Gregory G. H. Rihn (milwaukeesfs) wrote,
Gregory G. H. Rihn

Movies 2

Second-best of the summer SF/F movies so far is "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." It is different from prior versions of this story, just as every prior version has been different from all the others. (Which kind of cries out for a "good parts version" someday--.) All things considered, it is a loving adaptation, but not slavish, and it is hard to see where the work of Douglas Adams (who is given first credit as screen writer) leaves off and others took over after his death.

The movie starts off familiarly with the destruction of Earth and Arthur Dent's "rescue" by alien writer Ford Prefect. Of course, the rescue is into the clutches of the Vogons who, madly but appropriately enough all resemble Dickensian schoolmasters, (except for the shock troops who are all evidently female and costumed by someone with a rubber fetish, provided the rubber is from tractor tires). From there, of course, things go downhill, sideways and endways. If you know any of the versions of the story, the events will be familiar to you. If you don't it's a bit hard to describe.

The production is generally well-realized, with some beautiful elements and some clunky ones. Slarti Bartfast's workshop, visually, is worth the price of admission alone in my opinion. I can't find any credits for the two children who played Vroomfondle and Majikthis/the white mice, but casting them was a clever desision. On the other hand, the design of the "Heart of Gold" as a sterile white sphere disappoints. I must say that the solution to the problem of Zaphod Beeblebrox having two heads was handled creatively, but I'm still not sure it really works. The artifical legs of Humma Kavula (John Malkovich)are one of the creepiest effects you are likely to see this season.

Very nice performances by Martin Freeman as Arthur, Zooey Deschanel as Trillian, and brilliant voiceovers by Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman as "the book" and Marvin, respectively. (Warwick Davis did Marvin's on-screen acting.)

Highly recommended for fans of Adams and the story in its prior iterations. I'm afraid most other people won't get it.

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