(2005) dir. Garth Jennings
viewed: 05/06/05 at Loews Metreon Theatres, SF, CA
It was a getting off early day from work and what movie that I was interested in that was starting at the right time and POW!! here I am revisiting The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, no longer some quirky low-budget 1980’s BBC show, but now a special effects-laden anachronism with a largely American cast.
I had a moderately soft spot for the original tv series, and as a teen had read the first two of Douglas Adams’ books. And I have friends (some who would proudly be called “nerds”) who still are quite ardent fans of this cult of sci-fi humor.
And the first time around, in its time context, I think this was pretty clever and amusing. However, this time, even with all the more sophisticated visuals and effects, this whole concept, pacing, and humor seemed out of place. This story is a story of the early 1980’s, not something that feels very contemporary. As true as it attempts to be, the vision of Adams’ was a uniquely English perspective, with themes that truly commented on the time that it was written.
I tend to like dated Science Fiction more than the real thing, but this film just felt sort of wrong (and it wasn’t particularly clever or funny.) The largely American cast varied in the quality. Though Mos Def turned in the best performance as Ford Prefect, hands down. Still, other than him it all seemed to have the wrong flavor.
That, and it just wasn’t very funny.