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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Screening Reviews

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the marvin-i-love-you-marvin-i-love-you dept.

Movies 394

Doctor Monkey writes "Initial reviews are up at Ain't It Cool News from a 'work-in-progress' screening of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in Pasadena, CA. Reaction seems mixed-to-positive, mostly due to some uneven performances. But it looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of Adams' work."

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404 File Not Found (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507594)

Slashdot got b0rked.

Re:404 File Not Found (3, Funny)

whats_a_zip (743877) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507621)

Nice movie, thanks for the fish!

FP WOOT (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507601)

fp!

Michael you sick perv! (1)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507618)

from the marvin-i-love-you-marvin-i-love-you dept. Really, this must be the sickest dept line troll i've ever read.

Aside from that, i must say that the review was horrible. Too long, too many different font sizes used, too many "jokes" that weren't funny. Oh, and if you're referring to something "reported on before" (eg the problem with Zaphod's heads), then could you please give at least some hints as to what the "problem" might be?

Bah. Over and out.

AICN makes baby Jesus' eyes bleed! (2, Insightful)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507758)

AICN is like the epitome of craptacular, JeffK-style web "design".

Marvin, The Singing Android (1)

DLWormwood (154934) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507769)

Really, this must be the sickest dept line troll i've ever read.

You are hereby ordered to surrended your Geek license to your local authorities. The fact you didn't recognize a relevent novelty recording [hhgproject.org] is grounds for dismissal from Geekdom.

Re:Michael you sick perv! (1)

jlapier (739283) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507835)

They've added to the article, in the second half someone who has seen some of the screening reports:

How cheap? Cheap enough that the filmmakers use every trick in the book to NOT show Zaphod's two heads and third arm. They even go so far as to create an elaborate plot device which removes said head and arm for the entire second half of the film in what has to be the most latent attempt to save a buck I've ever seen on the big screen.

The rest of the review does not sound good - now I'm getting ready to be disappointed. DNA is probably rolling over in his asteroid....

Re:Michael you sick perv! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507841)

Um. The dept. line comes from a song concerning Marvin. The song even featured the actor that played Marvin in the original radio series.

Book to movie? (2, Interesting)

Quasar1999 (520073) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507622)

Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book? Some are satisfactory conversions... but I have never had one instance where a good book became a better movie...

Fight Club (3, Insightful)

trickster5378 (835600) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507660)

I watched the movie first and then read the book later. I couldn't believe how close the two were. And I honestly enjoyed the ending to the movie better than the ending to the book. (The only thing that was really changed).

Re:Fight Club (4, Interesting)

Ender Ryan (79406) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507781)

The author of the book even liked the movie better. I forget where I read that... Either somewhere on the special edition DVD, or the book.

Either way, both were great, and the film is a good example of a book to film adaptation done right.

Re:Book to movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507674)

Ok, I know this is going to start a flamewar, but...

Off the top of my head, I'll say the Lord of the Rings trilogy. I found the movies significantly more enjoyable than the books. (The books were very good, but the movies were better, in my opinion.)

I'm sure there are millions who agree, and just as many millions who disagree though.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

fxer (84757) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507778)

I'd have to agree. My roomate was crazy for the books, and crazy for the movies. I read the books, but could never really get into them. The movies had and still have me hooked!

I guess either I just don't have a good imagination, or the movies really distilled the essense of the books.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

Jane_Dozey (759010) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507877)

The books are fantastic...but only if you DO get into them.
I can see where you're coming from though. There's a lot of faffing around in parts of the books while the films just keep the momentum going.
IMHO they did a great job with the films, but I wouldn't call them better than the books. Even, maybe.

Re:Book to movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507914)


I was going to suggest that everyone search old Slashdot posts before starting a flamewar; I know they exist, and flamefests can be boring and repetetive to those who've BTDT already.

But the search through comments is taking forever at the moment; heavy server load, I guess.

Re:Book to movie? (2, Insightful)

daniil (775990) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507675)

Breakfast at Tiffany's. Both the book and the movie were great. Trainspotting. A Clockwork Orange. 2001: A Space Odyssey -- the movie was (IMO) better than the book. Blade Runner. And so on.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

Neil Watson (60859) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507849)

The book 2001 was actually written after the movie. Kubric had the initial idea for the movie and asked Clarke to help him write it. I found the book offered a better explaination of why Hal when mad.

