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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.

Call me J

Readers Talkback
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  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:40 a.m. CST

    I'm so lost about Zaphod's fucking heads.

    by user id indeed!

    Are there two heads, a head in a nostril, on his neck, what the hell is going on? I've heard about ten different versions of what they're doing.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:40 a.m. CST

    Here's hoping...

    by Charlie & Tex

    ...they've done Doug proud.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 3:34 a.m. CST

    Marvin has a...GUN?

    by MaxCalifornia.

    Check out the CHUD link. Marvin has a Gun? What the hell? Is he now a bad-ass wisecracking killer robot? I can see it now : "Life. Don't talk to me about life, motherfucker, or I'm gonna cap yo' ass". And the action figure of Zaphod looks disturbingly metrosexual. Anyway, nice review, 75% faithful is probably about as good as we can hope for. I'm not surprised to hear that Mos Def is lame as Ford. Kinda surprised that Rockwell didn't hit the mark, I thought he'd be a perfect fit for Zaphod. Oh well, we shall see...

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 3:56 a.m. CST

    My deep thoughts:

    by moviemaniac-7

    "The sperm whale's existential crisis via free-fall was great." I always wondered how they were going to handle this, if at all! Glad to read they did, and appearantly they did great! As much as I want to see this movie - it's in my top 5 of most anticipated movies of 2005 - I wonder how good you can transfer the genius of Adams' writing style to the screen. Hopefully they did a fantastic job - and given the site of these guys and the content, I have faith they did.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 3:58 a.m. CST

    You do realise we aren't all white over here, right?

    by elab49

    Not to mention the American accents in the TV series. So that would hardly be the issue. So maybe it was genuinely the performances?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 4:16 a.m. CST

    Oh man, this sounds even more like crap.

    by AnnoyYou

    It doesn't matter how much spin you guys put on it -- this film sounds like an utter disaster. Cheesy production values that are like those in the execreble "Around The World In 80 Days?" The actors playing Ford, Trillian and Zaphod giving weak, unfunny, flat, weird (and not in a good way) performances? The whale's 30 seconds of life the only worthwhile sequence in the film? Martin Freeman's Arthur being the only British man in Britain? Yeah, sounds like a great adaptation, folks. I bet loads of people will queue up to see this one.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 4:22 a.m. CST

    Alright I've got a question...

    by Duck_of_SII

    ...so basically this is all I want to know. Is the puppetering as good as say The Dark Crystal...or is it more along the lines of Tv Fun House? Just remember...if it's like TV Fun House that could always be fun! :) By the way I haven't had the chance to read the novels...but going off the pictures released...this film seems to have enough quirky attitude to draw a good crowd.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 4:28 a.m. CST

    how about

    by ScaryJim

    we go and see the film and THEN bitch about it instead of worrying what 2 people thought :0) I always thought this sort of film should have a cheap BBC tv series kind of look anyway - the book relys on characters ad situations not crazy MIB style aliens made on a computer.. i mainly just hope arthur Dent works - The second reviewer doesn't even sound like he has read the book- people truly underestimate the power of a good puppet too . Tell me one CGI character that had more personality than a muppet ?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 4:35 a.m. CST

    If the flick seems kind of meandering and ill-focused, the 1st b

    by Tall_Boy

    Buncha stuff happens / random funny things inserted therin. The real crackerjack book for me is "LIFE, THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING" where I think it really fires with comedy and plot actually working together. I'm just hoping for Adams spirit and tone to shine through in this adaptation, that'll be fine for me.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 6:08 a.m. CST

    I have a bad feeling about this ...

    by Shan

    First off they leave out the start where Arthur's house is going to be demolished? That part was really funny, the irony of Arthur trying to stop the demolition of his house while at the same time the Vogons are trying to demolish the Earth ... the bit with the bulldozer, the scenes in the pub and Ford cheerfully telling the barman that nothing he'll do will make any difference ... all of that was a great lead in to ending up on the Vogon spaceship ... And they left all that out???? Some of the other things I hear from this are also starting to make me feel just a bit unnerved about the whole enterprise ...

