diamond geezer

 Friday, April 29, 2005

Screen 4: The HitchHiker's Guide To The Galaxy (PG)
27 years is a long time. A really long time. You just wouldn't believe how vastly hugely mindbogglingly long it is. I mean you may think it's a long time from one bank holiday weekend to the next, but that's just peanuts to the gestation time of this movie. I was a little worried that the long wait might not have been worthwhile, particularly in the face of some tepid reviews, but I was pleasantly surprised by the screenplay's attention to detail and visual inventiveness. This is a film that really knows where its towel is. The script follows the original plot fairly closely, which helps when you're sitting in the stalls mouthing the words, but also adds a chorus of singing dolphins and even a requited love story that definitely weren't in the original, just for good measure. It's also a very British film, so goodness knows what American audiences will make of tea, caravans and a very brief shot of an extinct number 8 Routemaster. Martin Freeman is inspired casting as bewildered Arthur Dent, blundering around the universe in his crumpled dressing gown, and surely Stephen Fry was born to play the voice of the Book - erudite, sardonic and droll. Alas Zaphod Beeblebrox never quite convinces (rather like his second head in the original TV series) and rather too many scenes are cut short in favour of plot development. But do go and see it before it's too late - you never know when the Earth might suddenly be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Mark out of 50? 42.

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