Obligatory Don’t Panic headline

I deliberately remained as unspoiled as possible for the Hitchhikers film. I saw a few pics in magazines and read a couple of interviews, but avoided detailed discussion. I didn’t watch the trailers. It was impossible to remain entirely unspoiled: I knew about some of the homages to the TV series. I’d also heard about, but not read, the mixed reviews.

The dolphin, er, sequence at the beginning. Well. That was a surprise. It left me thinking, what have they done?, and had visions of a Python film (not that that’s bad, just unexpected and out of place in this instance). After that, the first ten minutes or so of dialogue was almost word for word from the TV show, as far as I remember it. Strange: two scenes playing in your head, one from the eyes, one from the memory. I tried to turn down the memory volume, to little effect. Is it me, or did they film the pub scene in the original pub?

For much of the film familiar scenes suddenly lurched into unfamiliar territory. I wonder how many of the new bits were by Douglas Adams? I’ll have to go back and read what I’ve been avoiding, I guess. I suppose I can live with the obligatory love interest. There was, at least, some point to the story rather than just a 90-minute ramble.

Martin Freeman was perfect casting, and Stephen Fry not far off. The Americans were tolerable. I preferred the original Marvin, Stephen Moore; Alan Rickman was a good choice but there was something missing – not depressed enough I think. Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast stole every scene he was in. The League of Gentlemen did most of the Vogon voices, pretty well but a bit too recognisably Tubbs in places. Bill Bailey was a good choice for the whale.

I think Douglas Adams would have liked it. But I suspect that, were he here to see it, he’d still be writing it, if you see what I mean.

The BBC are showing the original TV series, starting next Tuesday night. I don’t remember the last time they repeated it: must be ten years ago at least. I might watch them again. Resistance is, after all, useless.

Avaragado’s rating: one green salad


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