Roger Rabbit,? (3, Informative)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507688)

"Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book"

Here's one: "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (adapted from "Who Censored Roger Rabbit")

Re:Book to movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507692)

Bladerunner. And (I hate to say this but) the Lord of the Rings was not so bad...

Re:Book to movie? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507779)


Bladerunner was based on a PKD short story called "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" not a full length book if memory serves.

Re:Book to movie? (0)

log0n (18224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507697)

Harry Potter 3 was as good as the book (best of the 3 films so far).

Re:Book to movie? (1)

kin_korn_karn (466864) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507859)

David Thewlis should have gotten an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. That was some great work by him in that movie.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

learn fast (824724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507716)

Most movies don't turn out that great. Movies based on books don't suck any more than the average, but the only difference is that they have higher expectations set on them.

As for the Hitcherhiker's Guide movie, Adams himself worked on the script before his tragic and untimely passing, so it can't by definition be a bastardization of his work, since it is in part his work.

Re:Book to movie? (4, Insightful)

rackhamh (217889) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507721)

Shawshank Redemption.

Okay, it was a novella, not a book, but how many people had heard of the story before the movie? Both the story and the movie were quite good, IMO.

Actually, the fact that the original story was a novella probably helped a lot, since the movie was able to include pretty much the whole story. When you try to convert a full-length book, a lot gets left out by necessity.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507792)

Yeah, and by Stephen King, no less. You can probably argue that the majority of the movies adapted from his works (that were released in theaters anyway) were superior to the book.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

rjelks (635588) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507949)

I think the exact opposite. I can't think of a single example other than Shawshank ...(maybe The Shining), where to movie was better than the book.

Pet Cemetery? Cujo? The Dark Half? The Dead Zone? The Stand?

The most recent disappointment was Dreamcatcher. The movie was awful, but I really enjoyed the book. I suppose it's all personal opinion anyway.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

Mournblade (72705) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507871)

"The Shining".

Re:Book to movie? (1)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507900)

Yupp, mod parent up.

The book lacked any finesse what-so-ever. In the movie the 'Hero' got rich by shoving all his money upp his ass before he went to jail.

Movie: He stole it from the 'evil' warden.

Re:Book to movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507723)

War of the Worlds. Ok, it was a short story, but still. H.G. Wells had some good ideas, but his writing was definitely lacking.

War of the Worlds movie: terrible (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507786)

While George Pal's "Time Machine" film is more than respectible, his "War of the Worlds" movie is awful. It replace the scary tripods from the book with awful Jetsons-style vacuum cleaners.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

centauri (217890) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507726)

What are your criteria for "better"? I thought Disclosure was a better movie than a book, because it left out a lot of excess characterization. It's possible you thought both book and movie were poor, though, so perhaps this isn't a good example.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

Peldor (639336) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507728)

Gone with the Wind
The Godfather
Dune (ok, maybe that's a -5 Troll, but I liked it)

Being There!! (1)

Mothra the III (631161) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507734)

Great Jerzey Kosinski book and awesome performance by Peter Sellers in the movie.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

grub (11606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507742)


Deep Throat. Oh wait,I'm not sure if that was a book...

Re:Book to movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507746)

"Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book?"

A Clockwork Orange.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

startling (717697) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507748)

Yeah, and can anyone give examples of when a radio play converted to a book that was anywhere near as good as the radio play? Erm, except for HHGG, of course.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

INSSOMNIAK (12036) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507750)

Empire magazine did an article on this once. I think the conclusion was that The Godfather was the best adaptation of a book, better than the book even as they thought the book was junk.

Haven't read it myself.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

SlimFastForYou (578183) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507783)

I wonder how a movie of HHGTTG could surpass the book. It just seems that there are things you read about which would be difficult to depict in the movie. How would they depict Vogon poetry for example? If it's supposed to make ears bleed and victims gouge out their eyes, would it be played to the audience? (I doubt anything Hollywood comes up with would have the same effect.. knock on wood)

Still, I'll probably go see it.

Re:Book to movie? (4, Funny)

Kiryat Malachi (177258) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507896)

If it's supposed to make ears bleed and victims gouge out their eyes, would it be played to the audience? (I doubt anything Hollywood comes up with would have the same effect.. knock on wood)

Obviously you have never seen Waterworld.

Re:Book to movie? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507790)

The Shining. That's the answer I've given to everyone who asks this question.

Harry Potter (1)

glrotate (300695) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507796)

Having recently reread and reviewed the Philosopher's Stoned I'd have to say I found the movie to be a nearly flawless adaptation of the book. Great casting, direction and cinematography.

Re:Book to movie? (5, Funny)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507807)

Passion of the Christ.

Oh wait..

Re:Book to movie? (1)

Pentagram (40862) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507815)

Jurassic Park. The film wasn't exactly a masterpiece, but the book was a pile of crap.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

falzer (224563) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507829)

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was very well done in my opinion.

Better as a movie? TPB! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507831)

The Princess Bride was, oh, so much better as a movie than it is as a book. The book reminds me of an overlength /. whine. ;)

Re:Better as a movie? TPB! (1)

BridgeBum (11413) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507874)

The book was enjoyable, it wasn't that bad. But I do agree, the movie was (much) better.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

IncarnadineConor (457458) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507833)

Fight club.

In the book the division between Tyler and the main character was far less disctinct, and the introduction of tyler was less stylish. A great deal of the same dialouge remains in the movie, and while the ending was toned down slightly from the book, it was still on the same level.

I much preffer the movie.

This is really radio to movie (3, Informative)

rufusdufus (450462) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507834)

Hitchhickers guide was originally a radio program. The books are derived from the radio scripts.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507844)

Hunt For Red October. It's my undestanding that there's so much boring detail in the book that you could probably actually operate a nuclear submarine after reading it.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

AlphaJoe (798014) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507850)

Misery. The only really good adaptation I have seen.

The Rainmaker (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507863)

The Rainmaker movie with Matt Damon was just as good as the book.

As TFA article says, the one with the Ring thingy (0)

texasfight (833973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507870)

As the author of the Hitchiker review says:
I expected the worst. I mean, when was the last time Hollywood took a beloved property and turned it into something just as special? Oh, right, that fruity dwarf and wizard movie. I never cared much for those books in the first place.
The movies were far superior to the books by that Tolkien guy.

Re:As TFA article says, the one with the Ring thin (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507915)

> The movies were far superior to the books by that Tolkien guy.

I wonder if you've even read anything by "that Tolkien guy"?

Re:Book to movie? (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507888)

The Right Stuff.
Hey the movie was almost as long as the book, but
the book was a little too long.

Not applicable (3, Informative)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507895)

Douglas Adams seems to have looked at everything as a work in progress. His attitudes are generally the opposite of the tendency that many folks have to "canonize" works. "The Hitchhikers Universe" is really a Multi-verse like Adams tried to portray in "Mostly Harmless." The book he wrote was different from the earlier radio show he wrote and the movie (he helped write) will be different from the book and the radio show. Different, not wrong, incorrect or inaccurate. And if it turns out to be bad, it can be just bad (or not great) without that judgment carrying any moral connotations.

I can't really think of any parallels that match very well. The closest thing I can think of is the way old (pre 1900) folk songs used to 'mutate' or be adapted to suit the new singer(s). Lyrics would change, rhythms would change. The new way of singing it wasn't a 'wrong' way, just different. And the artist was able to make a new statement and connect with his audience. This hasn't happened much since the dawn of strong copyrights. The very unusual aspect of H2G2 is that it's the original artist who's doing the adaptations.

I for one hope it's a great film. I don't, and in many ways am glad, expect it to be the book pulled out of my imagination and put on screen. If Disney messes it up, it won't ruin the books for me.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

smileyy (11535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507897)

Requiem for a Dream. Aronofsky's visual style and Clint Mansell's music were brilliant.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

iamsure (66666) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507907)

Firestarter.

The *only* substantial change was in who they contacted to break the story at the very end. In almost every other item, it was word-for-word accurate with the excellent book.

Christine was fairly close as well.

While Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory wasnt THE SAME as the book series, it was true to the spirit, and imho, was definitely "near as good" as the books.

YMMV.

