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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 2005

Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy...

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Obviously, there will be much more to write about as the release date approaches, but let it be known that I could not be more hesitant about the eagerly-awaited H2G2 release in May. Why? Well, taking in mind the fact that Adams himself went through countless permutations of the screenplay, never satisfied with one in toto, and that the film's direction is resting in the hands of an individual that I must admit I know next to nothing about, I'm nervous to say the least.

My glimmer of hope at the moment? In two words: Mos Def. I am continually impressed with this young actor, who has not only the looks and savvy of a seasoned star, but the chops to back it up. (See HBO's Something the Lord Made, for proof positive.) The fact that he can switch gears from edgy and intelligent rap artist -- without the gangsta nonsense -- to serious and composed character actor earns my highest kudos.

More to say on this topic, and this film, very soon. I just wanted to get the tension off my chest. =)
Hubby and I went to the movies today and saw The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. It was unreal. Really funny and it follows the book pretty well too. Marvin the paranoid andriod (voiced by Alan Rickman) was very funny. All of the cast was good.
I want to see this, but so far, I am not impressed.
I so want it to be good.


5-14-05

okay it sucked
not much even good to say about it.

save your money don't bother seeing it, at least at the theaters
First things first: This adaptation of the novel deviates in many areas. If you're a massive fanboy of Douglas Adams's work, you may be a little disappointed.

I was fortunate enough to have seen a sneak preview yesterday, so here goes.

*SMALL SPOILERS AWAIT*

This movie had me laughing for two straight hours...

Indeed, from the first sequence, THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY had me laughing. Hard. Yes, watching dolphins sing, "So long and thanks for all the fish" before a blubbering mass of Americans who eat too much fried food, was brilliant. As the narrator commented, "Humans are, in fact, the third most intelligent species on Earth. Dolphins are the second. Dolphins, aware of Earth's impending destruction, attempted to warn their human counterparts to no avail. What Dolphins agreed was a clear message of doom using precise body language, humans mistook for the mammals flipping in the air and hitting a soccer ball."

All this, only to be trumped by a pub scene which Mos Def (who plays Ford Perfect) commands with alien aplomb.

Woohoo..this movie was much better than i expected!!It brought back so many memories of the book (that i read looong ago)

The cast was inspired..especially Martin Freeman (from "Love actually"..the naked porno stand in) and Sam Rockwell who is really silly and obviously having a ball...

The girl..whatsername.. didn't do much for me but her performance didn't detract from the movie either..

the depressed robot was so cute..i want one.

Go see this movie if you like Monty Python / English Comedies...if not stay far far away..

btw saw the entire Star wars trailer for the first time and i have high hopes..can't help it..
2 Movies released today: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and xXx2: State of the Union (known as xXx2: The Next Level, in Australia).

xXx2: State of the Union

The first XXX, was boring...largely to the fact that Vin Diesel can't really act. But the action sequences were stunning and done well.

Here its pretty much run-of-the-mill stuff, big explosions, sexy-girls and the worse dialogue of all time.

However the actors in this superficial sequel are more interesting. Ice Cube is a fairly good replacement. William Defoe plays the villian as per usual, but he has some of the best dialogue in the most deplorable screenplay.

It is important to note, xXx2 is not too be taken serious.
Making this movie would have been like trying to stuff an inflated pool toy into your suitcase. Not very easy. The movie works and it's a great ride if a little confusing. It felt rushed though but that cause so much happened.

Why did Sam Rockwell have to play the part of Zafood B like he was possessed by Owen Wilson? I guess he was in character but it would have made more sense to cast Owen himself.

The animated sequences for the actual Guide were amazing. Pat on the back for Shynola and grateful nod to who ever decided to use them.

It wasn't until the movie had ended did I remember I had read the damn book. No wonder it all seemed familiar.

To sum up: If you are a fan don't winge about anything they changed just enjoy. If you not a fan then look forward to 2 hrs of fun and laughs with a bit of sickly romance thrown in. Fun for the whole family and not a light sabre in sight.
The Critics are a bunch of mindless jerks who will be the first against the wall when the revolution comes!!!
OK, just a note: I liked the movie, thought it was pretty funny, but wasn't a great HHGG adaptation. Basically everything, Zaph included, was amusing but not quite what I remembered. However I managed to see past the books and enjoy the film for what it was. It was also the first time I cried at the opening credits of a film - ever. Just the joy at seeing the title on the big screen.

Soooo...the new bits. SPOILERS ahoy.

What didn't work:

- The love story. The dinner scene and the POV gun scene (where Zaphod is forced to explain how Trillian is feeling) were enough to make me gnaw my own legs off.
- Some of the new dialogue, namely "I'm a robot, not a refrigerator" and "Marvin, lend me a hand".
- The whole "Guide narration without Guide graphics" thing. It introduces a narrator, which we haven't had before. It's always been with the Guide. And I'd have to say that it would've been nice to see animated leg-gnawing and lemon-wrapped-brick bashing in Shynola graphic form.
- What the hell was Anna Chancellor doing?
- A couple of kids in front of me read the credits at the end, and went "See? It wasn't Professor Snape, it was Warwick Dawis or something who played Marvin." Grr. If they'd read a couple lines down they'd've seen Voice of Marvin.
- Sofas? C'mon, let's see some limbs falling off, and some Southend.
- Tidings of beer...uh, yeah. Whatever.
- Deep Thought's voice, while well-acted, wasn't really the epic sound you'd connect with such a power.
- Mos Def's pronunciation of "Vogons". It rhymed with "Bogens".
- A few "miraculous" moments, like Marvin's resuscitation, and Arthur's escape from his bonds.

