The Plot In A Nutshell: The alchemists of Ankh-Morpork have brought the magic of cinema to Discworld, and the “clicks” instantly become a widespread phenomenon.
Nearly everybody wants to play a role in moving pictures, and — one way or another — they all find themselves in scenic Holy Wood. Holy Wood calls out to the masses.
Among those seeking glory are run-away, wizard university drop-out Victor Tugelbend and small-town Theda “Ginger” Withel.
However, there’s something brewing in Holy Wood. Something unnatural. Something boding. Victor and Ginger find themselves dead-center in the machinations of some otherworldly force that will bring ruin to the world.
Accompanied by a cynical, bitter sentient mutt known as Gaspode the Wonder Dog, Victor and Ginger are the only ones capable of stopping the curse of Holy Wood.
Moving Pictures was one of Terry Pratchett’s early Discworld works, but it was among the first handful of Terry Pratchett’s books that I bought and read. I had heard about the great Terry Pratchett, but I had reservations about the “comic fantasy” angle. Moving Pictures was one of the books that fully sold me on Terry Pratchett, and showed me that comedic literature is just fine if it is in the right hands.
And quite recently, I read the book again.
Terry Pratchett proves his literary genius by making the premise of Moving Pictures work. True, enough it is a highly amusing romp about a fantasy world developing cinema. However, Pratchett actually tosses in some real meaningful context among the whimsy.
A segment of the story of one of the main character lamenting that truth of life that some people waste away by being hampered by their time, and years after their deaths a field of occupation comes up that such people would have been good at if it existed in their prime. Chances that were never given.
When people are lucky enough to be born in time where chance presents itself, they have to grab it with everything they have. And never let go.
However, a person must be prepared for the possibility that their success is temporary and fleeting.
That’s a POWERFUL message. A completely unexpected message among the outlandish fun of the story.
That is the sort of meaningful depth that Terry Pratchett pours into his work, and that is one of the many reasons why people love him.
And that’s just one thing that just causes...GREAT COMPLICATED FEELINGS in this book.
There’s a minor romance between two minor characters involving an old-fashioned, slightly thick man desperately trying to win the heart of a modernized, civilized “high-class” female, and the woman trying to be “modernized and high-class” attempting to educate the man on civilized behaviors and courtship rituals. In other stories, it might come across as awkward, clichéd, and an ill-fit as far as relationships go. However, the way that Pratchett plays it is utterly charming.
The fact that both the man and woman are TROLLS composed of SOLID STONE might be part of the unique charm.
Heck, what Gaspode The Wonder Dog goes through is heartwarming as well. Don’t hate somebody for the simple reason that they are more talented and fit than you. The fact of the matter is that you’re better than that person at a variety of things that they fail at. You might not get as much recognition and praise as the other person, but you have to make the most of your abilities. And you never know, you and that person just might make a good team. A legendary bromance or sisterhood, even.
And that’s just talking about some of the characters and their personal story arcs!
In this book, Pratchett builds up a palpable atmosphere of mystery. The enigmatic nature of Holy Wood will definitely perplex and intrigue any reader, and it will quite possibly send a chill or two up one’s spine when truths are revealed. The mystery of the curse is dark, and the secrets run deep. Certain turns of events in this fable of whimsical wonder will definitely shock any reader.
Overall, Moving Pictures is a fine, endearing piece of literature that will surely capture the heart of anybody that will give it a chance. A simple must-have for those that adore fantasy.