Saturday, April 30, 2005

Hitchhikers Guild to the Galaxy.

I went to see the movie. I really enjoyed it.

I really enjoyed the original mini-series (and the book So Long and Thanks for All the Fish) though it has been so long ago that I had forgotten all but a few elements. I was exposed to the peculiar conflagration of imagination that was Douglas Adams, including his work The Long Dark Tea Time of The Soul when I was a child and then as a teenager so while not all of it is available to my conscious memory, the Babel fish, the intelligent dolphins, and the hyper-dimensional mice are all swimming around up there in my subconscious. This may explain a bit. All of what I remember was in the movie, though I would have loved to have seen the rest of the story. I suppose I need to wait for the sequel(s)

Having forgotten so much of it, I was able to enjoy it as a completely new movie while being reminded of all the old details that I so loved. People who have watched the original mini-series many times or read the book over several times and those who always complain about having decent graphics put in to remakes (I thought the special effects were well used and not gratuitous) will probably complain about it but I found it to be a nice, weird, funny weird, science fiction movie that is delightfully weird in a weird sort of way. As someone who appreciates weird, weirdness and weirdosity I can say that it is refreshing to see my values finally presented on screen.

From what I have read about this new movie, they (Douglas Adams and those who collaborated and finalized it after his death) did not really try to make this a fan-specific remake but instead approached it as an opportunity to retell the story as if it had never been done using the tools of the modern time. While I didn't find the love interest to be all that necessary, it was not all that annoying either which was definitely a risk in plopping something like that in. To be truthful it did provide a means of giving Arthur Dent some depth in the short span of the movie where the mini-series had more time to develop him as a character. All in all, you really got the impression that the big budget aspect was successfully injected without resulting in Hollywoodification even if it did end on a high note which came dangerously close to being a happy ending, though with a nice bit of irony that the happy ending is an artificially manufactured one; manufactured for a purpose which had nothing to do with the lives of the characters and which ultimately was a failure. The happy ending is a byproduct of a complete cock-up. (Not your typical Hollywood warm-glow trash.) The story does have some significant twists near the end from what my memory recalls but I will leave those for the enjoyment of people who actually remember the old story in full.


At Sun. May 01, 12:56:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

As one that is of your generation (but still younger, ha) I missed this book first-hand, but did have friends who were fond of it. Two of which were the dueling braniacs in school…all the way through. One (the bastard) is a PhD in Bio-Chem, or some such and the other was killed by a drunken driver three days after his 20th birthday. I still recall from our youth that the latter would-from time to time-declare that “the answer is 43”.

My two sons (13 and 10) are looking forward to this flick. Is it appropriate for youngsters?

At Sun. May 01, 10:42:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

It is rated PG for thematic elements (I guess the vogons might scare very young children) action (I don't remember any real violence, just laser volleys and such and no gore) and mild language which I don't even remember. (Though since many of the cast are British you can never really tell when they swear. You may hear an occasional "Sod it all." which sounds more like ancient linguistics lessons than profanity.)

I think it is appropriate for their age range. It even reinforces the dangers of hitchhiking and why you should be wary about trusting talking animals.

The answer in the movie is actually 42 (it is finding the question that is the hard part) so either you got it wrong in your memory or your friend had figured out something fundamental about the universe that the movie overlooked.

At Sun. May 01, 11:12:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

Thanks for the info and I have no good reason to trust my memory.

As an off-topic aside, you’ve been given an honorable mention in my latest, which wades into your area of expertise.

At Mon. May 02, 03:50:00 p.m. 2005, Blogger Apesnake said...

Thanks for the mention, I enjoyed the post. In fact I might use my comments as a post with a link to your original article. I think I put so much palaver into my comment that I should sully my own site with it also.

At Tue. May 03, 02:14:00 a.m. 2005, Blogger Robert said...

T'was good stuff indeed.

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