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Friday, June 10, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Mood: 2 Gargleblasters into an very very froopy hour.
Track Injection: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - The Complete Soundtrack <-- Click to Listen (REALPLAYER)

TAG in on a - Time is an illusion, review-time doubly-so - Tangent

As a long-sitting Adams fan I spent 5 days in self-analysis attempting to discern how this film effected me before commiting to a review of it.

Largely because the first 3 days were spent attempting to come to terms with my own apparently oxymoronic reaction, where I distinctly recall laughing out loud and otherwise enjoying the film, and yet was also, curiously, pissed-off at the film for offenses I felt it committed against Douglas Adams.

(If this all seems terribly epic, particularly for a review, please keep in mind I am one who grew up with Douglas Adams HHG)

(oh brother - Ed)

Go Away Ed.

When I realized (on day 3) this oxymoronic-distaste was un-fair to the movie as it was an emotional reaction based not on what was on screen, but rather on what wasn't, I then spent the last 2 days constantly internally re-contextualizing the movie that was on the screen.

und I come down 'ere:

my review, for what it's worth:


I laughed my heads off.


At Zaphod.

Who I found excessively simultaneously gut-busting; megalomaniacal and froopy.

(TAG loving MEGALOMANIA, wot a surprise - Ed)

Yes, That however may be more of an personal taste than for example one (or at least this one - Ed) could comfortably claim as an universal absolute reaction to Zaphod.

I find that our Western audiences are (astoundingly - Ed) not as keen on megalomania.

For some odd reason.

(must have something to do with how badly the prole masses behave when faced with superior beings right TAG? Ed)


(MU-AHA - Ed)

Go Away Ed.

All this to say, it is *possible* that Zaphod may aggravate more audience members than he gut-busts, which, I suspect, would seriously dampen the brightest extra-solar star of this variation on HHG, but imo, if you "get" (he means "like" -Ed) Zaphod (as poltician rock star schizo hipster lounge lizard gameshow-host multiple-penis-sporting tight-shorts-wearing-so-you-can-check intellectually-suspect Megalomaniac) and more importantly aren't the sort to be turned-off by rampaging displays of megalomania (heathens - Ed) then I feel comfortable in saying you will lose your $5 bucket of Mountain Dew out your proboscis ..every..bloody..single..time, Zaphod opens his mouths.

I know I did, and often both during and more tellingly, once again, after ee'd made his latest appearance.

Comes back at you, (like a slightly odd-tasting lunch -Ed) ee does.

If there are to be followups, Zaphod (Sam Rockwell - Ed) is imo integral to the cohesion of a film series!

If 'owever over-the-top is not one's cup of brownian motion, then one ought love Alan Rickman as Marvin the manically-depressed paranoid robot. Who comes off far more wry and witty than manically-depressed, than we're used to having Marvin come off as, and yet it works extremely well.

Ford (Mos Def -Ed) is as non-commital and difficult to phase as we've come to expect, or would be if what we'd come to expect was about 4 times as unflappable as we'd previously encountered.

It's an interesting more laid-back comedic interpretation (of the alien that named himself after a car in order to blend in to human society -Ed) ergo he werks, but in a different way. I prefer the original (Dixon's -Ed) BBC portrayal, which I consider the quintessential Ford, but I don't 'ave any complaints over Mos Def's interpretation, he does feel like Ford, or a GPP version of Ford.

and when he finally does show some sort of sane emotion (beyond that of a shrug) in the form of a ... well, that would telling.. ee's not even on screen, you just hear him., and I lost it (again - Ed) for a solid 5 minutes of laughing, on Def's delivery.

Zooey Deschanel's Trillian and Martin Freeman's Arthur are also interesting, they don't seem to me, to work as well as Simon Jones and Sandra Dickinson do on their respective own, but _together_, they 'ave incredible symbiotic chemistry, and as this variation just so 'appens to center on a romance between Arthur and Trillian, it werks, and works well. Or rather isn't given the opportunity not to.

Lucky save that one, if you ask me.

Why? myself, I prefer Arthur depicted as both beseiged and with less confidence (and more average brains than he's ever credited for) and Trillian with more uber-brains (than her peroxided head, skimpy outfits, and ditzy voce' generate the impression of) but as I say, the new Arthur and Trillian have better sympatico chemistry _together_ and are far more believable _as a couple_ than ever the original BBC actors were.

(though they are not better, as individual character interpretations of Arthur and Trillian, if you see my meaning)

Stephen Fry I thought delivered the lines as well as someone copping Peter Jones original voce-del-book enunciation could reasonably be expected to do.

if I had a criticism here it'd be that maybe he's a bit too hurried or perhaps a bit too rehearsed. I'd slow down the pace and stick to the original verbiage, the content is more important than the enunciation pattern.

It felt a bit like he was (ordered to -Ed) Speed through the dialogue in order to maintain an artificial rythmic vocal pattern that matched the zany pace of the movie. Which in turn de-emphasizes the value of the words. It's a bit like speedreading Shakespeare, you _can_ do it, but it oughtn't be your first choice.

Bottom line, there's no one that can replace Peter Jones, but if there were Stephen Fry would be it. Just wish they'd take more time with it.

The Vogons were spectacular, I found them very Monty Python and specifically very very Terry Gilliam in design and demeanor. One of the few places in the film where you would absolutely not require knowledge of the original materia to get wot they're all about or what's going on.

Overall Criticisms?

You *might* otherwise require an IQ of 2000 to figure out what's going on if you haven't heard and seen the original BBC Radio and TV HHG series. There's very little exposition in the film, we jump from scene to scene, and you might require a Babel Fish upgraded to incorporate not simply language translation but laser-fast comprehension, as well, in order to 'ave much of an idea wot's going on.

I say, *might*.

I couldn't say for sure. I've seen the orignal HHGs, ergo, it's an postulate, for all I know what's going on is as obvious to those of us who have read and seen HHG as it is to those who 'aven't.

That is for others to decide.

If there was one point in space-time that really cements this film as a worthy Adams variant, it is the scene on Magrathea where Arthur and Slartibartfast are visiting you-know-wot Mark II. And not because the FX were spectacular, though they were.

But rather because, that scene struck me as a perfect visual representation of _precisely_ what it is that Douglas Adams (words) do to the readers mind.

Much like Adams' command of linguistics and its neurological effect on the mind of the reader, that scene blows your perspective wide open, you are no longer the ant being looked down upon, you are now the (ant - Ed) looking down upon your previous (ant -Ed) self.

It's pure expanded awareness, put to screen.

That moment is, imo, a picture perfect, visual metaphor for, and tribute to, Douglas Adams genius.

Anyway, imo, overall an enjoyable version of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, not without its flaws most of which very likely attributable to a first time Director's lack of experience in fine-tuning, but it seemed to me his heart was in the right place and he pulled it off, because while this film could easily have utterly failed to work on so many levels, it for lack of a better term "lucks out" at just the right moments, to make it a pleasing HHG entry.

A bit lighter than we're used to, I might classify it as a readers-digest version, but fun all the same and a great introduction to the HHG for a new generation.

und Zaphod, I don't much care if the majority did mistakenly think they were voting for you as worst dressed alien sentient being (not so sure about the sentient part - Ed), *I'd* vote for you for Galactic President anyday.

Because, we all know we're gonna get screwed by whoever we vote for, so it may as well be by a bloke who really knows how to hit your G spot.

(with his 2 penises - Ed)


HHG The Movie: Recommended for slightly insane people with a good sense of humour.

TAG aka michaelmaelstrom