Sunday, May 01, 2005

Hoopy!

I took yet another break from the moving thing last night and went up to Albuquerque to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I'd read some fairly negative reviews of the movie, including a couple that complained that it took out all the best jokes and replaced them with less funny ones, but the trailers looked great, and I'd read some interviews with the movie's creators that made me feel pretty confident that they Got It. The upshot of all of which is that I went into it with very few expectations at all, or at most the expectation that there would be some aspects I'd like a lot and some I wouldn't. Which I think ended up being exactly the case. They did cut out some of my favorite lines, even in spots that could have accommodated them perfectly. And they monkeyed around with the basic storyline a lot, which I expected, and which I have no particular negative feelings about, given how flexible said storyline has been over its various incarnations in different media. They did make a particular character-oriented change at the end that struck me as odd, and not much in the spirit of the original, but for the movie, it seemed to work.

I gotta say, though, watching the first scenes -- well, OK, the second scene, after the intro -- was a weird experience, because there was such an air or familiarity to it that it was almost surreal. I kept having flashbacks to the old Infocom text game, for one thing. Arthur gets out of bed and puts on his bathrobe, and I'm thinking, "OK, now, in order to get out of the room, you have to find the aspirin in the pocket..." and actually feeling vaguely surprised when he doesn't do it. And then, as he's lying in front of the bulldozer, I'm thinking, "OK, how sad is it that I actually remember the name of the bulldozer guy? And, hey, they cut out the 'beware of leopard' line, damn it!" As internal monologues go, it was kind of distracting. Fortunately, as it began diverging a bit from familiar territory after that, eventually that hyper-geeky part of my brain shut up and I was able to sit back and just enjoy the ride. And I did enjoy it. It wasn't the best imaginable adaptation of HHGTG to the big screen, but it was fun. I'm really hoping they do Restaurant soon.

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