The Null Device

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I finally got around to watching the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie.

For the most part, I enjoyed it. The new parts of the script, in many places did seem rather Douglas Adamsesque. The visual design and effects also worked rather nicely, giving the whole film a slightly cartoonish, Monty Pythonesque look. For the most part, the obvious concessions to the Hollywood story (the vogons becoming the main bad guys, as a film needs a villain, for example) were relatively unobstrusive, and the casting was quite apt. Except for two glaring flaws.

Firstly, the character of Trillian. In the books and other material, she was somewhat intelligent and rounded as a character. In the film, she is a vacuous bimbo; a shiny American-TV-show female character who looks and behaves as if she should have canned laughter after each of her one-liners, and, in actual personality, is little more than a plot device.

Which brings me to the second flaw: the way that Arthur's history with Trillian was fleshed out into a standard Hollywood romcom plotline, complete with schmaltzy dialogue (the scene about "the real answer" was cringeworthy), undoubtedly at the behest of some studio bean-counter insistent on following proven formulas to maximise audience appeal. I think the DVD should have come with an option to view a cut with the studio hacks' commercially-driven additions edited out (much like the Criterion box set of Brazil).

All in all, if one cauterises those memories from one's brain Zaphod-fashion, the film is quite enjoyable. I enjoyed it more than Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the other (and weaker) cool-stylised-pictures film of this year.

There are 5 comments on "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy":

Posted by: Levi Pinkus http:// Thu Dec 22 02:09:22 2005

The cameo by the real Marvin was nice (in the que at the Vogon office) - the new Marvin looked too much like an I-Pod for my taste.

But the Vogons were very nicely done I think.

Happy X-Mas and all that.

Posted by: Peter http://www.frogworth.com/blog/ Thu Dec 22 11:34:10 2005

I enjoyed it. I think your problems with it were indeed the genuine problems, although for what it's worth the actress playing Trillian was really cute. So as long as I didn't think of her as "really Trillian" I didn't mind.

Posted by: acb http://dev.null.org/ Thu Dec 22 12:22:28 2005

She seemed a bit too shiny and immaculately devoid of real personality, to be "cute" in my book.

Posted by: gjw http://the-fix.org Thu Dec 22 23:53:56 2005

My main problem was, I think, the ending. I can't be sure because I watched the movie 8 hours into a flight from Sydney to Los Angeles, and my mind was numb at the time anyway, but the end of the movie just collapsed into something that didn't resemble the book in the slightest. It felt like they were simply making sure they never had to film Restaurant at the End of the Universe.

Posted by: Paulo http:// Tue Dec 27 11:18:05 2005

I agree, the end is not a good one. On the overall, the entire movie kind of skims off the very spirit of Adams. I guess that's a usual fact with movies made from a book, especially with that kind of books which play on hard-to-show jokes. For instance, the vogon poetry reading scene which is way under the original narration.

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