Saturday, November 19, 2005

Obscure Movie Review Of The Day: The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

First off, if you're a fan of the book, it's worth it to rent this movie just for the "Really, Really Deleted Scene." It features Arthur, Ford, and Zaphod bursting through a door like something out of an Ah-nuld film, and Arthur shouting, "The name's Dent! Arthur Dent! DO panic!" before firing off a few rounds.

What about everybody else in the world? Is this one for the fans, or will everybody love this one?

Well, I'm sorry to say, you'll probably find it a mixed bag. I definitely think you'll enjoy it, but if you're not a fan of the book you're not going to understand what the big deal was.

I think the movie's biggest weakness is how busy it constantly is. There's always something happening on the screen, and if there's not something funny happening, there are usually seven or eight things happening all at once to try to distract you from the fact that there's really nothing happening.

Part of the charm of the book was how understated everything was. In the book and radio play, the babel fish is a rather clever idea cleverly presented. Here, it's turned into an action scene--and I'm not talking about the Rube Golberg-esque action of the babel fish scene in the computer game. Arthur and Ford literally wrestle around for a while as Ford tries to get the fish into Arthur's ear.

Yeah, that's what I always loved about the Guide books. The wrestling.

Some of the new stuff absolutely works. I loved the Vogon home planet, Ford's nervous feeling that he ought to hug Arthur whenever he thinks Arthur's upset was terrific, and Trillian was absolutely delightful.

But Sam Rockwell played Zaphod so obnoxious that it almost made the movie obnoxious, and Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast was forever ruined way back when I first heard rumors that John Cleese was being considered for that role, so any performance would pale in comparison to the one I shall forever imagine could have been done by Cleese.

But all the best bits are there and a few good new ones. I can comfortably say that I still don't think the definitive H2G2 movie has been made, though, so there's a chance we still have that to look forward to someday in the future.

Oh, and my daughters enjoyed it.

At least, they keep asking to see the singing dolphins.

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