Re:Book to movie? (2, Insightful)

oirtemed (849229) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507917)

A book and a movie are APPLES and ORANGES. Anyone who whines or cries about how it ruins the book, or isn't the same, is really missing the whole point. Books and movies are two different forms of art. With the restrictions of movies, one cannot accomplish everything a book can. The reverse is also true as there are things that can be done via film that pure text cannot accomplish. If you can't appreciate a movie as a seperate entity than the book, then I pity you. How could you even measure whether the book or movie was "better"? I just really don't see that you can -or- should, they are too vastly different to even truly compare. Consider Luhrmann's Romeo and Juliet. Very poppy, very much infused with modern themes and music and yet it is quite a work in it's own right. Is it as good as Willy the Shakes original? No. Is it the author's intention? Even new critical theorists would say no ;) But still, it is quite enjoyable and is independent from the existence of the original play.

Re:Book to movie? (1)

L. VeGas (580015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507934)

Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book? Some are satisfactory conversions... but I have never had one instance where a good book became a better movie...

I could probably name several without even breaking a sweat.
Howzabout...

The Godfather

Apocalypse Now (based on Heart of Darkness)

Herbie Goes Bananas (based on Herbie Hancock: Tortured Genius)

Pi (which apparently was based not even on a book but on an actual number)

Jenna Does Everyone (great viewing, boring reading)

The Passion of The Christ (the book is okay, but kind of preachy)

Re:Book to movie? (1)

Antonymous Flower (848759) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507939)

People who have read the books are likely to be disappointed. They enter the theatre with some nostalgic notion to the way they felt when they read the books. The movie isn't for them, though. It is for those people who've never heard of the book series. Think Lord of the Rings.

Re:Book to movie? (2, Informative)

Amadawn (43796) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507954)

Neil Jordan's adaptation of "Interview with the Vampire" with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and even Kristen Dunsk was MUCH better than the Anne Rice's book!

I saw the movie first and I thought "that must be a great book". So I read it and I was very disappointed. Anne Rice has a great imagination but she just can't write (IMVHO). The book seemed slow and barroque (in the worst possible way) compared to the movie.

I must confess that I read the book in Spanish so perhaps the translation was not very good though...

Re:Book to movie? (1, Insightful)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507957)

Contact and Hunt For Red October, are both better movies than books. Probably because the books were not written by particularly talented writers.

Not a complete Battlestardization? (2, Funny)

serutan (259622) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507629)

Good to know some studio exec didn't decide that the answer should be 43.

For those interested the BBC radio version is available on various p2p systems. Pretty good I think.

toys and such from the movie (3, Informative)

spoonyfork (23307) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507631)

Here's a linky [chud.com] to the toys and office products from the movie. Marvin looks too cute and I want one of those mugs!

that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (3, Insightful)

ed.han (444783) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507641)

michael quoth: "looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of adams' work."

this is actually IMHO the best a fan should ever hope for WRT film adaptations of a cherished book/series/whatever.

ed

Re:that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (1)

learn fast (824724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507774)

Being that Adams himself worked on the movie before he died, it can't by definition be a bastardization of his work. Since the movie itself falls under the category of "his work." Unless you consider it to be a bastardization of itself, but for that you would get a recursion error.

Re:that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507795)

Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know the only book that has not been bastardized by hollywood was "Jurasic Park". Even if the book was changed somewhat (say, the raptors) IMO it was generally for the better.

For any other book, I don't know of a good port that was done. And "Star Ship Troopers" still gives me nightmares about the terible bastardization they did with it. (If I ever get my hands on whoever did the screen play...)

Re:that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (1)

weez75 (34298) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507931)

I'm sorry to say that "Jurassic Park" was a bastardization of the book even if Michael Crichton was involved. The book posed John Hammond as much more selfish and greedy than the movie. There was a missing t-rex, aviary, raptor escape, river raft scene, Hammond's death, etc. Even the heart of the book's ending was just dead wrong in the movie.

Now that said, the film turned out very well but it might have well been called something other than "Jurassic Park." Still I prefer the book.

Deviating from a book isn't always bad...as others have pointed out.

