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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Screening Reviews 394

Doctor Monkey writes "Initial reviews are up at Ain't It Cool News from a 'work-in-progress' screening of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy in Pasadena, CA. Reaction seems mixed-to-positive, mostly due to some uneven performances. But it looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of Adams' work."
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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Screening Reviews

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  • from the marvin-i-love-you-marvin-i-love-you dept. Really, this must be the sickest dept line troll i've ever read.

    Aside from that, i must say that the review was horrible. Too long, too many different font sizes used, too many "jokes" that weren't funny. Oh, and if you're referring to something "reported on before" (eg the problem with Zaphod's heads), then could you please give at least some hints as to what the "problem" might be?

    Bah. Over and out.

  • Book to movie? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Quasar1999 ( 520073 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:45PM (#11507622) Journal
    Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book? Some are satisfactory conversions... but I have never had one instance where a good book became a better movie...
    • Fight Club (Score:3, Insightful)

      I watched the movie first and then read the book later. I couldn't believe how close the two were. And I honestly enjoyed the ending to the movie better than the ending to the book. (The only thing that was really changed).
    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by daniil ( 775990 ) *
      Breakfast at Tiffany's. Both the book and the movie were great. Trainspotting. A Clockwork Orange. 2001: A Space Odyssey -- the movie was (IMO) better than the book. Blade Runner. And so on.
    • Roger Rabbit,? (Score:4, Informative)

      by AtariAmarok ( 451306 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:50PM (#11507688)
      "Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book"

      Here's one: "Who Framed Roger Rabbit" (adapted from "Who Censored Roger Rabbit")

    • Most movies don't turn out that great. Movies based on books don't suck any more than the average, but the only difference is that they have higher expectations set on them.

      As for the Hitcherhiker's Guide movie, Adams himself worked on the script before his tragic and untimely passing, so it can't by definition be a bastardization of his work, since it is in part his work.
    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by rackhamh ( 217889 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:53PM (#11507721)
      Shawshank Redemption.

      Okay, it was a novella, not a book, but how many people had heard of the story before the movie? Both the story and the movie were quite good, IMO.

      Actually, the fact that the original story was a novella probably helped a lot, since the movie was able to include pretty much the whole story. When you try to convert a full-length book, a lot gets left out by necessity.
      • Yeah, and by Stephen King, no less. You can probably argue that the majority of the movies adapted from his works (that were released in theaters anyway) were superior to the book.
        • I think the exact opposite. I can't think of a single example other than Shawshank ...(maybe The Shining), where to movie was better than the book.

          Pet Cemetery? Cujo? The Dark Half? The Dead Zone? The Stand?

          The most recent disappointment was Dreamcatcher. The movie was awful, but I really enjoyed the book. I suppose it's all personal opinion anyway.
          • I think the exact opposite. I can't think of a single example other than Shawshank ...(maybe The Shining), where to movie was better than the book.

            Stand By Me?


      • "The Shining".
      • Yupp, mod parent up.

        The book lacked any finesse what-so-ever. In the movie the 'Hero' got rich by shoving all his money upp his ass before he went to jail.

        Movie: He stole it from the 'evil' warden.

    • I wonder how a movie of HHGTTG could surpass the book. It just seems that there are things you read about which would be difficult to depict in the movie. How would they depict Vogon poetry for example? If it's supposed to make ears bleed and victims gouge out their eyes, would it be played to the audience? (I doubt anything Hollywood comes up with would have the same effect.. knock on wood)

      Still, I'll probably go see it.
    • Having recently reread and reviewed the Philosopher's Stoned I'd have to say I found the movie to be a nearly flawless adaptation of the book. Great casting, direction and cinematography.
    • by RyuuzakiTetsuya ( 195424 ) <.ten.xoc. .ta. .ikiat.> on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:58PM (#11507807)
      Passion of the Christ.

      Oh wait..
    • Jurassic Park. The film wasn't exactly a masterpiece, but the book was a pile of crap.
    • by rufusdufus ( 450462 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:59PM (#11507834)
      Hitchhickers guide was originally a radio program. The books are derived from the radio scripts.
    • Hunt For Red October. It's my undestanding that there's so much boring detail in the book that you could probably actually operate a nuclear submarine after reading it.
    • The Right Stuff.
      Hey the movie was almost as long as the book, but
      the book was a little too long.
    • Not applicable (Score:4, Informative)

      by JLavezzo ( 161308 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:04PM (#11507895) Homepage
      Douglas Adams seems to have looked at everything as a work in progress. His attitudes are generally the opposite of the tendency that many folks have to "canonize" works. "The Hitchhikers Universe" is really a Multi-verse like Adams tried to portray in "Mostly Harmless." The book he wrote was different from the earlier radio show he wrote and the movie (he helped write) will be different from the book and the radio show. Different, not wrong, incorrect or inaccurate. And if it turns out to be bad, it can be just bad (or not great) without that judgment carrying any moral connotations.

