Friday, April 29, 2005

Movie Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

I tried, really tried to like this movie. I loved the previews and even though I had never read the books, I was really looking forward to this movie. I even began to re-watch the BBC series just to get in the mood for all things Adams. That may have been my tragic mistake.

When comparing this big budget Hollywood production to the relatively cheaply made BBC mini-series there is little similarity. While the effects in the BBC production look like they may have been part of a grade 9 art project, in this latest incarnation of the Douglas Adams novels, they are as close to perfect as you can get. The animatronic aliens are perfectly done (thanks to Jim Henson's Creature Shop) and the CGI is top notch. Everything looks perfect. However, there is one component of the BBC series that I believe they should have kept, the humour.

Like the novels that inspired it, the BBC series was truly funny, while most of the jokes in this movie die a horrible horrible death. It looks like they were trying so hard to fit in as many punch lines as possible that they forgot to actually bother to set them up. It would be like walking up to an alien and saying "Orange you glad I didn't say banana" or "to get to the other side" and expecting them to start laughing. It just doesn't work. Even the few jokes they do set up are generally killed by awful timing or flat deliveries. The BBC series, on the other hand, took their time to set up the humour and it paid off.

As for the acting itself, while I didn't have much problem with Martin Freeman as Dent or even Sam Rockwell as Zaphod, there were really no great performances. Not that that was necessarily the actors faults as they seemed to have a very poor screenplay to work with.

About the only people who may find this movie at all entertaining would be 10 years olds who might like the visuals, and the four college goofs who sat behind us at the theater. (Of course they were laughing hysterically at the Hitchhiker's inspired "Chicken Little" ad as well as the New Pink Panther trailer which one stated "looks awesome!". So you may want to weigh their opinions with that in mind.)

Basically it comes down to two choices. If you want flash, go to the theatre and watch this movie but if you want substance, go find a copy of the BBC series. I'd suggest the latter.

1.5 out of 5


Post a Comment

<< Home