to the production or its development. It would have been interesting to hear how the animators took Pratchett’s words and developed the images we see in the cartoon. I enjoyed this disc, but I wish there was more to the features. Discworld veterans and those who have yet to explore this strange land will enjoy it too.