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*** Official THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY Discussion Thread

Discussion in 'Movies' started by Elizabeth S, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. Elizabeth S

    Elizabeth S Well-Known Member

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    I'm totally unfamiliar with the book, found the trailer for this film very odd, but thought it deserved a chance. I found it NOT very amusing and often quite stupid. The only saving grace for me was Alan Rickman as Marvin -- PERFECT voicework, and I loved how the robot somehow showed utter pessimism and ennui just by his figure and movements.
     
  2. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

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    I have been dying for this to come out!

    Thanks for the review [​IMG]
     
  3. MarkN

    MarkN Well-Known Member

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    The suicidal robot should be worth the price of addmission!!! LOL!
     
  4. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    From listening to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series while in junior high school, what I recall most vividly was how Ford and Zaphod tried to "out cool" each other. Their absurd affectations intended to make themselves appear hip and suave even in the most dire circumstances was the source of most of the humor.

    Their "beatniks to the nth degree" banter contrasted perfectly with poor Arthur Dent, the perpetually clueless earthman who was not savvy enough to know to hide his misgivings.

    That core character dynamic was present in the books, the radio series, and the tv miniseries, but it isn't in the film.

    Without the characters’ highly comic attempts to out-impress each other, what we are left with are snippets of storyline from Adams’ saga, oftentimes rendered so literally from their past versions as to be utterly boring. I found myself craving something new, something which justified making the story as a film.

    I found of bit of that in the one character given any sort of depth: Zooey Deschanel’s Trillian. I was already a fan of Zooey’s work (she played the GenY “Dead Like Me”/”Wonderfalls”-esque lead in the film “Eulogy”) so perhaps I was inclined to enjoy her performance regardless, but I thought she brought some life to the character. Admittedly Trillian hadn’t been particularly 3-dimensional in past tellings, but it was a good move to make her something more than a “scientist-turned-Dale-Bozzio-in-hot-pants” as she’d been in the tv series.

    Pity that Arthur didn’t get more than a handful of lines of dialogue in which we could get to know him, too.

    The characters were barely there, and frankly that was what was so fun about the original(s). The storyline, which the film adheres to far too strictly, was just a fast-and-loose path on which the characters could tumble down - opportunities for wild banter and philosophical hilarity.

    I could praise the film for following the storyline of Adams’ series so closely, and for the way the filmmakers manages to recreate the look and feel of something the BBC might have produced 30 years ago, right down to the use of clayfields for alien planets. But honestly I am not sure it deserves praise. Because we’d already seen it. The BBC produced a tv mini series which had the same look. We’d already heard these lines of dialogue (in better, more “beatnik” form) before. Why make a film if you aren’t ready to take it to a new level, to riff on the material? The books and the radio series and the record albums at least took slightly different routes along the same storyline.

    Ironically, by sticking so closely to the original, they did a disservice to it.

    Some random observations:

    - The decision to make Zaphod a George W. Bush impression was seriously misguided, to the point of ruining the character entirely.

    - During the opening scene, I prayed that the recreation of the look of the old tv mini series was itself a joke, and that 10 minutes in to the film the cinematography would suddenly change and we’d find ourselves in a whole new vision of the Galaxy.

    - I watched the film in a packed but mostly silent auditorium (devoid of anything more than the occasional titter of amusement).

    - I liked the cameo appearance of a certain tin friend, and the familiar faces that popped up now and then.

    - The soundalike they got for the voice of the book did a spot-on impression.

    - The guy who plays Arthur did a good job with what little he was given.

    - The guy who played Ford didn't.
     
  5. Clinton McClure

    Clinton McClure Casual Enthusiast

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    I just got back from the 5:00 showing. I have never heard the radio series but I read the books about once every other year so I'm very familiar with the plot and dialogue. I have to say I am sadly disappointed with what's been done with the story. In my opinion the director totally screwed the pooch with this one. A good bit of dialogue (which helps to explain the story) was completely cut and the few jokes left in the script were altered so that the humor was completely lost. The pacing was erratic at best and Zaphod was a total mess.