      I can't really think of any parallels that match very well. The closest thing I can think of is the way old (pre 1900) folk songs used to 'mutate' or be adapted to suit the new singer(s). Lyrics would change, rhythms would change. The new way of singing it wasn't a 'wrong' way, just different. And the artist was able to make a new statement and connect with his audience. This hasn't happened much since the dawn of strong copyrights. The very unusual aspect of H2G2 is that it's the original artist who's doing the adaptations.

      I for one hope it's a great film. I don't, and in many ways am glad, expect it to be the book pulled out of my imagination and put on screen. If Disney messes it up, it won't ruin the books for me.
    • Requiem for a Dream. Aronofsky's visual style and Clint Mansell's music were brilliant.
    • Firestarter.

      The *only* substantial change was in who they contacted to break the story at the very end. In almost every other item, it was word-for-word accurate with the excellent book.

      Christine was fairly close as well.

      While Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory wasnt THE SAME as the book series, it was true to the spirit, and imho, was definitely "near as good" as the books.

    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by oirtemed ( 849229 )
      A book and a movie are APPLES and ORANGES. Anyone who whines or cries about how it ruins the book, or isn't the same, is really missing the whole point. Books and movies are two different forms of art. With the restrictions of movies, one cannot accomplish everything a book can. The reverse is also true as there are things that can be done via film that pure text cannot accomplish. If you can't appreciate a movie as a seperate entity than the book, then I pity you. How could you even measure whether the bo
    • People who have read the books are likely to be disappointed. They enter the theatre with some nostalgic notion to the way they felt when they read the books. The movie isn't for them, though. It is for those people who've never heard of the book series. Think Lord of the Rings.
    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:2, Informative)

      by Amadawn ( 43796 )
      Neil Jordan's adaptation of "Interview with the Vampire" with Tom Cruise, Brad Pitt, Antonio Banderas and even Kristen Dunsk was MUCH better than the Anne Rice's book!

      I saw the movie first and I thought "that must be a great book". So I read it and I was very disappointed. Anne Rice has a great imagination but she just can't write (IMVHO). The book seemed slow and barroque (in the worst possible way) compared to the movie.

      I must confess that I read the book in Spanish so perhaps the translation was not ve
    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Rombuu ( 22914 )
      Contact and Hunt For Red October, are both better movies than books. Probably because the books were not written by particularly talented writers.
      • I disagree about Contact. Don't get me wrong, the movie was very good, as most of Zemeckis work, but the book is terrific and one of my favorite sci-fi reads of all time. There's a A LOT of interesting stuff in the book that was left out of the movie.
    • In truth, I've only watched the movie. Considering the awards both the movie and the book won, I thought I'd toss it out there.
    • The Godfather
    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Naikrovek ( 667 )
      Everything Douglas Adams wrote, he rewrote differently later. Readers have come to expect a certain level of change from him... to not get that amount of change in HHGG's next incarnation would be a greater change, and blasphemy.

      To not change HHGG per incarnation would be too great of a change.

      I'm not kidding. I would be disappointed if the movie were exactly like the book. DA did not intend it to be exactly like the book.

      any real DA fan would know this.
    • I've got one for you: The Hunt for Red October. Clancy's novel was interesting, but long and winding, with characters less well-defined than in the film and a lot of technobabble (OK, so it was probably REAL technobabble, but it was tiresome nevertheless). The movie was a great improvement - an intelligent action/adventure that kept the audience guessing about Captain Ramius's intentions. In fct I found all of the first three Clancy movies to be general improvements.
      • Re:Book to movie? (Score:3, Interesting)

        by hachete ( 473378 )
        I think "second-rate" books - i.e. books that aren't canonized as "classic" or great - tend to make better movies. Take Jane Austen books: they rarely make "great" movies because the director is often constrained by the expectations of the audience, particularly those who wish to defend Austen's reputation. The director is less likely to tear it apart and make it into a decent film. See adaptations of Shakespearean plays. The keyword is usually "faithful". Once that comes into play, then you know you're lik
    • The Green Mile [] was a terrific adptation from the 600 pages novel. Frank Darabont did a great job with The Swawshank Redemption [] as well, also a novel by Stephen King.
    • Re:Book to movie? (Score:3, Informative)

      by jesterzog ( 189797 )

      Can someone please give examples of when a book converted to a movie was anywhere near as good as the book?

