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Apr 30, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Douglas Adams packs more wackiness in to his novels than any camera can ever dream of reproducing. The newest offering of his work from Disney reiterates this fact. After watching Disney's new movie today, which had been burning, smoking and broiling in the back burner for years, I'd have to say we have some good news and bad news. The good news is, Disney has done it better than the BBC, the bad news is neither is anywhere near the book. But I understand Disney's has been a good effort, as I said earlier it is hard to reproduce DNA's verbal wackiness on film.

Some of the oft-quoted lines from the novel have been included in the movie and I think a lot of definitions and explanations like who Vogons are, what a pan galactic gargle blaster is etc have also been incorporated. What the film lacked(acc.to.me)is the technical finesse you'd expect from a Hollywood film. Although there are some commendable CGI sequences like the view from the Vogon ship as it shoots up from the earth, the movie lack the usual slickness of Hollywood special effects. Maybe they were deliberately cutting down on the CGI because afterall it is a British movie, they might not want it to look like another Matrix Revolution or Rotations. But I thought the opening credits sequence looked like something out of a home movie edited by an amateur.

The fans of THHGTTG will definitely flock to the theaters to check how the story turned out on the big screen, but one thing I am certain is that not many newbies are going to get converted in to DNA fans after watching this movie. It is hard for someone who has not read DNA to comprehend what the fuss is all about. It does not have the almost impossible goal the heroes of the Lord of the Rings(another book series turned in to movie) were striving to reach. What made both readers and non-readers appreciate LOTR is the collective baited breath on which the story rode along the magnanimously impressive landscapes.

THHGTG is not a goal oriented story, although some additional characters(a new villain for instance) and more stress on the personal relationships between the characters seems like an effort from the part of film makers to make it a goal oriented movie. The crazy digressions that pepper THHGTTG-the novel and make it unique, cannot be done effectively in a movie which has to stick to a definite time frame and keep the audience's attention at the same time.

For me, it was good to see my favorite novel on the big screen finally. I was not much impressed by the BBC-TV series, probably because it felt really dated by the time I saw it in the late 90s. My advice would be if you have not read any of DNA, don't waste your money on this movie, you can probably rent it sometime later. And if you have read DNA, you probably would not need my advice.

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