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 6:37 a.m. CST

    Just to let the ill-informed know....

    by Big_Bubbaloola

    the sequence of the whole Hitchhikers saga was: first it was a fantastic radio play, then book, then tv series, then more books, and now a film. Dont care what anyone thinks, sounds like they have room to tighten it up, so could blow everyones doors off yet!! Also, its only a film. You have a very limited run time, compared to a pretty large radio series!

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 6:51 a.m. CST

    coogan should have played ford prefect

    by vicious_bastard

    Such a unique book was never going to translate that well into one film. Lessons will hopefully be learned for 'Good Omens' if it ever happens. I still have some hope for HHGTG though. Maybe remaking the TV series would have been a better idea - the story needs multiple episodes. Too much to take in all at once.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 7:03 a.m. CST

    I just keep thinking 'galaxy quest' or 'Suburban commando"

    by TheGinger Twit

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 7:29 a.m. CST

    The Perfect cast...

    by dafttom

    ...would have been the cast of Spaced (and Shaun Of The Dead). Mark Heap - Arthur Simon Pegg - Ford Nick Frost - Marvin Jessica Stevenson - Trillian Bill Bailey - Zaphod but i guess they were all busy :)

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 7:33 a.m. CST

    I thought he just said the house bit wasn't first

    by elab49

    Not that it wasn't there?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 7:55 a.m. CST

    Bill Bailey IS in it...

    by CellarDoor

    As the voice of the whale. Worth

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8:36 a.m. CST

    stupid english people will probably blame hollywood for this

    by ScaryJim

    Well of course !! and u still have , mcdonalds, 'Ellen',and errr bad american presidents hanging over you .. I mainly blame you personally though WATD heh :0)Lets be honest though if John cleese and the rest of the monty phython crew adapted this it wouldn't go wrong .. u know if it happened 20 years ago ..

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Bill Bailey the Whale

    by dafttom

    Should be the best thing in it then!!

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8:38 a.m. CST

    Everything is wrong wrong WRONG!!!!! As an Englishman who has b

    by workshed

    ...F*ck 'Em. F*ck 'Em All. I will NEVER see this film. I didn't mind Zaphod's flimsy head in the BBC version because THEY AT LEAST MADE A F*CKING EFFORT. Why can't American leave us alone..? And what's the point in doing a test screening of this movie in the f*ckin States..? Their taste is in their (collective) ass and whatever comes out gives off a bad smell. Test screen it in the U.K. and we'll let you know, loud and clear, whether this film should ever be released. Douglas Adams, you were a genius whose legacy will remain unspoiled by this piece of wipe. Over. Out.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8:51 a.m. CST

    "It has similar looking effects budget to Disney

    by WeedyMcSmokey

    A-hahahahahahaha (intake air) Ahahahahahahahahhahaha...Aha, ha...Uh.... Sigh. - This is probably in the wrong hands. Focus group tweaking never produced anything great. Never. But, hey, if you like pablum, well, your in for a treat.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 9:01 a.m. CST

    Here's a link for all you people that are so upset by these revi

    by rev_skarekroe

    http://www.t-shirtking.com/graphics/161-00057.jpg

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 9:08 a.m. CST

    dafttom...

    by Mithril

    you caught me off-guard with your suggestion, but dammit if it doesn't actually sound good. Heap would've made a great Marvin too. Oh, and at this point, Alan Rickman, Bill Bailey and Bill Nighy (and possibly Sam Rockwell) seem to be the only reasons I'm thinking of seeing this film.

  • ...and, wow, they even bothered to portray Zaphod with a second (albeit hilariously lifeless and off center rubber latex) head. Surely this could have been improved upon without copping out with the whole head in the nose thing. It's 2005 for Chrissakes! Shit, they gave Johnny Knoxville two heads in MIB2! That chick in Total Recall had three tits! Use some imagination!

