42 and a Meme
After hearing about some rather mediocre reviews–I didn’t actually read any mediocre reviews or any reviews for that matter–I went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy without any sort of expectation. Of course, I ended up giggling madly at parts of it and I’m sure the small boy sitting next to me probably thought I totally lost it.
I knew about the Hitchhiker’s Guide ever since I started reading science fiction (when I was nine or ten), but for some reason or other I put off reading it until college. I suppose that green thingeemabob on the cover put me off as it looked like it belonged to a very bad retro computer game. I actually read Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul before I thought about picking up any of the Hitchhiker books.
As an undergrad in a university filled with geeks, it was inescapable to hear about the must read books of any true geek. Among those select books was the Hitchhiker’s Guide. Everyone seemed to positively adore the series. So I finally read it and the next two books. I liked the first book although I didn’t really see what the fuss was about, but it all went downhill in the subsequent novels.
I really liked the movie and it is worth an hour or two of fun (although some would believe me incapable of having any fun). The demographic of the movie audience had a surprising number of young boys of the not yet adolescent type, but also typically, far too few females (I had the impression that they were dragged to the movie by the rest of their families). And before the movie started, I had to listen to the conversation of two ultra-liberal men sitting behind me complaining about the lack of female astronauts and some bung-headed governor in Colorado denying morning after pills to rape victims.
Anyways, it is a given that no one can truly adapt a book to the movie screen, not even by an author himself. But one can surely try and I think Hitchhiker’s Guide is definitely a noble effort even if it offends purists. My only nitpicks are the casting of Zaphod Beeblebrox–who I had never imagined as a ditzy him-bo–and the romantic subplot which somewhat spoils Hitchhiker’s Guide‘s inherent wackiness.
What’s to love? The stylish animation for the Guide for one. It reminds me a bit of the retro style of Shag and it explains stuff for those not in the know without stooping to pedantic. The opening number is also quite fresh with its Broadway-esque “So long, and thanks for all the fish” as the dolphins leave earth after failing to communicate to man the imminent destruction of his planet. And who can forget, Alan Rickman’s deadpan voiceover for Marvin, the chronically depressed robot. I didn’t think Marvin sounded that way when I read the books, but the movie’s interpretation is definitely worth considering.
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