THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY


      I'm not going to tell you that this movie sucks, but it certainly wasn't good. I think part of my problem is that I finished the book hours before seeing the film and there is no way the thoughts and descriptions could be accurately conveyed into a 2 hour movie. Not that this should be a surprise. "The book is always better." So much stuff was cut out of the film for pacing reasons (I understand necessarily, but still), that some of it was hard to follow, or at least understand why something just happened. Normally, I wouldn't compare a movie to its book counterpart, but THGTTG has a huge cult following and has more to live up to than other adapted screenplays. Part of the delight of the book is it's language in describing why everything in the galaxy is the way it is. They do this quite well in the film, but not enough.

     It is supposed to be funny. Sadly, it is not. Sure, there is a chuckle here and there, but not nearly as amusing as the book. The actors show the effort, but the script just doesn't deliver. Some might be fine with it, but it's definitely not for everyone. In the opening scene, the movie declares that "humans are only the third smartest creatures on the planet, and dolphins, being the second smartest, have futilely been trying to warn people about the Earth's impending doom. When their warnings are misinterpreted as adorable aquatic antics, like jumping through hoops or trying to kick a football high in the air, they decide to save their own hides, and subsequently, all the dolphins disappear one day with the farewell of, 'So long, and thanks for all the fish.'" That pretty much sums up the type of offbeat comedy you can expect from the rest of the movie. If you groove to that, then you'll likely enjoy the rest of Hitchhiker's humor, despite the story's uneven pacing.

     The editing is far too frenzied; the plot jumps and lurches, and we never get a chance to engage with the characters. They are never really able to develop, and subsequently, the audience just doesn't really care about any of them. The frantic action keeps us watching, although it's exhausting--like watching a feature-length trailer. There are only a few scenes that manage to grab us, because they're the only ones allowed to develop - the best is Arthur and Slartibartfast's (the best actor and character in the film) trip through the warehouse, which brings up my positive point on the movie...

Visually stunning imagery
     The visuals and settings are gorgeous. From the spaceships exterior to their interior, from the planet locations to the "world-building warehouse," everything was stunning and colorful. A Terry Gilliam fun house with CGI capabilities. Even though I am all about puppets and real SFX over CGI characters, they need to look like aliens, not guys in halloween costumes with well done make-up. Malkovich's character was well-done, but completely unnecessary. I think he was added for star power, and to put something cool looking into the trailer. I did however like the character of Marvin. A "big-boned" manic depressive robot voiced by Alan Rickman.

     Anyway, I'm going to go out on a limb and say most of my readers will think this movie is ridiculous. And not ridiculous in a good way like Willy Wonka, it is ridiculous in a way like the "no-child left behind" act. I think fans will be excited about the film, but then sorely disappointed and depressed afterwards. Just read the book. It's not that long and far more enjoyable than the movie if you're into the above mentioned type of humor. If not, WAIT A MONTH AND SEE EPISODE III!!!



Links:
The official site
A positive fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes
Buy the book here
A rabid fan site







drewbacca@moviepatron.com