      Well in this case, it's really a movie converted from a radio series, which the books came after... or a TV series, which is also widely respected by some as being just as good, sometimes better.

      As someone else pointed out, though, Douglas Adams really treated all incarnations as equally valid to his universe, even when they blatantly contradicted each other... and he's commented on this ma

  • by serutan ( 259622 ) <> on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:46PM (#11507629) Homepage
    Good to know some studio exec didn't decide that the answer should be 43.

    For those interested the BBC radio version is available on various p2p systems. Pretty good I think.
  • by spoonyfork ( 23307 ) <spoonyfork&gmail,com> on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:46PM (#11507631) Journal
    Here's a linky [] to the toys and office products from the movie. Marvin looks too cute and I want one of those mugs!
  • by ed.han ( 444783 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:46PM (#11507641) Journal
    michael quoth: "looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of adams' work."

    this is actually IMHO the best a fan should ever hope for WRT film adaptations of a cherished book/series/whatever.

    • Being that Adams himself worked on the movie before he died, it can't by definition be a bastardization of his work. Since the movie itself falls under the category of "his work." Unless you consider it to be a bastardization of itself, but for that you would get a recursion error.
    • Correct me if I'm wrong, but as far as I know the only book that has not been bastardized by hollywood was "Jurasic Park". Even if the book was changed somewhat (say, the raptors) IMO it was generally for the better.

      For any other book, I don't know of a good port that was done. And "Star Ship Troopers" still gives me nightmares about the terible bastardization they did with it. (If I ever get my hands on whoever did the screen play...)
      • I'm sorry to say that "Jurassic Park" was a bastardization of the book even if Michael Crichton was involved. The book posed John Hammond as much more selfish and greedy than the movie. There was a missing t-rex, aviary, raptor escape, river raft scene, Hammond's death, etc. Even the heart of the book's ending was just dead wrong in the movie.

        Now that said, the film turned out very well but it might have well been called something other than "Jurassic Park." Still I prefer the book.

        Deviating from a bo
      • And "Star Ship Troopers" still gives me nightmares about the terible bastardization they did with it.

        Have you seen the sequel []?
    • I agree. I don't think a movie version can ever really live up to the books in this case, due to the style of humor and whatnot. However, I think the demand was so high, and people had been waiting so long, that this movie simply HAD to be made, just to get it done. Whether it sucks or not, at least it was made, something like 25 years after the idea was first floated.
  • I have to admit I was one of those turned off by the first still I saw: the awful looking Marvin that looked like a pokemon. Whatever the visual flaws of the old BBC production, I thought the clunky boxy look of the Paranoid Android was perfect. This new one makes "Twikki" from Buck Rogers seem like Robby the Robot in comparison. I also read that they got rid of Zaphod's extra head and put it on his tongue. Hope that is a wild rumour.
    • I read an article somewhere saying it was in his nose. The reason for it was tied up with the Church of the great green archelsneezer or whatever that is...
    • I thought it was just perfect... doesn't need to be re-done.
      • "I thought it was just perfect... doesn't need to be re-done"

        Same here, actually. I hated everything about Dr. Who, but loved everything about the HHGTTG adaptation (which, I believe, was made by the same outfit!).

    • Oh, and Marvin is actually a clone now, not a robot, and Arthur Dent is a woman. But the answer is still 42.
    • I have to admit I was one of those turned off by the first still I saw: the awful looking Marvin that looked like a pokemon.

      Am I the only one who immediately thought that the movie's portrayal was right on the money? Marvin was built to be a "little plastic pal who's fun to be with" and had only the depressing sounding voice to betray his inner ennui. (Read: malfunctioning Genuine People Personality) Remember, he was built by the Sirius Cybernetics Corporation, the same people who made those cheerful elev

  • Adams wrote it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FunWithHeadlines ( 644929 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:47PM (#11507649) Homepage
    "But it looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of Adams' work."

    Since Adams wrote the script from his own books, that's not too surprising. The acting, who knows? But unless they wanted to deliberately destroy the approved script, it would stand to reason that it would have the usual Adams touch. A touch that has worked in print and on radio, so here's hoping it works in film.

