Last night, I watched the television adaptation of Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic, starring Sir David Jason as Rincewind. He’s apparently a big television star in the United Kingdom, which I suppose explains why they keep miscasting him in these Discworld adaptations. In Hogfather, he played the crotchety old man Albert as a cheerful old man, and in this one he played an incompetent young wizard as an incompetent old wizard.
I remember fellow Pratchett fans pointing out that this could cause trouble in future plots where Rincewind and Albert interact, but I think the only time that actually happens is during a brief scene in Mort. Besides, I don’t think consistency in casting is a priority for the people making these television versions. I haven’t been able to watch Going Postal yet (we Americans have to wait on these things), but I understand that Charles Dance plays Vetinari in it, while it was Jeremy Irons playing the same role in TCoM. So if we ever see Rincewind or Albert in another one of these, it’s quite possible they’ll be played by totally different actors.
While Rincewind was too old, I liked most of the other portrayals. I was a bit disappointed when I learned that Twoflower wasn’t Asian, but I don’t really think it mattered much in the end.
It’s really only once we get to Interesting Times that Twoflower’s homeland being the Discworld equivalent of China and Japan becomes significant. And Cohen the Barbarian, played by the same guy who plays Filch in the Harry Potter films, was spot on.
For the most part, the plot of the first part followed The Colour of Magic, and the second part its immediate sequel The Light Fantastic. Some of the scenes from the second book were, however, interspersed throughout the first part, giving the whole thing more consistency. Overall, I think the changes made were mostly for the better. They cut out a few funny scenes from the books (I missed the gingerbread house episode, for instance), but most of them didn’t advance the plot much if at all, so I can see why they left them alone. And while they removed the Bel-Shamharoth encounter, there were still a few mentions of the dark god. I also appreciated that they added in a joke to explain how Twoflower went from not knowing Morporkian at all at the beginning of the book to being able to converse quite easily with other characters later on, which was one of Sir Terry’s biggest gaffes in his story. Seeing the Librarian in his pre-orangutan form was also a nice touch. There were a few changes that seemed unnecessary, and the jokes they added in were a bit out of place (I especially felt that about Rincewind’s “I think I need to boldly go” line in the Krull sequence). And why did they feel the need to change to references to Hogswatch to simply “the solstice” when Hogfather had already been filmed? Overall, though, I liked it.