Saturday, April 30, 2005

Warning: Spoilers, Maybe....

OK, I was right...Bummer.
"Hitchhikers" failed to meet even my lowest expectations. It was dreary. We kept waiting for it to get better, but somehow, we knew it wouldn't. The Blond, Boy III, and I tried to figure out what went wrong on the way home.

1. The characters were one-dimensional. Trillian, rather than appearing capable and confident, came across as, well, Zooey D. Ford lacked all of his lovable disconnected, self serving quiet arrogance. The Vogons looked and acted like rejects from an old "Power Rangers" episode. I shouldn't even bring up Zaphod. Zaphod, the wildly complex, misunderstood-even-to-himself renegade was reduced to a bithering surfer dude better played by Sean Penn in his "Ridgemont High"days.

The only character even remotely interesting was Slartibartfast, but he appears entirely too late to save this fiasco.

2. Condensing a story for linear film purposes is difficult enough if you understand and love the story. (Positive Example: Lord of the Rings. YMBMJ?) "Hitchhiker's" couldn't decide what it wanted to be: weird and disconnected, or following a plot? The novel, deliciously, did both. This film does neither. The plot makes no sense, doesn't convince, and drags along slower than a Yugo. But in the absence of a coherent story line, they also failed to capture the bizarre, British irreverence that makes all the nonsense work. Doogie said it best, "Monty Python would have done a good job on this film, but these guys just didn't get it."

3. The whole thing had a cheap, Saturday Morning Cartoon feel. If it was intentional, it didn't work. Marvin looked ridiculous. The tragedy (and humor) of a hyper-intelligent robot trapped in a banal existence was obliterated up by his silly, "Space 1999" appearance.

4. The two-headed trick didn't work at all, but I've already covered Zaphod's problems. Was there anything good in this film?

The "Guide" itself was decent. Knowing they couldn't make it absolutely fabulous, the filmmakers chose instead to keep it simple and graphic, giving it a nice feel reminiscent of signage in the London Underground System. The parts of the film featuring the Guide were also the most humorous, as they consisted of direct quotes from the late Douglas Adams himself; author of the Hitchhiker's series.

I think the saddest part of the whole mess was in the end credits when they dedicated the film to Adams. "For Douglas," it said. Thanks, but no thanks.

I could go on and on, but I just want to publish this and get on with my life. Better days are coming.

Believe it or not, the Episode III trailer looked pretty good. Uh-oh.

7 Comments:

Blogger Reinman said...

I knew the movie was in trouble when it was in such a rush to get off of Earth. The premise of Earth's impending and unavoidable destruction provides great potential for subtle and intelligent humor.

Instead, the first-time director (of music video fame) was in far too much of a hurry to get to a plot that nobody cares about.

Take your time. Focus. Play these potentially brilliant characters off of one another, rather than having them spout whatever forgettable line services the forgettable plot.

Slartibartfast was a welcome reprieve (if only all the characters could have been handled so deftly) and the one moment of brilliance was the first few glimpses of the planet factory.

One brief moment of brilliance in a movie that should have been full to the brim.

11:42 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ugh, It is not out here yet, and I think I will save my money. Concerning Episode three, do not get your hopes up.
Ooh, but one thing to get excited about is the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe. I saw a display the last time I was at the Movie's; very cool.
~mike

5:43 PM  
Blogger dangeresque dan said...

If I remember correctly Episode II looked good in the tralers . . . we all know how that turned out.

5:58 PM  
Blogger Colonel Havoc said...

Well said, Reinman...The Mom and I both agreed that the "Factory Floor" was the only satifying shot in the film.. It actually looked like we always imagined it.

"Breivty is the soul of wit,"
Your review was much shorter than mine.

6:08 AM  
Blogger Abe said...

Have you ever felt like you enter into a space warp and now your on an alien planet where all the people are speaking some kind of robtic dialic that you don't understand. Thats how I feel.

HUH? WHAT?

Maybe I should stick to Buck Rogers.

6:59 AM  
Blogger Colonel Havoc said...

Yeah, that's us.

7:23 AM  
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