  • tv spots (Score:5, Funny)

    by Gunark ( 227527 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:48PM (#11507666)
    "not a complete bastardization of Adams' work" -- Doctor Monkey ... wonder if they'll use that one in the TV commercials.
  • by pdhenry ( 671887 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:49PM (#11507680)
    In other news, the BBC series is available on Netflix [].
  • by acousticnoise ( 854269 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:52PM (#11507718) Homepage
    It's 42
  • In related news... (Score:4, Informative)

    by hollismb ( 817357 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:53PM (#11507730) Homepage
    There's also a fairly good Q&A with the film-makers at Coming Soon! []. It's hard to take much of what you read at AintItCool seriously, when you consider that the guy reviews movies from the standpoint of a five year old at best.
  • by clontzman ( 325677 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:56PM (#11507766) Homepage
    How long until the cries of "Garth Jennings raped my childhood" begin?
  • AICN (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Skyshadow ( 508 ) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:56PM (#11507768) Homepage
    The thing about AICN is that they're complete and utter jibbering idiots.

    They routinely give lousy movies glowing reviews ("Freddy vs Jason was top-notch fashizzle!"). Some of it I can understand -- these folks like movies and get excited about them, so they're more optomistic in their reviews. Fine, whatever, what still doesn't mean anyone should ever listen to one of their reviews. Ever,

    The only usefulness I ever, *ever* get out of them is in determining which movies are at the absolute bottom of the heap. If AICN says that a movie's bad (or gives it "mixed reviews"), that generally means it's so god awful that St. Peter will keep me out of heaven when I die when he finds me carrying the ticket stub.

    • I reached the part of the review where it says "Rather than beginning with the imminent demolition of one Arthur Dent's flat (a la the book),..." and decided that either the reviewer hadn't remembered much about the book, or was trying to use a half-remembered British-ism and failing. I know it's splitting geek hairs to point it out, but Arthur lived in a house. A simple, bulldozable house. Had he lived in a flat (an apartment, for non-British speakers) Prosser would have needed heavier equipment.
  • by nganju ( 821034 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @04:57PM (#11507785)
    "But it looks like the film is not a complete bastardization of Adams' work."

    Since the original radio scripts were substantially different from the books, and the books were substantially different than the TV special, there really hasn't been any single consistent version of the story line.

    Actually, since incessant change is the only thing that is consistent, the only way to not bastardize the spirit of the original story is to substantially change it.

  • Whoa, a Hollywood adaptation of a beloved sci-fi classic disappoints and robs the original of most of its joy?

    This is my shocked face. :|
  • I was going to read the article.. but then I remembered the last HHGG stuff on AICN and decided against it.

    No matter what they say it'll probably be completely wrong if not down right lies.
  • huh? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by geoffspear ( 692508 ) * on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:01PM (#11507876) Homepage
    it's possible and, in this reviewers opinion, likely that Adam's vast and flip universe is genius best left on the page.

    Uh, don't you mean best left on the radio?

    Ok, to be fair, the TV series was kind of bad, and some humor works a lot better in print than you can do on the radio. But this is sort of a unique adaptation in that the subject matter has already been adapated into every form imaginary. It's not like a crappy movie based on a Tom Clancy book, where the entire plot is changed because a movie about middle eastern terrorists nuking the Super Bowl would be insensitive.

    The movie would have turned out better if DNA had spent the entire filming sitting next to the director and changing the script on the fly. Wanker reviewers who've only read the book would complain about details being changed, but major changes happened between the radio series and the books and they just made things better. Bah.

  • No version of the guide is consistant with another. Why the film should follow the book exactly when DNA himself, in early versions, deviated from it liberally, is beyond me.
  • by amnesiaWind ( 613053 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:06PM (#11507929)
    i'm a fan of Adams' work, but i hardly think some random opinion of a movie that isn't even finished yet is news worthy...
  • I wonder how this will turn out: movie worse than book like jurassic park or movie better than book like forrest gump?
  • Hitchhiker Movie FAQ (Score:3, Informative)

    by yomahz ( 35486 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:09PM (#11507974)
    Ran across this the other day. []

    Gives some really good insight on what exactly is going on with the movie (in regards to the casting, plot, etc.): =2 288
  • question (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mohrt ( 72095 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:12PM (#11508023) Homepage
    How do you convey vogon ships hanging in the air much like a brick doesn't on the big screen?
  • Infocom Version (Score:3, Interesting)

    by buckhead_buddy ( 186384 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:42PM (#11508416)
    The Infocom text-adventure of the Hitchhiker's Guide should be a requirement for every high school student considering a career in computer science. Unfortunately the plot of the movie may simplify some of the rougher puzzles in the game.

