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Hitch Hikers – it's a good film!

Hitch Hikers – it's a good film!

Ever since I read Douglas Adams’ expert M.J. Simpson’s overwhemingly negative review of the Hitch Hikers’ Guide to the Galaxy, I’ve been slightly scared of what the film was going to be like.

After seeing the film today, I can report that while he is entirely factually correct in his review (half the jokes you liked have gone, some of it makes no sense in hindsight), he is totally wrong in his conclusions. The film is wryly funny, has some great moments and does a good job of trying to subvert Hollywood conventions. And it’s worth seeing.

Yes, some of the essential dialogue moments get lost in the film. But you know what? It’s a film. Film demands spectacle, action, movement. It doesn’t demand amazingly witty dialogue, although obviously it would be nice to have it. If you wanted intricate dialogue, then you already have the radio/book/TV version to choose from.

To begin with, the film does play like a Greatest Hits montage of Hitch Hikers’ moments, albeit done in fantastic CGI. But then crucially, it starts making small tweaks and changes here and there, and this leaves room for some new hilarious Python-esque (I hate that adjective) moments. Crucially, I laughed. I smiled. I enjoyed it.

Even the traditional three-act structure whereby each character has to learn something, progress and move on is subverted slightly – while still happening. Which presumably is good for 90% of the audience, but I hate it. But it happens in all movies these days so you can’t blame Hikers for that.

I did think it was a bit wrong for Trillian to be played by an American (again!) but at least this time, you could buy that she was an interesting woman who could pilot a spaceship. And she looked beautiful in a normal manner. Zaphod was a tad all over the shop, and Ford never really convinced. Then again, I still firmly believe that Arthur Dent, being the character that he is, would never have made best friends with a black American, even if he is from Guildford.

I took a friend to see the film, who turned out to have never read the book, but was vaguely aware of some of the key moments from the film. And she enjoyed herself, although she said she found it confusing. I may need to take R to see it – chances are, she’s never even heard of it, so I have a film virgin to experiment on…

2 Comments

  • razorhead

    phew. I was getting really worried that the whole film was going to be an embarrassing mess, especially after simpson's review.

    I have to say, I didn't think much of the telly series – the radio version is, in my opinion, the definitive and best.

  • Sheff

    Well I have to say i was a bit disappointed by it. I thought it was enjoyable enough but could have been funnier and could have had a better defined plot. But my girlfriend who had never seen, read or heard any hitchhikers stuff before, really enjoyed it. She's still singing "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" now and we saw it last weekend! I asked her afterwards "what is Ford's occupation" and she couldn't tell me which goes to show how significant that part of the story came over.

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