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Don't Panic!
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Tim Mallos
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 8:52 am    Post subject: Don't Panic! Reply with quote

That's what I keep telling myself about HHG. I, too, was a little concerned by the treatment of Zaphod's second head. But then I thought about the challenge, as a film maker, of creating a sympathetic / non-distracting / not tragically silly two-headed humanish character.

That would be tough.

So, I'm reserving judgement on that one.

Looking forward to this with the same interest and dread I would have for a film adaptation of Spider Robinson's Callahan's Crosstime Saloon. ( This one , among others ).

We shall see.

Tim
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Eric F Myers
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I used to worry about this kind of stuff all of the time. Now I realize if they screw up the movie they will only make themselves look bad. I have the books on my shelf and the characters in my mind, and they can't take that away from me.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 11, 2005 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Movies get such a huge amount of publicity and are seen by such a wide audience that when a bad adaptation is made, those unfamiliar with the original works may think poorly of any incarnation of the work, no matter if it's the poor movie they saw or the novel they never bothered to read as a result.

Luckily, Hitchhiker's is such a widely read and enjoyed book that I don't think its reputation will take much of a hit (if any) if the movie turns out to be lousy. Doubly so since Douglas Adams is no longer with us, so his participation will be seen as minimal (limited to the early drafts of the screenplay).

I'm going to give the movie a fair chance when I see it but there's still some regret that we won't get to see the two-headed, three-armed ex-head-honcho of all creation in his full glory.
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2005 9:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Are there any previews out showing scenes from the movie? All I've seen is a short trailer with lots of sound and visual effects and the title. The only scenes I've seen are still photos.

Of course, I already have some what of a visualization idea of HHG. My introduction to it was back when I was in high school in the 80s, when I saw the BBC-TV version on PBS. That inspired me to go and read the books, which I really enjoyed (though I never got around to reading the fifth one).

Like the LOTR trilogy, I haven't read these books since I was a teenager; and thus, like LOTR, I'm going to have to go back and read the books again, to refresh my memory for the full ability to critique the film.

My expectations are low, however, because Hollywood, with a few exceptions, tends put out insipid crap. Most movies based on books (or comic books) tend to throw the book out the window before shooting. In fact, just yesterday, I was at a friend's house, watching I, Robot on DVD. All I kept thinking during most of the movie was that Isaac Asimov, who I've always been a big fan of, is rolling over in his grave.

Lets hope this movie, and it's sequels, don't start Douglas Adams rolling over in his.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:04 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rip Tanion wrote:
Are there any previews out showing scenes from the movie?

There are three more trailers available beyond the teaser-trailer you describe. Check out the "H" page at Daves trailer site for one. There are also several links to a British version and an "internet version" here, which are very similar to each other, but are different enough to be, well, different. These both feature the framing device of being presented as a Guide entry about "movie trailers."

Rip Tanion wrote:
My introduction to it was back when I was in high school in the 80s, when I saw the BBC-TV version on PBS.

That is exactly how I first encountered HHGTTG. I was telling somebody about the TV show the day after I'd seen the first episode and they said, "you know, I think that's a book, too." I went to the library and, sure enough, it was a book.

Rip Tanion wrote:
In fact, just yesterday, I was at a friend's house, watching I, Robot on DVD. All I kept thinking during most of the movie was that Isaac Asimov, who I've always been a big fan of, is rolling over in his grave.

Yeah, that was about as far from an Asimov story as you could get. There was some kernel there, as the three laws figure into the robots' programming and behavior, but mostly just ludicrous stuff.
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 12:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks, Greg. You truly are the Linkmaster General.

After seeing the trailers, I'm thinking "This might not be as bad as I'm expecting." I especially liked the trailer on UGO (I'm assuming that's the British one). They seem to have gone for a cuteness factor with Marvin as far as looks (perhaps for toy marketing), but I think the always maudlin Alan Rickman is good casting for his voice. And bikini girls are always a plus. At least they didn't cast Ben Afdrek, Ben "I wish I was as funny as my parents" Stiller, or Adam "I embarrass all Jews" Sandler as Arthur Dent in this one.

Bottom line, they're probably gonna get my $11 regardless of what I hear about it from now until opening night.

As for I, Robot, it wasn't a really bad film. I'm sure I probably would have enjoyed it more if I didn't have the preconceptions from all those Asimov robot stories I've read over the years. Good ol' Asimov. He always made his short stories the right length for toilet reading.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2005 2:02 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Rip Tanion wrote:
After seeing the trailers, I'm thinking "This might not be as bad as I'm expecting." ..... Bottom line, they're probably gonna get my $11 regardless of what I hear about it from now until opening night.

I agree. I'll be seeing it no matter what the reviews sound like. Sometimes I find that I completely disagree with the popular opinion anyhow. Other times, a bad movie is just a bad movie and there's no other way around it.

The trailers and promotional pictures have gone a long way toward making me think that the casting of Mos Def as Ford Prefect may be a good thing, but their reinterpretation of Zaphod's heads and arms just seems wrong, somehow.

The choice of hiring Alan "It's a Snape" Rickman to play Marvin's voice is pretty good, but I'm wondering why they didn't go with the original, nearly perfect Marvin in every way, Stephen Moore? (Unless IMDB is wrong, he's not dead.)

I could go further and discuss every aspect thus far revealed, but I will refrain.

Back to I, Robot again. I didn't think it was a terrible movie, but it just wasn't very smart. I'd really like a robot movie with Asimov's name attached to it to be smart. Did you ever read Harlan Ellison's screenplay for his version of I, Robot? Now that would have been a movie.
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mkammerer
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PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2005 8:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

hi guyz
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2005 5:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
but their reinterpretation of Zaphod's heads and arms just seems wrong, somehow.
Any excuse for using those spiffy CGI FX.

Greg Stephens wrote:
The choice of hiring Alan "It's a Snape" Rickman to play Marvin's voice is pretty good, but I'm wondering why they didn't go with the original, nearly perfect Marvin in every way, Stephen Moore?
Because Hollywood is incestuous, and likes to use the same actors over and over again. Most people know who Rickman is, even if they only know him as the "villain in Diehard" or "that Wizard from Harry Potter". They figure nobody knows who Moore is. These Hollywood folks like to go with someone that audiences will recognize.
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just saw the movie tonight. Wasn't bad. Better than I expected. Not entirely faithful to the book, but what Hollywood movie ever is? I saw it with a friend who is niether familiar with the books, nor the BBC radio or TV productions, and she really liked it.

Of course, as I metioned before, I read the books some 20 years ago when I was in high school (just saying that makes me feel old), and I didn't get a chance to re-read it, so my memory of it is a bit foggy; though, a few weeks ago, I did get a chance to download and listen to the original BBC radio play, so the bulk of my memories going into the theater was based more on that. I believe they added some addition plotlines to the story, and changed others, and played up the romance between Arthur and Trillian, which really didn't exist in the book.

Fans of the old BBC TV mini-series will find some pleasant surprises. Look for cameos by the original BBC Marvin as a robot extra, and Simon Jones, the original BBC Arthur Dent, as a disembodied hologram.

In conclusion, I'd recommend it. Don't forget to bring your towel.

So long, and thanks for all the fish.
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Tim Mallos
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 2:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked the film. It was enjoyable as a stand-alone.

My understanding is that Adams was responsible for a lot of the 'new' things (he invented the opposing presidential candidate for the film, for insatance).

Tinkering with the Guide was his trademark.

My only regret was forgetting to take my towel to the theater.

Tim
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Being very familiar with the Guide in its various formats, I wasn't expecting much from the movie. Every bit of pre-release information I saw which suggested to me that the movie would be good was countered by another bit of information indicating otherwise. My experience of watching the movie was similar. I would watch a few minutes and enjoy it, then a few more minutes of something tedious or banal would follow. For me, the movie bears more scrutiny, but my initial impression was that it fails on two levels. First, it is not a very good Hitchhiker's adaptation; Secondly, it isn't a very good movie.

Addressing my second point first, the movie has little sense of storytelling and many important plot points are left unresolved. This is a problem that is partially inherited from the source as the first book and both radio series ended with many plot points unresolved. The movie does this for the same plot points, with two exceptions (those being the mice and Earth Mark II are dealt with, albiet in a hasty fashion, and the love triangle- not entirely new, but handled unsatisfactorally in the books- comes to the traditional Hollywood conclusion). However it handled the old plot problems, you'd expect the movie to know how to resolve its new plot ideas. It doesn't even try. The Humma Kavula story and the POV gun (including something you'd think Zaphod would be very concerned about) are left entirely unresolved. This is frustrating, because there are a lot of genuinely interesting ideas there which expnand on ideas only touched in the source material and bear further exploration.

This brings us to the point that it isn't a decent adaptation from the source. I accept that changes are made- sometimes necessary, sometimes not- when adapting a work from one form to another, so I'm not bothered by the alterations from the source. Of course, in the case of Hitchhiker's, there are multiple sources, each different to the previous versions. It's something of a tradition. This bothers me not at all. One of the most worrying changes in the movie was Zaphod's two heads and how they were arranged. I found the reasons the movie gives for this to be quite interesting and an intriguing expansion on ideas in the novels. The problem arises when elements- both new and old- are introduced and nothing is done with them. Why visit Humma Kavula and build him up as a menacing character when the climax of the movie doesn't involve him at all? Why tease us with whole conspiracy in which Zaphod is a pawn, but neither follow through with explaining it nor build it up as a genuine mystery for the (theoretical) sequel? Why mess up so many of the funniest jokes from the source with bad editing or directorial choices? Did we need to see Ford Prefect trying to shake hands with a car to get the joke? No. Did we want some explanation as to why Ford thinks towels are so important? Yes.

