Sunday, May 01, 2005

Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I saw The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy yesterday. I was more than a little worried because the theater was showing four screens at around Noon, but almost nobody was watching. My theater had maybe 20 other patrons. Not that I minded; I like watching movies in an empty theaters unless it’s for a Star Wars like epic premiere.

I am an old school Hitchhikers fan. I read the books when they were released in the 80’s. I have autographed copies of each book signed by Douglas Adams himself while I watched (and tried not to drool) at A Change of Hobbit in Santa Monica in the 80s. I miss A Change of Hobbit, it was a great bookstore; the one in Berkeley does not come close to the original. Anyway, I’ve listen to the BBC series when it was on public radio in the early 80’s, and well, I can actually say, I was an am a fan. Of course, this all scared the crap out of me because Hollywood usually butchers good science fiction stories.

My wife and son saw the movie with me. We all laughed at very different places in the movie. I laughed all the time, my son laughed at the physical comedy, while my wife did a little of both. Hitchhikers translated to the screen very well. The story came across with a few modifications. I don’t remember Dent and Trillian being in love from the books, nor do I remember John Malkovic’s character Humma Kevula, and the VP character Questular Rontok. I could be wrong; it has been 20 years since I read the book. However, the story as written for the movie worked and managed to maintained the wacky and profound comedy sense of the original series.

I worry a little that people who are not familiar with the original story won’t get the movie. And god help the moviegoer who misses the first 10 minutes, there is no way to catch up after the movie gets rolling. Also, the story is very complex and completely off the wall, I fear people won’t get it.

The Cast:
Moss Def as Ford is brilliant.
Martin Freeman as Author was right on the mark. I loved him in Shaun of the Dead
Zooey Deschanel as Trillian was not what I expected, but passable. She has distinctly goofy facial expressions that distracted me from her performance.
John Malvoich was interesting and I think maybe the highlight of movie. His role was captivating, interesting, and very strange.
Sam Rockwell as Zaphod was hilarious. I cannot believe he was able to pull it off so well, Zaphod in the book is a completely over the top character. I think Rockwell did a fine job.

My favorite bit – the Vogons are closing in Dent and company on backup earth. Ford chases away a small group of Vogons with a towel, and then locks a small garden gate from the inside. The Vogons return and say “he’s locked it from the inside, go around, go around”. It was hilarious.

I’ll buy the movie on DVD. I am sure I will watch it many times in the future. Heck, I might even dust off the books and give them another read. It might be a good thing to do with my son. To my friends, go watch it, I give it the Mojoey stamp of approval. To my enemies and Paster Brad – give it a pass.

Douglas Adams passed in 2001 – I was not blogging then, so I will say it now. So long and thanks for all the fish.

1 comment:

Johnny Crow said...

I have yet to see the movie, because I have been sick, but I will see it soon.

Anyway, I think they changed a bit of the things you mentioned much like adams changed the radio series from the book. Anyway, I am glad to hear it is not a complete mess of which I was dreading...