    This one had so much potential but, as is often seen with books or comics made into movies, the director goes egomaniacal on us and rewrites 3/4 of the story.

    I love the book, but I have to give the movie a big [​IMG].
     
  6. Chris

    Chris Well-Known Member

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  7. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Okay, how many people spotted:

    (1) the guy who played the original Arthur in the radio and TV series as the 3-D spokesman for Magrathea?

    (2) the out-of-foucs face of Douglas Adams? This is the last shot of the film when the Heart of Gold is going through its various incarnations


    (3) the squashed deer armchair of the chief Vogon? If you haven't read the books in a while, the reference probably will escape you.

    There's a huge number of neat in-jokes throughout the movie for the observant who are familiar with the books, the radio series and the TV series.

    And I think that's the trouble - the movie is a reasonable enough waste of a couple of hours if you are unfamiliar with the Hitchhiker's Guide and have a charitable disposition. It's really only likely truly to entertain the existing fanbase. Of those, inevitably we will get the hardcore element bleating about every supposed inaccuracy (in Shakespeare's time, there were probably nerds bleating about how he'd ruined the original plot of Romeo and Juliet, etc).

    Personally, I found it bitty, but having said that, I thought the same about the radio and TV versions. Douglas Adams has often been compared with Lewis Carroll, and with good reason - neither of them could really string together a coherent plot. Instead they provided the flimsiest of pretexts to throw a huge array of brilliant individual ideas at you. I think the best way of approaching this movie is to see it as a collection of successive short movies - some are so-so, others very entertaining.

    Overall, I'd say it's worth seeing, but don't expect belly laughs.
     
  8. Colton

    Colton Well-Known Member

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    I took my wife to see this over the weekend. We shouldn't have watched it. We've never read the book and went into this expecting some Monty Pythonish humor and belly-aching laughs. Not once in the movie did we find anything funny - the humor felt like it was forced or it was trying too hard. Sad to say, this had to be the worst movie I've seen this year - so far.

    [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    - Colton
     
  9. Kain_C

    Kain_C Well-Known Member

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    Just read Bill's review over at the Bits. I don't think I have ever disagreed with something as much as that review. He asks those of us who feel differently from him (I guess those of us who would have preferred some semblance of loyalty to the books) if we have even read the books, which is a little insulting. Well, I prefer to have alot of the jokes from the books present in the film instead of the tepid new material that takes their place.

    He also goes on to call Malkovich's cameo as "brilliant", which is probably the biggest exaggeration of the mundane/mediocre that I have ever read. A useless role that could have been acted by anyone is hardly qualifiable as "brilliant".

    He calls the completely out of place (and downright insulting to the source material) romance plot awkward, but not due to it's absurdity or uselessness; more because of apparently how "British" the two are, whatever that means, despite the fact that Trillian in the film is most American in origin.

    I greatly respect Bill, his site, and his contribution to the DVD cause, but that review was plain ridiculous!
     
  10. Larry L

    Larry L Active Member

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    I went to see this on Saturday with no idea whatsoever what it was about...I'd heard enough people suggest it that I gave it a shot. I found bits and pieces of the movie to be funny but other parts were just a bit too off the wall for me. However, 1 hour into the movie the theater lost all power! They were unable to get it back online and so we were all kicked out but were given 2 free movie passes. Not sure if I'll go back to see the ending or not....
     
  11. Will_B

    Will_B Well-Known Member

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    Yeah I have to wonder if he'll still that way about the film tomorrow. Can someone create an official discussion thread for this film though? This is the review thread.
     
  12. Lars_J

    Lars_J Well-Known Member

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    I must say that I am very surprised by some of the complaints in this thread. I though the film was highly enjoyable, and it seemed to be warmly recieved by the audience.

