Wednesday, August 24, 2005

The Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy

Roger Ebert's review featured an unlikely coupling of critical adjectives: "twee" and "conceited". Not descriptions that I would in the past have used to characterise Douglas Adams' comic genius, but perhaps Adams was tainted by association with Stephen Fry and Richard Dawkins in the latter part of his mindbogglingly forshortened life, and there's a pair that could be said to deserve them if anyone does.

Allowing for the fact that I generally enjoy watching films on aeroplanes more than I would in other formats, I was pleasantly surprised how little I found to irk me here. I switched off a bit during the new section with John Malkovich, but the "point of view gun" is a welcome edition to the corpus.

Mark Wing Davey used to say he had always imagined Zaphod Beeblebrox as a blond surfer dude, so Sam Rockwell's Galactic President is possibly a nod to this suggestion, though the two head thing is always going to work better on radio for fairly obvious reasons.

Marvin has been realised especially well.

It's all rather like being reacquainted with a old in-joke, and a last, nostalgic, "so long and thanks for all the fish" to Douglas. However familiar you are or were with the books and various series, some of the ideas still have the power to thrill.

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