Indeed, movies are ideas with real powers. Movies can tell us how to behave, what to say, and how to dress. I think movies have more profound influences in our lives than we are aware of. Yet, the question is, how do we know ideas from movies are truthful?
In Moving Pictures (the 10th Dsicworld novel), Sir Terry Pratchett explored the movie industry via a satirical fantasy story. This is a very interesting book. After I finished reading this book, I went away and thought about it for a few days. Today, I offer to share my opinions about this book in a brief review.
In the century of Fruitbat, 3 alchemists from Ankk Morpork blew up the hall of their building for the nth time. They finally decided the business of turning lead into gold just doesn't work. Instead, they accidentally invented an alternative way to make gold. What have they invented? Something new has appeared under the sun. Motion pictures has come to Discworld, and it paved a highway to Holy Wood, a highway glittering with gold and alive with dreams of fame.
Holy Wood called for all to dwell in the magic of the silverscreen.
Victor Tugelbend, a reluctant, would-be wizard answered the call of Holy Wood and decided to have a career change. Victor wanted to be a star, just like thousands of would-be actors/actresses like him, chasing Holy Wood dreams.
In a few months, Holy Wood transformed from a no-man's land into a buzzing town. Moving pictures got made, spellbound Ankh Morpork audiences both young and old. The magic of Holy Wood stirred everywhere, spilling over the limits of the universe into realities; the could-have-beens, the-might-bes, the never-weres, and raging ideas of all sorts and kinds. It blended these ideas into a soup of chaos, ready to drown Discworld into oblivion. However, a spark of hope remained alight with two unlikely heroes and a heroine. Our heoric trio is made up of Victor, Gaspode the Wonder Dog, and Ginger. Together, they must bring order back to Discworld before Holy Wood's magical tentacle reaches from the Great Beyond into reality, destroying all...
My thoughts on this book:
Moving Pictures marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution series in Discworld. This is a true “stand-alone” novel in Discworld library. This also means, Moving Pictures may be a good entry point for new comers to Discworld. In Moving Pictures, Terry Pratchett wrote an excellent parody that is both funny and entertaining. The theme of this book, however, grabbed my attention the most. Before I talk about the theme in this book, let me first talk about what I liked and disliked about the book itself.
In terms of characterization, Moving Pictures follows the hallmark of Discworld, featuring a cast of eccentric, comedic characters who are bound to impress readers with their colorful personalities, characters who were brought to life by Terry Pratchett's vivid writings. Victor Tugelbend, a student wizard, played the role of main protagonist in this book. While Victor is a likable character, but Gaspode the Wonder Dog (arguably the second protagonist) is the true star in this book, who stole the spotlight from Victor. Meanwhile, Moving Pictures' third protagonist, Ginger (AKA Theda Withel the actress), provided an interesting reflection about the nature of fame. This book also enlisted a cast of supporting characters to tell its story, most of them are returning characters from other Discworld books. A few of these supporting characters played pivotal roles in this book, one such character being Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, who appeared in various Discworld novels but never had a major role. In Moving Pictures, Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler is a centrepiece to the story, providing readers an opportunity to explore this well known Discworld personality.
Having said this, there are a few drawbacks in Moving Pictures. I found the story in Moving Pictures disjointed at certain places. Especially in the first 70 pages, where Terry Pratchett constantly switched from one scene to another, and these scenes have no obvious connection to the main story. As a result, I found the early parts in this book slow-paced. However, once the main story began to take shape, it snow-balled at a very fast pace, gathering momentum and building up to a spectacular finale.
As I mentioned earlier, the themes in Moving Pictures captured my interest the most. I think this book, like Small Gods, tells a story set in a strong philosophical backdrop. In this review, I do not wish to spoil the story. Most importantly, I encourage would-be readers to read and think about the book for themselves. This is because after all, the gold of a Discworld book resides in its ability to get people thinking about important issues for themselves. So here I will just briefly offer my personal interpretation for this book. I think Moving Pictures is not just about movies, or the movie industry. After I read this book, I think Terry Pratchett was critiquing the post modern take on ideas and realities. In my opinion, Terry Pratchett seemed to be asking this question: “How do we keep ideas accountable and responsible?” But like I said, this is my personal take on the book. I encourage would-be readers to think about this book and Terry Pratchett's insightful critiques for themselves.
Discworld is a long-running series. It is beloved by millions of readers across the world. These books appeared as parodies of the fantasy genre on the surface, but often explored important issues in our society. In other words, Discworld novels can be seen as social commentaries and they are very, very fun to read. Moving Pictures is a fine example of an excellent Discoworld novel. Sure, this book is not perfect, the story was a bit disjointed at several places and the beginning was a bit slow. But the strengths in this book easily outweighs its weaknesses. Moving Pictures is a stand-alone novel, so this is an excellent entry point for new comers to Discworld. For the veterans of the Disc, Moving Pictures is a must read. I highly recommend this book.