    B+/A- from me!
     
  13. JohnTRU

    JohnTRU Well-Known Member

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    Well, I've no idea what film I saw last night - because I thought it was great. It's never going to be the most earth-shattering (no pun intended) film of all time, but I had a ball.

    And never having read the book, I suppose I'd better get to it. It may be much better than the movie (and probably is), but that doesn't take away from the fact that I really enjoyed the movie.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] out of [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  14. Hugh Jackes

    Hugh Jackes Well-Known Member

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    JohnTRU--

    What make the books special (and count me among those who thoroughly enjoyed the movie) was Douglas Adams's sly use of language and imagery, which isn't easily translatable to a visual medium.

    Attention purists: Paraphrasing: "The Vogon ship hung there in the sky in exactly the same fashion as bricks don't." My sons, my wife, and I all got the biggest giggles over that sentence in the early pages of the book. That joyful writing style is throughout.
     
  15. Kain_C

    Kain_C Well-Known Member

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    That is a great line. So is the Guide's entry about Earth being 'harmless', or actually 'mostly harmless', but that one sadly is NOT included in the film. I think it boils down to the fact that a feature length is not at all long enough to properly tell the story.
     
  16. gene c

    gene c Well-Known Member

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    I also remember this computer game. I think I played it on my old Commodore 64 computer. It was pretty good back then but imagine how good it could be now using todays technology? Maybe a re-issue is in order?
     
  17. CharlesD

    CharlesD Well-Known Member

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    I've been a Hitch-hikers fan since the very beginning (I listened to the radio series when it was originally broadcast in the UK, (I was 11) read all the books, have the TV version on DVD etc.) and I enjoyed the movie very much.

    Sure there were favorite lines missing (I would have liked to have seen them arguing with the Vogon guard "I LIKE orders", the bit in the airlock... Arthur: "Its times like these I wished I had listened to what my mother said when I was little" Ford: "Why what did she say?" Arthur: "I don't know, I wasn't listening" and I love the "lucky escape for Arsenal" line in the pub too). But you can't have everything you like from a book show up in a movie.

    What did make the transition from previous versions to the movie was very well done IMO, I laughed frequently during the movie. The Vogons were just fantastic, very well done. Zaphod was done quite well I thought, he even got a few "Heyyys" in. Trillian and Arthur were fine, but I thought Ford Prefect wasn't quite right (but wasn't too bad). I did think the romance sub plot was out of place and dragged in places.

    I really enjoyed the little tid bits thrown in from the Radio/TV series, e.g the original Arthur as the Magrathean hologram, the TV Marvin in line on the Vogon planet and the original theme tune having a main title cameo.

    Overall I would give it a solid B+ (although I still think Terry Gilliam should have made this film).
     
  18. Mike Wilk

    Mike Wilk Well-Known Member

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    You are spot on.

    Some people are criticizing the movie for not being faithful enough to the book(s). I went into it expecting it to be different since ever other version that Adams put out differed from the others if only slightly in some cases.

    I also believe that Adams had lost some zeal for doing the movie since it took him so long to do as much as he did for it. I firmly believe it would have been a better movie had he lived long enough to see it through production.

    YMMV
     
  19. Al.Anderson

    Al.Anderson Well-Known Member

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    My kids and I thoroughly enjoyed the movie; though I agree it wasn't perfect. We've been walking around the house since Saturday singing (with imaginary tophat and canes) "So long and thanks for all the fish; too bad it had to come to this ...". So that was worth the price of admission right there. The fact that this behavior drives my wife batty is just icing on the cake. Can't wait for the DVD.

    Now, when do we get the Dirk Gently movie?
     
  20. andrew markworthy

    andrew markworthy Well-Known Member

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    Better still - when is anyone going to start doing live action films of the Terry Pratchett discworold series? The cartoons are a complete travesty IMHO.
     

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