    ***Possible minor spoilers***

    It's been a long time since I've played the game, but I still recall the way one acquires tea is a nice way to approach the concept of double negation and the final puzzle reminds me of the frustration of hunting for bugs in a program with a poor debugger and finding the bug to be inadequate tools rather than the concept of what one is solving.

    *** End spoilers ***

    As an eighth grader playing this game, I thought this was an incredibly frustrating and ultimately quite enlightening and satisfying game to play.

    I'm sure there will be computer games based on the HHGTTG movie, but whether they are rehashes of Frogger with different character maps and models or whether they actually pay homage to the brilliance of the Infocom game remains to be seen.
  • by tedrlord ( 95173 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @05:51PM (#11508533)
    I remember going to see Douglas Adams at a local bookstore a couple of years before he passed away, and even then he spent half the discussion talking about the movie. He was really excited about this. I've been waiting for it for a long time.

    Of course it will be different from the book, but he made sure to keep what he could. This may be a different screenplay entirely, but I really hope not. I remember one of his concerns was whether he could accomplish some of the scenes with the special effects back then, but by now I'm thinking it should look really polished.
  • Bastardization? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CashCarSTAR ( 548853 ) on Friday January 28, 2005 @06:09PM (#11508780)
    Geeez. Talk about a neophyte reaction to it. The reality is, the HHGTG universe is constantly in a state of flux. Between the radio series and the books, there are vast differences.

    A movie that played the book "straight", would be the REAL bastardization.
  • HHGTTG (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JWSmythe ( 446288 ) <> on Friday January 28, 2005 @09:27PM (#11510378) Homepage Journal

    Ok, here's my flame bait for the year.

    I read the comments on both the linked site, and here. It seems that a lot of people haven't actually read the books. I've read them a few times. Unfortunately, I don't have a copy here right now, or I'd quote from it. I've bought several over the years, but the seem to get 'borrowed' and never returned.

    In the preface of one edition, Mr. Adams says something to the effect that the radio show was just something they threw together for fun. The book was the radio show, but they switched around the episodes to make the chapters, and changed plenty of things. The television show was the low-budget attempt to visualize it, poking fun at himself through the whole thing. The game was yet another scrambled attempt.

    I'd fully expect the movie to be different than the radio show or the book. It's the way he would have wanted it. Every version of the story has been different, why should this one follow verbatum in the footprints of the previous?

    I've listened to parts of the radio show, read all the books a few times, and watched the television series. I even beat the game when I was a kid on my old Apple IIe.

    Now for the flame bait.

    Books and movies will always be different. There are particular things you simply can't illustrate in either medium. The best example I can think of for this was on the "Stargate" Lowdown, on the SciFi channel. The actors were suppose to be looking at this giant spaceship taking off, and being amazed by how huge it was. They were really looking at a blue screen. The script just said a "really big spaceship". After the special effects guys got done with it, they were like "Ooohhh, a *REALLY* big spaceship". The visual effects were more dramatic than what they imagined from the written word on the script.

    When you read a book, your imagination fills in all the blanks. What is a "really scary ugly monster"? They can go into details of arms, legs, eyes, size, etc. But, until you see something like the monster on Aliens, you didn't understand, "Oh, *REALLY* scary ugly monster.".

    To one person, the movie may be tremendous, because they didn't imagine so deeply. To some, it may not be as great. I'm impressed by seeing what other people have put together. Sure, there are plenty of movies that I think absolutely sucked. I saw "Darkness" a few weeks ago. I kept waiting for it to get good. But I'm sure there are plenty of people who liked it.

    Plenty of the science fiction that I like, bore the shit out of other people. I grasp ideas that they try to throw around as truth, while some people draw a blank at the idea of alternate dimensions, or the fabric of space. "Fabric? There's a t-shirt holding the universe together?" Some people are confused by the fact that light is influenced by gravity.

    HHGTTG is just fun. Hmmm, the earth is blown up by big green construction workers, and a couple guys using a thing shaped like a thumb hop up to a spaceship, are thrown into space, and land on another spaceship with an Infinite Improbability Drive powered by a cup of tea, stolen by a drunkard two headed party animal who just happened to be the president of the universe? It's not serious, its humor.

    I look forward to watching the movie. Too bad I wasn't invited to the preview, I'm only a few miles away from Pasadena.

Never tell people how to do things. Tell them WHAT to do and they will surprise you with their ingenuity. -- Gen. George S. Patton, Jr.