As I said, I will be watching the movie again (most likely on DVD, because I must have all things Hitchhiker's) and will examine it futher. Despite pointing out problems, I enjoyed many parts of the movie and would like to see it succeed at the box office. If it does, perhaps we'll get a sequel that's not so hampered by walking the line between being faithful to the source and creating new elements that it can satisfactorally wrap up the plot points from the first movie.

I find it interesting that both Rip and Tim enjoyed it, so that's a good sign.
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Tim Mallos
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 12:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I am a cynic. I expect the worst. I am pleasantly surprised much more often than the average bloke.

I wanted to go to a movie and be entertained. I switched off my brain and enjoyed it.

But you're right, I hadn't even noticed, but they never did explain the importance of the towel to intergalactic travel.

Wow. Amazing omission.

T
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 12:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Tim Mallos wrote:
I am a cynic. I expect the worst. I am pleasantly surprised much more often than the average bloke.


I wasn't expecting much, so I wasn't dissapointed in general. While watching the movie I kept changing from, "Ooooh, good idea!" to "Ugh, poor execution," back to, "Yes! I love that bit!" and back again to, "Why, oh why?" Overall, I think it was a somewhat average movie.

Tim Mallos wrote:
But you're right, I hadn't even noticed, but they never did explain the importance of the towel to intergalactic travel.

Wow. Amazing omission.


It wouldn't even have been an issue if Ford's towel usage hadn't been quite so prominant. Without that explanation, it seems like one peculiar character trait. Ford's alien, so I guess that's one reason, but Zaphod is alien, too, and he doesn't carry around a towel. If the audience doesn't know why towels are so useful to hitchhikers, then Ford seems pretty odd. Odder than he's meant to, I mean.

In contrast, Arthur never looked up the Guide entry for "Earth" to find it only read "Harmless," (with Ford telling him what the revised entry would be). Without other references to that elsewhere in the movie, though, it's not an issue. In the book, it was meant to give Arthur some sense of perspective, showing how insignificant he was in comparison to the rest of the universe. A nice character bit, but you can accept the cut, since there are other bits which serve the same purpose, it's not important to the story as a whole and it's not mentioned otherwise.

OK, OK, here're some things I enjoyed about the movie:

The introduction of Guide itself while Journey of the Sorcerer played. In fact, all of the Guide entries which were present were welcome and well-done. Did you stay long enough to see the one inserted into the middle of the credits?

The Vogons were spot-on and true to their natures. The little scuttling crabs which they smashed with hammers? I never expected to see that referenced.

The way in which the Heart of Gold's Infinite Improbability Drive transformed the ship and crew helped explain a great deal why the missiles were transformed into a whale and a bowl of petunias.

Slartibartfast. Like the Vogons, Bill Nighy was wonderful as this character.

Yes, the cameos by the original TV Marvin costume and Simon Jones were nice touches, as was the split-second cameo by Douglas Adams just at the very, very end.
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Greg Stephens
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PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2005 1:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, another moment of extreme geekery for me came when I appreciated that Zaphod refers to Ford by one of his Betelgeusian names, "Ix."
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Rip Tanion
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PostPosted: Mon May 09, 2005 6:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Greg Stephens wrote:
Did we want some explanation as to why Ford thinks towels are so important? Yes....It wouldn't even have been an issue if Ford's towel usage hadn't been quite so prominant. Without that explanation, it seems like one peculiar character trait. Ford's alien, so I guess that's one reason, but Zaphod is alien, too, and he doesn't carry around a towel. If the audience doesn't know why towels are so useful to hitchhikers, then Ford seems pretty odd. Odder than he's meant to, I mean.
Yeah, I noticed that as well. In fact, my friend who I saw the movie with asked me what the whole deal with the towel was, and I couldn't give her an answer, because I couldn't rightly remeber any of many reasons at the time. (Hey, we went out for a couple of beers before the movie, so my memory wasn't at peak efficiency.)

Greg Stephens wrote:
Did you stay long enough to see the one inserted into the middle of the credits?
Oooops. Didn't know about that one. As soon as the credits started rolling we both ran to the bathroom. (Hey, we went out for a couple of beers before the movie, and...well you don't buy beer, you just rent it. ) Anyway, I guess that gives me a reason to see the movie again.

If anyone cares to read my half-assed review of the movie, I finally posted one up here, the other day.
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