The Universe and Me

Monday, January 23, 2006

Belgium, man, Belgium

Movie: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. The good: Martin Freeman as Arthur and whoever did the voice of Marvin (did they even mention he was a “paranoid android”? I don’t remember hearing it.) The special effects were good, if a little downplayed. The Vogons were excellent, bumbling bureaucrats. “They can’t think. They can’t imagine. Most of them can’t spell. They just run things.” The not so good: The Guide was intended to be more of a full-fledged character. In this production, it’s only given little blurbs, and in large sections is missing for so long that I presumed it had gone out for a spot of tea. Many of the other major characters seemed severely miscast. I know we’re so used to the originals that any variation is going to seem odd, but there no way Ford was American. Mos Def’s mumbling didn’t help. He ended up fading into the background. My main gripe is Zaphod, who in my mind is a very hip and charming aged hippie. Not a Southern redneck or hillbilly, not childish and shallow, rude and annoying; not, as described in this movie, a “narcissistic moron.” And then there was Trillian who sounded a combination of bored and annoyed and subsequently was boring and annoying. Overall, the movie was a failure, I believe, due to poor casting and even worse directing. The sense of comedic timing was off. Too slow, too serious, and not comedic at all. Also, Adams wrote this less as a story and more of observations on the often absurd British way of life. So much of that was stripped out and replaced with a Hollywood love story. Funniest line: “I’m British, I know how to queue.”


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