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Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

****½ The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Science fiction.

Directed by: Garth Jennings
Starring: Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman, Bill Nighy, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell, John Malkovich

We saw this at the theater when it first came out, and bought the DVD when it first came out. Then I gave Camden the BBC miniseries for Christmas. We all loved it, and decided to re-watch the movie version after we'd finished.

I'd expected to find the movie disappointing, or at the very least, disconcerting--after all, Martin Freeman is quite a lot different from Simon Jones (Arthur Dent); Mos Def looks nothing like David Dixon (Ford Prefect); and even the makeup/special effects are different for Sam Rockwell and Mark Wing-Davey (Zaphod Beeblebrox), and Humma Kavula (John Malkovich) wasn't even in the miniseries. Surprisingly, even though we watched the movie the night after watching the last episode of the miniseries, it wasn't that hard to switch gears. I attribute that to both formats having the same feel, and most of the same dialogue.

Granted, the movie doesn't follow the book or miniseries precisely, but it does capture the essence of it, and that's the important part. Obviously, the special effects differ between 1981 with a TV-budget and 2005 with a movie budget, but the (heh) effect remains the same.

I enjoyed the book and the miniseries more than the movie, but I had no trouble watching the movie on its own merits, and found it to be entertaining and well-made, just a different version. As for the question about why make the movie at all--they're for different audiences. Lots of non-readers out there, and probably even more who wouldn't buy/rent an older miniseries, even if they knew to look for it.

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