Re:that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (1)

stimpy (11763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507938)

crap piled upon crap...
http://www.moviesonline.ca/film38.htm

Re:that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (1)

StalinsNotDead (764374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507940)

And "Star Ship Troopers" still gives me nightmares about the terible bastardization they did with it.

Have you seen the sequel [sonypictures.com] ?

Re:that isn't damning by faint praise, either... (1)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507820)

I agree. I don't think a movie version can ever really live up to the books in this case, due to the style of humor and whatnot. However, I think the demand was so high, and people had been waiting so long, that this movie simply HAD to be made, just to get it done. Whether it sucks or not, at least it was made, something like 25 years after the idea was first floated.

Looks bad to me. (1)

AtariAmarok (451306) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507644)

I have to admit I was one of those turned off by the first still I saw: the awful looking Marvin that looked like a pokemon. Whatever the visual flaws of the old BBC production, I thought the clunky boxy look of the Paranoid Android was perfect. This new one makes "Twikki" from Buck Rogers seem like Robby the Robot in comparison. I also read that they got rid of Zaphod's extra head and put it on his tongue. Hope that is a wild rumour.

Nose, not tongue (1)

JLavezzo (161308) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507684)

I read an article somewhere saying it was in his nose. The reason for it was tied up with the Church of the great green archelsneezer or whatever that is...

I'll stick to the old BBC version. (1)

bobalu (1921) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507921)

I thought it was just perfect... doesn't need to be re-done.

Marvin (0, Offtopic)

Juiblex (561985) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507648)

Marvin, agora é só voce, e não vai adiantar, chorar vai te fazer... sofrer...

Adams wrote it (2, Insightful)

FunWithHeadlines (644929) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507649)

"But it looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of Adams' work."

Since Adams wrote the script from his own books, that's not too surprising. The acting, who knows? But unless they wanted to deliberately destroy the approved script, it would stand to reason that it would have the usual Adams touch. A touch that has worked in print and on radio, so here's hoping it works in film.

smart (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11507650)

I like your brain.

tv spots (4, Funny)

Gunark (227527) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507666)

"not a complete bastardization of Adams' work" -- Doctor Monkey ... wonder if they'll use that one in the TV commercials.

Here's the BBC Series (4, Informative)

pdhenry (671887) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507680)

In other news, the BBC series is available on Netflix [netflix.com] .

Re:Here's the BBC Series (1)

James Crid (568495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507950)

...which WAS a complete bastardisation of Adams's work. Even Adams agreed.

Article Text as /. vacine (0, Redundant)

texasfight (833973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507703)