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 9:33 a.m. CST

    sigh....

    by hector

    Anyone that didnt see this coming is a blockhead. The concept art even looked cheaper than usual, and that's saying something. And who would have thought that an American/Jamaican rapper that has basically only played himself in a couple of mediocre flicks couldnt carry a movie playing a out of work stage British stage actor from Beatleguise V? Im shocked. Clearly they got the tv producer characters from the Simpsons to chip in on this one: 'We need to Rastafy this movie about 15%, I have noooooootes'. I guess Will Smith passed, that would have made things easy, "Oh HELL no you didnt just <insert scene here>"

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 9:47 a.m. CST

    Who cares about heads \ arms? Seriously!

    by WizardX

    Come on, Adams wrote those into the radio script as one-off jokes. ("Take your hand off my knee! ...And your other hand... And your OTHER HAND...") The most ever really done with them were some bad puns. ("I must be out of my heads!") That's it. The head & arm are in no way central to Zaphod's character in some sort of existential sense. And remember how terrible the extra head in the TV series looked? I would've cut them both and never looked back. There's just no reason to hang on to them, at great difficulty and expense, when the only people that care are the fanboys. ... And anyway, since when has plot continuity ever been an issue with HHGTTG? No adaptation of it ever agrees with any OTHER adaptation, and it got substantially tinkered with in every incarnation. Personally, it's sounding like they've stuck TOO close to the radio \ book and probably should have changed more. ... But we'll see.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Wizardx - I disagree with you...

    by Russman

    Tha's one of the things that I liked about the BBC versioin. They had a number of silly and goofy things like that. The BBC's version of Zaphod's 2nd head - that never bothered me. The second head was like his stoner pal. "Oh just go back to sleep". Even looking at it now, I still think it's funny, maybe it's cuz I'm thinking about how much I enjoyed it as a kid, but it still makes me laugh. The mouse has my $10 when this comes out, but I'm not to jazzed about some of the creative decisions that I've heard about, but I will go see it and give it a chance.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 10:37 a.m. CST

    by NoItAint

    "Faithful"? Any real hitchhiker fan knows that every version of it has been different - the radio series, the book, the game, the first TV movie, etc. So there isn't anything for this to be "faithful" to. Plus Adams wrote almost the whole script - so obviously it IS faithful to his script. And that second reviewer "J" sounds like a moron to me.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 10:40 a.m. CST

    Relax.

    by Yurich

    Seriously. Four opinions were posted in that article, 3 of which were positve. Why are all of you jumping on the one negative review? Get a goddam grip.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 10:46 a.m. CST

    I agree

    by NoItAint

    Quint and Moriarty seem to have good things to say - which is rarely the case recently - so that points to good things.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 11 a.m. CST

    J just doesn't get it

    by jmilott

    Everything that J complains about seems to be ideas and jokes whizzing over his head. The most gigantic red flag that J is an uninformed idiot is saying Garth Jennings resume as a director stinks. Garth is an equal to Spike Jonze, Michel Gondry and Jonathan Glazer, who all were innovative commercial video directors before jumping to creating the best features of the past few years.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 11:42 a.m. CST

    by ROBE

    Having read the books and watched the old BBC series I will go to see this movie. Where is the second head, is it like the character in Men in Black 2 that is hidden and then pops out?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, noon CST

    I hope they kept the theme tune

    by fitzcarraldo2

    The opening credits of the old TV series are the best ever.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 12:20 p.m. CST