What worked:
- Zaphod's mannerisms. Surprisingly I didn't find him annoying, and I liked his gestures and posturing for some reason.
- The visual gags: jump cuts out of Earth, the microphone-lowering device, the crabs, the airlock's opening direction, people building the Earth Mk II, etc.
- Some of Mos Def's comic timing was pretty good. I liked the "Would you like a hug?" line in the airlock.
- The final Guide entry was bloody brilliant. My favourite Guide line, "resplendent in their black-jewelled battle shorts", was in there, the weapons were hilarious, and the speech bubble bouncing off one of the warriors was pretty cool too.
- Humma was interesting and kind of funny, but I think he needed more screen time. And his story needed to kind of, you know, GO somewhere.
- The League of Gentlemen's voicing of the additional Vogons. There was one who looked and sounded exactly like Tubbs.
- For Douglas. Awww.
- Eddie was fantastic, as were the doors.
- The Vogsphere sequence seemed a bit rushed but was pretty funny, mainly because Vogons are in themselves funny. i.e. "Bring me the request to pursue fugitives form!"

All in all I found it quite enjoyable. What was interesting was that although they didn't quite preserve all of Douglas's words, they managed to preserve his voice nicely. The themes that are prevalent in HHGG are there in full force, like that of the natural world being a thing of beauty, the bureaucratic nature of people, the silliness of some habits and customs, organised religion...it was there. It felt a lot like Douglas Adams, regardless of whether or not every last word was there.

I loved the film.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on book-to-film adaptations:

Book-to-film adaptations are explanations for books and films which, through some remarkable but thoroughly insignificant coincidence, share the same title. This remarkable but thoroughly insignificant coincidence extends often to character and place names, even to plot points. In extreme cases, the author and screenplay credits will share the exact same names.

But rest assured, these are nothing of the sort. No actual connection should be assumed between either work, and in fact both should be kept as far away from each other as possible.

In the rare cases of books and films having the same name that were both created by one individual, mental illness and memory disorders have been documented in 99.9994578% of the cases. The one case where this couldn't be diagnosed involved a spectacular coincidence in space-time that turned said creator into a bowl of petunias, which qualifies as neither a mental or memory disorder.

Okay, that isn't in there, but you can't really prove it because apparently most of you barely literate Neanderthals (and I mean that in the best way about my circle of friends and colleagues) haven't read the book.

I'm not quite sure what you'll think of the movie. I'm not sure what I think. I wouldn't say I liked it. I wouldn't say I really disliked it. There's a quote here from the book that's perfect for this, but I'm going to more or less exactly avoid it.

I'm mainly left with how DIFFERENT the book and film are from each other and that I REALLY liked the book. I think it's really the only sci-fi book I've ever read that I could say that I really enjoyed. There were several sequels and I read all of them, but it all kind of got a little mixed up and kind of pointless as the books dragged on. Read the first book, which you can probably finish in about a weekend, and you'll get the general gist of it.

It's essentially a book about a book. All the things that happen to the characters in the book make absolutely no sense and would be pretty uninteresting without interjections from the Guide.

At the start of the film, we get plenty of these. But we seem to lose the Guide rather abruptly towards the middle of the film, and we don't really get it back until the credit sequence. I suspect that was about the point that Disney kindly thanked the late Douglas Adams and took over. Instead of a pretty interesting series of misadventures, given context and exposition by the Guide, we're suddenly clamped down with some kind of sad attempt at a linear plot and a highly trumped up romantic angle that gives a sudden seriousness to the story that seems wholly out-of-place.

The characterizations also seem a bit off to me. I really wish that all the characters, maybe with the exception of Zaphod, be English. They don't have to be white English people. Mos Def as Ford is a great idea. But I just can't imagine it all without heavy English accents and a sort of nonchalant attitude. Everybody seems way too panicky, even Arthur. From the book I always got the impression that he slipped seamlessly from a state of shock to being totally jaded at all the bizarre or horrible things he sees. Ford was quintessential cool in the book, but often seemed helpless in the movie. Zaphod as a surfer/cowboy kind of works. Trillian as a tender and sensitive love interest doesn't. Marvin could've used a more conventional character design, but is voiced well by Alan Rickman.

I also think this is one of the few movies that deserved and could've benefited from having huge truckloads of money dumped on it. I really wanted to see more bizarre stuff from the Improbability Drive, especially that first experience with it where, in some bizarre contortion of the laws of physics, they watch as a 'sea stays steady while a rock and the buildings keep washing up and down.' I really wish we coulda taken a crack at it.

EDIT:
Upon seeing it a second time, I gotta admit that it does manage to get a lot right, and it's pretty funny in parts. I'm skewing slightly positive on it.
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