Xhixen thumbs an early ride to a test screening of HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY and declares it 'Mostly Terrific!!' Hey folks, Harry here with the very first film review of HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY - now both Moriarty and Quint were going to attempt to break into this screening all undercover style, and I've yet to hear if they've succeeded or not. On other news - CHUD has images of the toys we'll all be getting soon enough! Note: the following review will try in every way possible to avoid making cliche jokes using references such as "Don't Panic," "42," or "Pangalactic Gargle Blaster." Please ignore the previous self-aware occurrences of these terms. Hello folks. I just returned home after an evening in Pasadena, where I had the privilege to see a screening of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I must admit that as a slightly-more-than-casual fan of the original works -- I read the first three books of the trilogy years ago and have listened to the radio serial -- I expected the worst. I mean, when was the last time Hollywood took a beloved property and turned it into something just as special? Oh, right, that fruity dwarf and wizard movie. I never cared much for those books in the first place. Rings aside, I'm happy to report that at least 75% of the things I liked about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were preserved in this movie. I won't bore you with a rehashing of the story of The Hitchhiker's Guide, as everyone reading this knows "the answer" by now. Rather than beginning with the imminent demolition of one Arthur Dent's flat (a la the book), the movie starts with a musical number (hold your groans) recounting the dolphins' escape from the planet Earth. It rather nicely sets the tone for those who go into the movie not knowing what to expect. Still, the fact that the film immediately deviated from the book had me a bit uneasy. However, after the destruction of the Earth (oops, did I spoil something?) the credits began to roll with some odd, spacey banjo picking. When the title appeared along with a remixed version of the amazingly ridiculous Eagles song from the radio series, most of my concern was alleviated. It was obvious that the filmmaker's intent was to preserve all of the quirky appeal that has made the series so enduring. Visually, the movie was absolutely perfect. The entire scene of Earth's destruction felt like it came straight out of my imagination. And oh what a joy it was to see The Guide itself unfurl. While it was really no more than a glorified Flash animation on a laptop, the animation was executed with great wit and respect for Adams' sense of humor. Narratives from The Guide were interjected throughout the movie, just as in the book/radio series, and always drew a big laugh. The Heart of Gold, and its shift into improbability (by transforming into various improbable objects) was also well conceived. I really have a hard time finding anything not to appreciate about the visual design of the film, except perhaps for the previously reported liberties taken with Zaphod's two heads. Unfortunately that was not the only fault I found with Zaphod and some of the other characters. Most of the aforementioned 25% disappointment with this adaptation comes from the downright painful portrayals of some of the characters. Not surprisingly, most of the British actors were spot on (especially Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent). However, I had huge issues with Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, and to a lesser extent, Sam Rockwell. I don't know if there is an intrinsically wry sense of humor that comes with hailing from England (must have something to do with the weather), but a lot of the lines from the American actors just fell flat. Mos Def really lacked the requisite wit and charisma that defined Ford Prefect. I also found Deschanel's Trillian simply uninteresting. Speaking of Trillian, needless to say, the arc of her and Arthur falling for each other felt really out of place and was entirely gratuitous. The ending also felt slightly rushed and, if I recall correctly, largely departed from the book. But really, these tamperings ought to be expected from a big budget movie. Overall I found the film's tone to be incredibly faithful to the book. Don't allow the uneven acting and minor inconsistencies to detract from your anticipation of this movie. The Heart of Gold was great. Arthur's tour of Earth v2.0 with Slartibartfast was great. The Vogons (and their planet) were great. Deep Thought was great. The sperm whale's existential crisis via free-fall was great. To paraphrase The Guide itself, this film was Mostly Terrific. Hey folks - Harry here again -- since I posted the above I've talked with a good deal of AICN spies that got into the screening - including Moriarty and Quint. Director Garth Jennings was at the screening along with producer Jay Roach. The whole point about this screening was to get feedback to see what was working so far and where they have to go on this. Roach loves to test screen and tinker, and there's evidently a lot more work everyone wants to do to make this thing great. Remember - these folks have seen a film minus 20 minutes or so, minus a finished score, final editing (which is king on comedy timing). Moriarty loved the test print I hear, Quint mostly loved it and others at the screening liked it but were concerned how it would play with others. Here's one of those folks... If a far flung and spatially displaced copy of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy were to have the good fortune to fall through a time warp and land at your feet, it might have the following to say about the forthcoming Disney adaptation of Douglas Adams' celebrated novel with the same title.....WARNING: THIS MOVIE IS MOSTLY HARMLESS. That's right's folks: PANIC. Out of some oblique sense of honor to the market research firm who conducted