When I first heard that they were making a movie out of the HitchHiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, I was horrified. I loved those books. It would not be an exaggeration to say I worshipped them. I had most of the books memorized almost close to verbatim in high school, and could quote chapter and verse for a lot of my favorite quotes. I couldn’t imagine how they could possibly make a movie that would capture the wonderful tone of whimsy that Adams generated so effortlessly.
My opinion started to change when I saw this trailer, which captured that whimsy. Then I found out that Adams had written at least the first draft of the movie. So I decided to give it a chance, and saw it with Bats, Brad and Jill on Sunday night.
It was excellent. I went in only hoping for it not to be a major disappointment, but I genuinely enjoyed it. The filmmakers managed to make a movie that matches the tone of the book for the most part, while adding in some visual gags. Plus, they were wonderful about creating shout outs to utter fanboys like myself who knew the books verbatim, dropping in visual references to passages in the book, but never actually explaining them in the movie (like the jewelled crabs and gazelles on the Vogon home world). Or having Ford curse “Belgium” a couple times. Things like that.
I’m not sure how it works for the general audience, because the four of us MIT geeks enjoyed the movie far more than anybody else in the theater. We must have driven the people around us nuts, as we were chanting lines in unison with the screen, and making whispered comments to each other about the passages that the movie was referring to, but not quoting. It was surprising how much of the book I still had memorized, and it was also surprising how much it made me want to go back and re-read the book. So that’s a pretty successful movie in my book.
If you’re a fan, I recommend it. Heck, I recommend it if you’re not a fan, if you like understated British humour with a twist of scifi. Good stuff.
More posts coming in the next few days – I’ve been busy finishing up at work, and with Batman in town visiting, but today was my last day at work and I’m taking a week and a half off before starting my next job. Hopefully, that will give me time to be inspired and get back into a posting rhythm.