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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy   ...   movie reviews , spoiler_medium
sun 2005-may-01 11:24:52 pdt   ...   permalink

So friday night we went to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and naturally we brought our towels. As a long-time fan of the books, I of course had high hopes for the film version, though I tried not to set my expectations too high for fear of being disappointed.

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Most of the new elements were great: the Humma Kavula character (John Malkovich does a great job), the Point-of-View Gun, the recurring appearances of the Vogon bureaucrats, and so on -- all these things worked quite well. I also liked the handling of Zaphod's two heads and three arms. That could have used a bit more explanation, I suppose, but didn't really need it.

One change that I was less happy about was Trillian's interest in Arthur, which seemed fairly gratuitous -- like, you can't make a movie without the lead male character kissing the girl he's been after in the end. Her character development leading up to that was at least believable, it just made her not really the Trillian from the book. And I'm not complaining about unfaithfulness to the book here, I'm just saying it's gratuitous and Hollywood-ish; it didn't really seem to add much, and changes the dynamics, especially if they do a sequel. Then again, if it means Trillian will appear more in the sequel movies (assuming they make any) than she did in the books, maybe that's not a bad thing.

Of course every time something directly out of the book came up, I was thrilled to see it -- for example, several of the Guide entries, which Stephen Fry does a great job with. And Alan Rickman's voicing of Marvin is spot-on. The effects of the improbability drive, while not taken straight from the book, were brilliantly adapted to the screen. The part where they all turn into knitted puppets was perhaps my favorite scene of the movie.


So in the end I was not in the least disappointed. It not only lived up to my hopes, it actually exceeded them: I thought it was brilliantly done, and captures the spirit and humor of the books beautifully. My biggest complaint was simply that it ended too soon -- I wanted more.

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