the test screening I attended this evening, I'll leave the most of the spoilers out of the review (most) and focus my thoughts on the big picture. And when it comes to the story of Arthur Dent and company, it's a really, really, big picture. The main problem plaguing the film is that it can't seem to settle on a tone, both in terms of the physical look of the film and of the story it's trying to convey. At times a Hensonian creature-shop fantasy, at times a flashy, computer-generated adventure and at times a mod-looking, retro, sci-fi romp, it wants to be all things to all people. It wants to be popular and accessible by Hollywood standards and yet somehow faithful to the idiosyncratic and whimsical stylings of Douglas Adams and by extension the readers who love him. The problem is the end result is ineffectual and structurally confusing. We spend a few hours careening around the galaxy but we're never really sure who to root for or whether it even matters. The film establishes little in the way of point of view and though the spirit of Adams' universe seems to be present, the soul is nowhere to be found. Also, the film looks oppressively cheap. It has similar looking effects budget to Disney's "Around the World in Eighty Days," which, as many of you may know caused the corpse of Jules Verne to spin with enough velocity to power The Nautilus submarine for a month. In other words, cheap. How cheap? Cheap enough that the filmmakers use every trick in the book to NOT show Zaphod's two heads and third arm. They even go so far as to create an elaborate plot device which removes said head and arm for the entire second half of the film in what has to be the most latent attempt to save a buck I've ever seen on the big screen. The Vogans are something out of The Dark Crystal but once the camera backs away from the expressive and wholly creative faces of these nasty beings, we see a group of lumbering puppets with little range of motion. Marvin on the other hard is splendid with his depressed bobble-head stature and sad, glowing eyes. The droll voicing by Alan Rickman is spot-on and is one of the highlights of the film. Other creatures don't fare as well though and we see slipshod aliens in the periphery throughout as well as a scene in a bar with a cast of extras who make the aliens in the Star Wars Cantina look cutting edge. Some might argue that these design elements look bad on purpose, that the film isn't taking itself too seriously. The problem though is that blending these bargain-basement physical effects with expensive scenery here-and-there make the context of the world of the film hard to digest. It is perhaps worth noting that this film has been in development for almost two decades and it's possible and, in this reviewers opinion, likely that Adam's vast and flip universe is genius best left on the page. And perhaps it's unfair to be so hard on the filmmakers since adapting a book which is so incidental in its attitude to all manner of mind-bending catastrophes, can't be easy, but then again I'm not sure these are the right folks for the job. Another glance at that indispensable compendium of bohemian-interstellar travel lying at your feet would offer up the following resume of the film's director, Garth Jennings: EARTHMAN. APE -DESENDANT. ONLY PREVIOUS DIRECTORIAL EXPERIENCE WAS ON MUSIC VIDEOS AND AS A TITLE DESIGNER ON DA ALI G SHOW. APPEARED AS A ZOMBIE IN SHAUN OF THE DEAD. Enough said? The other human-units who appear in the film are as strange a cast as one could imagine. Martin Freeman seems up to the challenge of Arthur Dent with his dry, British sensibilities and humane yet bewildered style. Mos Def is something of a disaster as Ford Prefect since watching someone try so hard to be naturally cavalier gets tiring after the first act. You'll either adore or loathe Sam Rockwell as Zaphod since he's channeling President Bush, Elvis and half the cast of Dazed and Confused all at once. I for one thought he was sort of spectacular and he at least took my eyes away from some of the sets. Zooey Deschanel revives her role as the sort-of-likeable / sort-of-creepy / sort-of-not-appropriate-but-maybe-she-is girl which she also played in Elf. She's steely and distant like much of the film and it's difficult to really pull for her and Arthur since we're too busy wondering whether or not anyone is going to bother to explain some of the major plot points and why Martin Freeman is the only English person in England. It's not all bad news. In addition to Rockwell, Marvin and a few purely Adams touches and geeks-only jokes which will have you smilingly with glee, Magrathea is astonishingly rendered and Bill Nighy breathes a heartbeat into the film with his touching portrayal of Slartibartfast. The Heart of Gold also looks magnificent but nobody takes the time to tell us much about it. Sadly, Zaphod's integral back-story is also glossed over and there is an additional and barely sensible scene with John Malkovich (penned by Adams himself) which will have you checking into a sanatorium. As for The Hitchhiker's Guide appearing in the film, don't hold your breath. The Intergalactic Fodors pops up from time to time to provide a quick laugh or deliver some badly needed exposition but isn't really given its due as the coolest book never written. Speaking of which, The Guide describes humans as the THIRD most intelligent species on the planet which must be true since I can't think of a dolphin or a mouse that would shell out $10 to see this Galaxy. Marvin's repeated insistence that "this will all end in tears," is side-splittingly funny though ultimately ironic since by the end of the film we find that tears would at least mean we'd been engaged. In point of fact, it all just sort of ends, tearless and meandering. Incidentally, The Guide also describes humans as so primitive that we still think digital watches are a pretty neat idea and I can confirm that fact since I glanced at mine repeatedly during the film.