    I hate to complain, but this movie seems ultimately pointless

    by Catbarf the 5th

    I have great fondness for the HHGTTG books (read 'em all in the 80s, laughed my arse off) and the radio show (laughed even harder), and I'm interested in seeing how some of it would translate to the big screen today. However a feature-length movie based on the first book, at this point in history (20+ years later?) seems pointless...extra pointless. The books are great, but they're mostly just a framework to hang DA's absurdist jokes from, and many of the jokes have some kind of literary bent to them anyway (DA's famous "this sentence is going on forever and that is part of the joke because blah blah blah" style, images like Zaphod's heads and arms, the way words fall on the page in general, etc... it works when read aloud, but that's about it). So a movie of it doesn't really translate. Also I find that a lot of the humor is somewhat dated and "cute" today... it worked better in the 80s when it was new and pioneering. Making this film is kind of like turning "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" into a graphic novel. It might be interesting to glance at, but ultimately it's just another cross-marketing enterprise of a work that was already made in its ideal medium(s), and everybody who is really interested in this movie already knows all the punchlines to all the of the best jokes anyway (seriously, are you all going to roll on the floors laughing when Deep Thought announces "42" in the theater?) So besides enjoying a few chuckles at Marvin, and some nostalgia and novelty factors, where's the fun in this? I expect that mostly this will just be a letdown... it just seems inherent it the material that it would be. (BTW, I think the radio show came first, and it works *great* on radio... it has a real pace and style to it. But there were no visuals to worry about, which is probably the only reason it worked. Frankly, most of DA's wacky images are best left in your imagination, since I expect the visuals would just overshadow and actually compete with the jokes in all sorts of ways...and the jokes are WAY more important to this story than the visuals could or should ever be. No doubt this was the inherent problem with making this series into a movie to begin with, as the TV version already amply proved, too cheap or not... I don't think any budget of any size could ever get around this problem. HHGTTG, at is core, just isn't a movie waiting to happen.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 1:58 p.m. CST

    please don't allow anymore Adams talking reviewers for this movi

    by antonphd

    What the hell!?? That review sucked! Not because it may or may not be wrong... but because the reviewers distain for Adam's writing while trying to write like him was a slap in the face to fans of Douglas Adams. Know when to talk shit and when you are not worthy to talk shit. Bash the movie... just don't split on Adams while you are doing it. Damn. I just actually got pissed by a review. Who'd a thought it could happen.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:08 p.m. CST

    antonphd

    by MisterCynic

    what the hell are you talking about?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:13 p.m. CST

    not talking... ranting... about the "J" reviewer

    by antonphd

    If you have read the books or listen to the radio series you'll understand.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:31 p.m. CST

    Arthur

    by Frank Einstein

    I know; I saw it. The movie feels like a pretty good Cliff

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 2:55 p.m. CST

    Gibber Gibber Gibber

    by mondoz2

    I was going to make a comment on the review, the history of the books, radio series, games, cereal boxes, and assorted other adaptations throughout the years... But after seeing the talkbacks appear in order, and what seems to be an appropriate order has made my mind begin to gibber uncontrolably. Feel free to do the same.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 3:50 p.m. CST

    LOTR Wasn't a Hollywood Adaptation

    by Forestal

    Right now I'm guessing they casted Mos Def for racial/politically correct intentions. I'll reserve my opinion of his portrayal of Ford Prefect until I see the movie

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 3:53 p.m. CST

    Lack of vision on the part of studio

    by mortsleam

    You'd think Disney would have learned something from New Line's phenomenal success with Lord of the Rings. Put enough money into the first movie to guarantee quality visuals that don't betray the basic premise of the book (say, the number of heads on a main character) appease the fans, and get yourself a franchise. I'm not saying that Hitchhiker's could ever possibly be as popular as LOTR, because the audience is necessarily smaller, nor should they film all five movies of the "trilogy" back to back (and they really shouldn't film the fifth book at all) but there is a possible series here which could make them a ton of money if they do it right. But I no longer have any cnfidence that Disney has the capacity to anything right. And anyway, it seems they've put all their eggs in the Narnia basket. That's a shame.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 4:26 p.m. CST

    Galaxy Quest

    by Gristle

    If this film is as good as "Galaxy Quest", I'll be very happy. "Galaxy Quest" is delightful. Shalhoub, Rockwell, Rickman, and Weaver were all perfect. Even Tim Allen was funny. Boy, someday you will all bow down to that film.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 5:33 p.m. CST

    And the pretentious douche award goes to Coffee Enema!

    by I Dunno

    English major? LOL! What did you flunk Philosphy?

