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“I’m feeling very depressed” Apr 29

I went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy film last night, which I enjoyed as a pleasant enough way to pass the time on a Thursday evening. I even laughed a few times.

If I’d never read the books (which I’ve read some of), heard the radio series (which I’ve heard some of) or seen the TV series (which I’ve seen all of), I would probably have enjoyed it more. I may well have thought "Gosh, this is an exciting and amusing new world I’m discovering." As it was, I didn’t.

Instead, I couldn’t help thinking "If only that was like it was in the TV series". I wanted Simon Jones instead of Martin Freeman, Valentine Dyall instead of Zoe Wanamaker and Richard Vernon instead of Bill Nighy. (I realise in two of those three cases that was somewhat unlikely.) I wanted more made of Deep Thought’s creation as a calculating machine and less of Zooey Deschanel.

There were plenty of things to applaud. The special effects were marvellous and were the one thing with which a big screen adaptation would always trump any other version. Bill Bailey and the League of Gentlemen were in it. The designs were terrific. There were cameos by theo original Arthur and the original Marvin. Joby Talbot’s music and the So Long and… song were good. The animations for The Book, and Stephen Fry’s voiceover, where great – so why did they virtually disappear from about halfway through?

I’m not sure what the point was, in the end. It felt like the film had been made because it was the only major medium left un-Hitchhikered. It takes the basic story to a new audience, I suppose, and enabled the said special effects. But despite not being one of those perverse Who fans who longs for wobbly sets, I felt myself hankering for the HHGTTG TV series.

On the way out of the cinema, we made up for the film by getting advanced tickets for Episode III.

For an alternative view: Gavin’s review.

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