i dont want to ruin the plot but (5, Funny)

acousticnoise (854269) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507718)

It's 42

Re:i dont want to ruin the plot but (1)

Peldor (639336) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507770)

I'm sorry, I must not have been paying attention... What was the Question, again?

Re:i dont want to ruin the plot but (4, Funny)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507945)

Sorry to disappoint. Hollywood didn't think "42" was a cool enough of an answer. The full answer is now, "Two lesbians in 69." And I should also point out that the answer is delivered by Pauly Shore's "Weasel" character.

In related news... (3, Informative)

hollismb (817357) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507730)

There's also a fairly good Q&A with the film-makers at Coming Soon! [comingsoon.net] . It's hard to take much of what you read at AintItCool seriously, when you consider that the guy reviews movies from the standpoint of a five year old at best.

Look out, George Lucas... (2, Funny)

clontzman (325677) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507766)

How long until the cries of "Garth Jennings raped my childhood" begin?

AICN (3, Insightful)

Skyshadow (508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507768)

The thing about AICN is that they're complete and utter jibbering idiots.

They routinely give lousy movies glowing reviews ("Freddy vs Jason was top-notch fashizzle!"). Some of it I can understand -- these folks like movies and get excited about them, so they're more optomistic in their reviews. Fine, whatever, what still doesn't mean anyone should ever listen to one of their reviews. Ever,

The only usefulness I ever, *ever* get out of them is in determining which movies are at the absolute bottom of the heap. If AICN says that a movie's bad (or gives it "mixed reviews"), that generally means it's so god awful that St. Peter will keep me out of heaven when I die when he finds me carrying the ticket stub.

Impossible to bastardize (3, Insightful)

nganju (821034) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507785)

"But it looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of Adams' work."

Since the original radio scripts were substantially different from the books, and the books were substantially different than the TV special, there really hasn't been any single consistent version of the story line.

Actually, since incessant change is the only thing that is consistent, the only way to not bastardize the spirit of the original story is to substantially change it.

Re:Impossible to bastardize (1)

Frobisher (677079) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507898)

Not sure from reading your post, but just to clarify...
Radio came first
Then books
Then TV
(and stageplay)
More books
New radio adaptions of the "more books"
Movie

who cares? (-1, Troll)

man_ls (248470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507801)

I realize his works have something of a cult following, but to be honest with you, I absolutely hated Hitchhiker's Guide so much, I stopped reading it half-way through. It was just so inane, in my opinion.

I, for one, won't be going to see the film, either.

Re:who cares? (1)

de1orean (851146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507919)

yeah, but you believe in free ipods.

HA haaaa!

-nelson

In case you don't grog two-headed Zaphod ref: (0, Redundant)

texasfight (833973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507804)

It was previously reported that his second head is in his nostril.

If that still does not help you either insert your babelfish or move along to the next thread...

Set faces to stun (1)

dswensen (252552) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507805)

Whoa, a Hollywood adaptation of a beloved sci-fi classic disappoints and robs the original of most of its joy?

This is my shocked face. :|

I was.. (1)

Turn-X Alphonse (789240) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507822)

I was going to read the article.. but then I remembered the last HHGG stuff on AICN and decided against it.

No matter what they say it'll probably be completely wrong if not down right lies.

how can it NOT be a complete bastardization.... (1)

de1orean (851146) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507867)

... with a one-headed, two-armed zaphod beeblebrox [chud.com] ????

oh, wait. i just RTFA.

that said, i love the plushies.

Re:how can it NOT be a complete bastardization.... (4, Informative)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507948)

since when did Marvin have a gun????

huh? (2, Interesting)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507876)

it's possible and, in this reviewers opinion, likely that Adam's vast and flip universe is genius best left on the page.

Uh, don't you mean best left on the radio?

Ok, to be fair, the TV series was kind of bad, and some humor works a lot better in print than you can do on the radio. But this is sort of a unique adaptation in that the subject matter has already been adapated into every form imaginary. It's not like a crappy movie based on a Tom Clancy book, where the entire plot is changed because a movie about middle eastern terrorists nuking the Super Bowl would be insensitive.

The movie would have turned out better if DNA had spent the entire filming sitting next to the director and changing the script on the fly. Wanker reviewers who've only read the book would complain about details being changed, but major changes happened between the radio series and the books and they just made things better. Bah.

People you have to remember (1)

Tebriel (192168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507905)

No version of the guide is consistant with another. Why the film should follow the book exactly when DNA himself, in early versions, deviated from it liberally, is beyond me.

and this is news because? (3, Insightful)

amnesiaWind (613053) | more than 9 years ago | (#11507929)

i'm a fan of Adams' work, but i hardly think some random opinion of a movie that isn't even finished yet is news worthy...
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