Sunday, May 01, 2005

Enjoyment is a Frame of Mind

I took my son to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy today. Being a DNA geek from Dr Who on (a picture I made won fifth(?) place in the BBC Hitchhiker's game picture competition) I went with a mixture of expectation and anxiety. I took a few deep breaths before the movie started. I knew before hand that a lot of stuff would be changed from the original story. I just decided to enjoy myself, no matter how much it diverged.

Oh boy, did it diverge. There is a lot I could get really pissed about, if I was in a pure frame of mind. The sad thing is that the best parts of the movie are where they expanded the original story (the "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish" production number, the Magrathean factory floor / Earth Mark II, for example.) The worst bits are the parts they changed (a fifteen minute subplot where Trillian is abducted to Vogsphere, & the whole John Malkovich bit) because they are utterly pointless, do nothing to the story, and are, respectively. resolved in fifteen minutes and never resolved. There's just so much new stuff that's thrown together hodgepodge that's not particularly funny. I was a bit depressed because they just as easily could have done an intelligent adaptation of the original first series. (Yes, yes, I know DNA wrote the script for the movie, but it's still a mess. Sorry.)

Oh yes, did I mention that Arthur Dent has a NOKIA phone? It's very important to the story that we have many close-ups of Arthur's NOKIA phone. Especially the gratuitous extreme close-up of the NOKIA logo on his phone when it goes spinning off into space. Ah, the joys of product placement: another reason to download pirated movies online instead of paying $10 a movie ticket. I gots no sympathy, kids.

Last but not least- why oh why didn't they get Stephen Moore to do Marvin's voice, as Alan Rickman just did a lame Stephen Moore impersonation? Are there that many Alan Rickman fans around who will just flock to a movie because Alan Rickman is in it? Are the Rickman groupies lined up on the street corner? At least they could have had Moore play Gag Halfrunt! Sigh.

But, being in the right frame of mind (om) I actually did enjoy it. Ommmmmmm

Anyway, still slowly but surely working on False Idols, getting the hardest bit done first, which is the astronaut himself. As I said before, I purchased a so-so astronaut model for about $35. I used bits of it, deleted and made better versions of other bits (I had to completely re-model the helmet) and detailed it for my purposes:

Pretty neat, eh? Now comes the fun part- rigging- or adding the bones inside. Otherwise known as "Goddamn it, why does the whole hand warp and twist when I move one finger! Mutherf$#king envelopes!" If you've done this before, you know what I mean.



steve said...

I liked the original BBC 'Hitchikers...' tv series that aired many, many years ago. It was very accurate, very fun, and had the very dry british humor that I luv to see. Other favs were Dr. Who, Allo' Allo', Red Dwarf, Blakes Seven, and Are You Being Served. Mr. Bean and Keeping Up Appearances and Waiting For God get runner up slots.

Tony LaRocca said...

Tom Baker, was of course, my favorite Dr. Who. I'm still waiting for the Red Dwarf movie to come out (actually get to the production statge.) The Prisoner was a classic British show too, though that was Thames, not the BBC. Remember the good old days, when BBC America was free, and it was called PBS?

french toast girl said...

Your graphics aren't showing up!

And I'm sorry to hear it wasn't great - but maybe it'll get people back to reading the books again. Did Joey like it?

ps ~ did they at least have the line about "I could really BE in this cave!"?

Tony LaRocca said...

This is a recent problem. Refresh a few times, and the graphics will show. They're coming from my AOL ftp space, so if AOL is getting a lot of traffic…

No, the "we can really be in this cave" line was only from the radio shows, in a story line that wasn't used in the books (the mile high statue of Arthur Dent throwing the Nutrimat cup on Brontitour.)

Sadly, almost every social, political, and philosophical idea of the books was excised from the movie. For example: Zaphod's presidency is explained as "people thought they were voting for the Worst Dressed Sentient Being Award." Gone is the fact that Zaphod was put into office only to draw attention away from those in power with his antics. Perhaps Disney felt (as I did) that Bill Clinton was too good an example of life imitating art. A small point in the first book, but an important plot device in the second.

Tony LaRocca said...

ps, Elena- Joe enjoyed it, though of course he got a bit figity. His favorite part was "the sad robot." It really bothered him that poor Marvin was made to be sad.

steve said...

Don't forget the part of the story (in a later book) where some guy invents a machine that shows 'one's importance in the universe' on a ranking scale. He tells his overbearing wife to try it and she finds out that Zaphod Beeblebrox is really (at that moment) the most important person in the universe, not her. BTW, did they include the Immortal Alien who spent his time insulting people alphabetically ?

Tony LaRocca said...

Though one of my favorite characters, Wowbagger The Infinitely Prolonged doesn't appear until Life, the Universe, and Everything (which was actually supposed to be a Doctor Who movie!) I've bought the camcorder DVD of the movie off the guy on the streetcorner, and after watching the movie again I can see that it pretty much starts and ends where the first book does, so perhaps there's a sequel in the works. I would have preferred if they had just done a television version of the second series, as there's so much that didn't get into the books. (Such as, Elena, "We could really… BE in this cave!)