HTG2: Not to Panic!

Guide to the Movie version of the Hitchhiker's Guide
It's really hard to make a movie based on a book that is simply not just famous, but a major cult classic and please everybody. A sort of book that inspires a generation of nerds to name their products: Trillian and Babelfish, automatically raises the bar. With such books: some are pissed because the movie is not true to the actual story in the book; others complain that it is just like the book and the director did nothing special. In my opinion, it's not really the authenticity to the author's work that matters so much, but how much it matched our own imagination. Anyone who has read the book has developed some concept of what a Vogon looks like, how it might behave, etc. and you will like the movie if the director did a good job depicting it with respect to your concept of it. I saw the movie last night and despite my initial doubts about the actors and the director I was not totally disappointed. Those who see the movie without having read the book will love it, because it is that sort of book - wacky and weird.

Stephen Fry was perfect as the voice of the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and using Mos Def, a black actor to be Ford Prefect was a stroke of genius. That Sam Rockwell (Zaphod Beeblebrox) had to be an over-the-top American was a no-brainer. Martin Freeman was quite the bumbling, neurotic, panicking Arthur Dent that I had imagined and you can't but help falling in love with Zooey Deschanel who plays Tricia Macmillan or Trillian. However, Marvin the Paranoid Android with the GPP (Genuine People Personality) was the show stealer.

The Movie:
It was comforting to note that Douglas Adams wrote the screenplay and was quite deeply involved in the production of this project (He is listed as one of the executive producers). That should rest fears about being true to the author's original vision. Garth Jennings, who I called as an unknown, did a good job using the special effects for some of the weird ideas in the HTG2 and I must applaud him for the selection of music. Though I thought that the 'Thanks for All the Fish' song was kinda lame. So much money can take you only so far and I suspect they had a major budget problem; which explains some of the casting and low-quality of visual effects. The movie does not deserve to be completely panned and it does do a decent job given the constraints of budget and talent. It's kind of hard to make fantasy movies in a post-Lord-of-the-Rings-era. Peter Jackson has set such a high standard that few movies even with big budgets will be able to match.

Bottomline: Movie is alright. No reason to panic!

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