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 6:04 p.m. CST

    As Gag Halfrunt said "he just a guy..."

    by SandShark

    Without the second head and the third arm, Zaphod is easily recognized by Arthur and you loose most of the humor. It's sad that it takes the death of an author to get his work turned into a movie. The fact that Adams is dead means the suits can screw things up without him complaining. I think I stick to my books, radio scripts, radio CDs and BBC TV series instead of wasting money on a half assed version of a great work of art.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8 p.m. CST

    Where Is The Trailer For This Movie?

    by The Outlander

    It's not a good sign that the release of a movie is only months away but we are still waiting to see a trailer that actualy show footage from the movie.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 8:30 p.m. CST

    Deviation from the plot

    by caerlas

    I don't think it said anywhere that they were ditching Arthur's house getting knocked down. All they said was that the credits roll after the destruction of the earth and that there is a deviation from the plot at the beginning. They don't exactly say how the plot deviated though.

  • Jan. 28, 2005, 11:10 p.m. CST

    Wow, Mos Def doesn't work as Ford?

    by MyNameDoesn'tFit

    I'm shocked.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 6:43 a.m. CST

    How to tell if the movie ended as the books did

    by CGameProgrammer

    Here's how: Are any of the characters still alive when the movie ends? OK then, it deviates from the books.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 11:26 a.m. CST

    I wish they didn't even make the movie

    by Darth Satan

    I love these books, and I'm very disappointed to see the direction the film went. I don't understand why crap like Harry Potter gets a full English cast, but one of the best scifi humor books ever written gets some stupid rapper. Who is such a bad actor that he can't even do an English accent. What's up with all these fucking rappers getting into movies anyway? I'm thinking its product placement. that's got to be what it is. For example, Pepsi pays the producer so much money to have Jim Carrey drinking a bottle of Pepsi in a scene of a movie. So now we have record companies paying movie companies to advertise their product. The flash in the pan rapper trying to be Ford Prefix, 2005's MC Hammer. Marvin looks like some advertising firms execs got together with Toys R Us to figure out how cute they could make Marvin. So they could push product, and now I

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 11:33 a.m. CST

    For the uninformed

    by lonecow

    It is really funny how many of you claim to be fans and since you are such fans you already claim to hate this movie and say it is an insult to Douglas Adams. He wrote this movie. Before he died this was his project, to see a NEW Hitchhikers Guide for a new generation. He even said people will be mad because it's not a straight copy of the book, and has always said that every incarnation of HHGTG would be different, the radio different from the book, and tv show, and now movie. But he wrote this film, so all you who think it is an insult to Douglas Adams to make this movie, just think he is insulting himself. Also, to the guy who was bragging about being an English Major: You are a jerk.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 11:51 a.m. CST

    Nice Resume Garth

    by BRUTICUS

    Why would someone with so little experience use one of the coolest storys of all time as his guinea pig for a movie. 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?

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 1:34 p.m. CST

    Hey Coffee Enema

    by Praetor

    I always suspected you were a useless cunt, thanks for confirming it for us. Next time I want a copy of 'The Big Issue' I'll know where to go.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 3:32 p.m. CST

    Hitchhiker's Guide

    by Mafu

    I've never read the HGTTG books, though I've meant to read them for years. And the only production I've ever seen of HGTTG was about 20 minutes of some British production with fairly good acting, but zero special effects. In fact, I found it to be a little dull and uninspired. I'm a big Monty Python fan, and I love the random buffoonery of British humor, so here's my question: will this movie seem funny to someone who hasn't read the books? I have a feeling this will be the litmus test for the film, so I have to know. Thanks.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 3:39 p.m. CST

    We spend a few hours careening around the galaxy but we

    by trafficguy2000

    Great! Then it is exactly like the books!

