Don't Panic

For faithful, fanatical, and fussy Douglas Adams fans, the announcement of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie was one of both great anticipation and great anxiety. We dreamed of Arthur Dent, Ford, Zaphod, Trillian and especially Marvin. At the same time, we gnawed off our own right leg to survive the potential horrors that awaited us.

Don't Panic, for I have seen the movie and it is most excellent. That is not to say it is above criticism. Even the famed Lord of the Rings trilogy did not escape the scrutiny of endless hordes of fans.

The first thing I can say on the film is that given the sheer amount of material to cover, the movie covered a whole heck of a lot. Given my estimations, I'd say they made it through approximately one quarter of the radio series. This was not even frantically crammed together. The movie flows exceptionally well, something that must have been an incredible challenge given the insanity that is the series.

Most if not all of our favorite jokes make their appearances. Unfortunately, a great number of them are cut short of their full length. They are still funny, but at the end of the movie I found myself wishing that they had simply taken the extra fifteen minutes to take Adams' jokes to their full extent. Still, the movie rocks.

Some of the best segments of the movie are when the Guide itself details through voice and graphical effects information vital to our survival in our galaxy. Whoever designed these was a genius, because they were simply perfect. There are some occaisions as well where the Guide's voice talks about a subject during some interesting scenes involving our favorite characters. I personally wished that one (anyone) of those scenes would have been replaced with another book visual. The non-book voice overs are in the majority, but that isn't really bad. I just really loved the book so much I wanted to see it again.

Speaking of which, don't leave until the credits are done.

The visual effects are stunning and, dare I say it, perfect. While most movies spend vast budgets on computer graphics trying to hide vast plot holes and poor character development behind pretty lights and tricks, the Guide does no such thing. The effects are so well done you hardly notice them or care. They do the part they should always be in by supporting the cast and story instead of supplanting them. They are incredibly impressive both technically and in the way they were implemented.

The music is also wonderful. For those who have seen the BBC TV series and, better yet, listened to the radio series you will be tickled when the original theme revamped and executed perfectly, plays.

There are other homages to previous versions of the Guide. Look for the original TV version of Marvin in the background halfway through the movie. Don't strain yourself too hard, it'll be obvious. Also, Douglas Adams himself makes an appearance towards the end, though exactly how (especially since he's dead) I will not say. Gag Halfront (I believe that is how it's spelled) also appears near the beginning with his ever so classic line: "Hey, Zaphod's just this guy, you know?"

Random Note: The Vogons rock too.

Watch this movie. If you have any shred of humor, you will enjoy it. It is pure gold, or at least a close replica.

No comments: