|The Book||Peter Jones|
|Arthur Dent||Simon Jones|
|Ford Prefect||Geoffrey McGivern|
|Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz||Bill Wallis|
|Zaphod Beeblebrox||Mark Wing-Davey|
|Marvin the Paranoid Android||Stephen Moore|
|The Wise Old Bird||John Le Mesurier|
[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]
2005 / TV
I have to review this from the perspective of someone who can quote large chunks of the original radio series off by heart, which makes it a little difficult to be objective. After all, the bits that are the same won't be as good (since the pictures are so much better on radio, and some of the visuals have already been filled in by the TV series), and the bits that are different will just be wrong, won't they?
Both of these things are true, and the film is only saved by the bits that are new. The film sort of covers the events of the first four radio episodes, from Arthur Dent [Martin Freeman] and Ford Prefect [Mos Def] escaping just before the Earth is demolished by the Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass, to landing on Magrathea, meeting Slartibartfast [Bill Nighy], and finding out the mice commissioned the Earth as a giant computer to find out the question to Life, the Universe, and Everything. The new bits are some diversions along the way, including rescuing Trillian [Zooey Deschanel] who has been arrested for kidnapping the President of the Universe, Zaphod Beeblebrox [Sam Rockwell]. Here the SFX are good (as indeed are those in the vertiginous Magrathean planetary workshop, and some bits from The Book [Stephen Fry]), and there's a nice little in-joke as they pass a robot in a queue who looks suspiciously familiar... There's even a semi-plausible reason for Zaphod's second head.
However, despite the new bits, and some successful re-imaginings of the original bits, the film doesn't work for me. The problem isn't that it keeps whip-sawing between the overly-familiar and the completely novel; I could live with that, maybe, and someone coming to this "cold" would probably love Douglas Adams' inspired lunacy. But the real problem is the stupidly gratuitous happy ending. Look, if you are going to blow up a planet, killing everyone on it, for whatever reason, even for a slightly lame joke (maybe especially for a slightly lame joke), then it should stay blown up, and they should stay dead.
|[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]|
reviewed 22 December 2007