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 4:46 p.m. CST

    Yes!

    by DocPazuzu

    Love for GalaxyQuest! Finally! Hilarious comedy, but with real heart as well. "Look around you. Is there anything you could use to make a rudimentary lathe?" I'm still on the fence about HHGTTG, but am looking forward to it all the same.

  • Jan. 29, 2005, 6:32 p.m. CST

    Still looking forward to it

    by CineRam

    The first two books in the series are my first experiences of DNA's work, and it's no exaggeration to say they're the funniest books I've ever read (especially the series of chapters devoted to the restaurant in book #2). I expect to be disappointed by the movie to a degree, as my first love of Adams' writing is reading it, not viewing it or simply listening to it. Adams' style of prose was, when I first read it at age 12 or so, groundbreaking and extremely influential for me. You might even be able to tell as much just by reading this posting...Adams' style worms its way into my own work all the time. Having said that, though, the only thing that I've been looking forward to as much as a "Hitchhiker's" feature film during this period of my life was losing my virginity (Which occured last week. Bow to me, fellow geeks!). Back in my salad days, before I realized that Newcastle and Haddonfield and Croyden were located across the pond, I dreamt up a spiffy cast--featuring Jeff Goldblum (Arthur), Michael Keaton (Ford), Martin Short (Marvin) and Kurt Russell (Zaphod)--and visualized every CinemaScope frame of what would be, for me, the ultimate "Hitchhiker's" movie. To say that the actual movie will not live up to it goes without saying (Why couldn't they get Owen Wilson to play the second head? That's friggin' no-brainer casting right there!), but how can I not look forward to every single piece of merchandise in any way tangibly related to the dearly departed Doug? It's like trying to be casual about "Revenge of the Sith": Given my upbringing, an exercise in futility. I live in Chicago, and about seven years ago Mr. Adams was in town to promote his latest book, "Starship Titanic". I jumped for joy upon learning that my literary hero would be present and available to meet in person, without me having to buy a plane ticket or anything! I arrived at the bookshop where he was scheduled to appear and saw a long line of customers waiting to get their brand-new hardcovers signed by him. Snatching up a copy, I waited for patiently for my turn and handed it to Mr. Adams. He signed, I thanked him and then turned to leave. "Excuse me," said the fellow sitting next to him, "would you like me to sign that for you, as well?" You see, Douglas Adams had co-written this book (and the computer game it was based on) with none other than Terry Jones, formerly of Monty Python. Shrugging, I handed him the book and apologized for moving on so hastily. "It's just that I've been a fan of his for over fifteen years," I told Mr. Jones, "I've never heard of you." Everyone nearby laughed. Including Douglas Adams. I MADE DOUGLAS ADAMS LAUGH! I could barely contain myself when the realization hit me that after many years and many books of unrelenting hilarity, I was able to return the favor, if only for a moment. Doug put his arm around his co-author in a mock-comforting gesture and told him, "I'll buy you a beer later." Priceless. So you see, It matters little if the movie fails to be the funniest movie I've ever seen, because it couldn't possibly be (but Malkovich should be a hoot, at the least). Whatever the reviews say, whatever the fanboys say, whatever the trailers show...I will welcome this movie with open arms because maybe--just maybe--it will make Mr. Adams a truly household name and inspire a lot more people to enjoy his writings. That wouldn't be such a bad thing, now would it?

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 2:05 a.m. CST

    Congratulations, CineRam

    by Gristle

  • Jan. 30, 2005, 2:08 a.m. CST

    Double congratulations, CineRam!

    by Gristle

    Way to go on the whole getting laid thing. And thanks for the math problem... let's see, saw Doug Adams seven years ago, had been a fan for fifteen years, read it when you were twelve. That puts you at around thirty-four years old! I hope the sex was worth the wait!

  • Feb. 10, 2005, 3:20 p.m. CST

    VOGON PICS ONLINE!!!!!!!!!!!!

    by Fugazi32

    Here: http://filmforce.ign.com/hhgttg/articles/586/586626p1.html