Friday, 3 May 2013

Moving Pictures

Moving Pictures
Terry Pratchett

"The whole of life is just like watching a click, he thought. Only it's as though you always get in ten minutes after the big picture has started, and no-one will tell you the plot, so you have to work it all out yourself from the clue.
And you never, never get a chance to stay in your seat for the second house."

As you’ll know if you’ve read my previous discworld reviews, the last few books in the series have left a bit of a bitter taste in my mouth. As much as I enjoyed them and found them highly entertaining, I felt they failed to match up to the highlights of the earliest books in the series.
Moving Pictures, I am happy to report, bucked this trend and was absolutely fantastic.

The book sees the alchemists of the disc discover the art of moving pictures (here the result of imps painting the necessary 24 frames per second at incredible speeds) and setting up shop in the town of Holy Wood.
The book is a delightful send up of the early days of cinema and Hollywood in particular and gives Pratchett free reign to parody numerous classic films. As a massive film buff, these parodies were by far the most entertaining part of the book. I enjoyed every little nod, from seeing the hectic universe of the discworld tackle films like The Golde Rushe and their product placement laden epic Blown Away (Gone with the Wind) to some more veiled references like the name of the picture house, Century of the Fruitbat, being a reference to 20th Century Fox, there’s an abundance of items for film fans to digest.
(If you’re one of those fans you might fancy following this link to a series of annotations of the novel, some of the references are really obscure)

For the non-film fans, there’s still a lot here to enjoy and you’ll find the discworld as hilarious as it always is. From main character Victor, a trainee wizard who has realised a loop in his inheritance that means he can continually fail his exams and still receive his fortune, to the always brilliant cameos by Death, (arguably the most enjoyable part of every discworld book so far).

The plot feels a lot more balanced than the last few books and allows for jokes that feel much more natural to the story. The action scenes, always the trickiest part to get right in a book that is predominantly a comedy, are cut down a lot, reserved only for the last few chapters which makes the book a lot less jarring in my opinion.

I had an absolute blast with book and found myself laughing out loud on several occasions, it’s a real treat for film fans and if you’ve any interest in the golden age of Hollywood or just want a laugh, it’s a must read.

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