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"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" has this to say about film adaptations:
Whenever a much-loved franchise is being brought to the big screen, there are going to be upset fans. If a film is in development for a particularly long time, say, over 20 years, expectations rise, and the chances of fans being upset increase exponentially. For example, when the film Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace came out, many fans were outraged that the film was anything less than Citizen Kane in a galaxy far, far away. In the case of the film version of Douglas Adams' masterpiece saga, almost every fan had their own version of the film planned out in their head. Many were outraged to discover that Garth Jennings had not, in fact, consulted them as to how tall Marvin the Paranoid Android should be. However, many fans who believe themselves to be more sensible knew going into the film that a perfect Hitchhiker film would be virtually impossible, and therefore finitely improbable, and since the filmmakers do not have an Improbability Drive, a perfect film would not be made. They also knew that the film would be different than any previous version of Hitchhiker, like every previous version was different than any that came before it. Many of these fans were able to leave the theater very satisfied indeed.
I am one of these fans. I had been hyping myself up for the film for a very long time, but I was always keeping myself in check, reminding myself that this would not be exactly how I envisioned it. As an amateur filmmaker, that was hard to do, as I rarely read any book without knowing exactly how I would composite the shot and what the tempo of the score would be. Nevertheless, I kept my own personal view in check, and reminded myself that if I could survive the BBC TV series, I could survive anything that the Guide had to throw at me. As it turns out, I didn't just survive it, I loved it.
The film starts off on the right note with a show-stopping musical number based on one of the most popular lines from the saga. This immediately sets the tone for the whole movie. The song manages to be both hilarious and catchy, and the melody is used very well throughout the whole score. (Incidentally, I must praise Joby Talbot's excellent score, which manages to combine John Williamsian adventurous themes, futuristic electronic beats, and even Broadway-worthy show tunes.)
As much as I loved the dialogue from previous versions about the bypass (Beware of the Leopard, points A, B, and C, etc.), I , unlike a number of fans, do not think the film suffered by having it cut down. Most of the cuts from previous versions, though I would have liked to see them, I was okay with. (I noticed these purist fans didn't seem to complain when Lady Cynthia Fitz-Miltion's speech was cut from the radio version to the book version.) Even though I had always wanted Hugh Laurie in the role, Martin Freeman was an amazing Arthur Dent. Granted, the role was originally written for Simon Jones, but Freeman plays the part very well. The character is not as sarcastic as he has been in the past, but it's understandable given his predicament. Mos Def is the best Ford Prefect I've ever seen. He does an excellent job with the difficult task of conveying Ford as both intelligent and insane. Sam Rockwell is just the annoying prick I always pictured Zaphod as. (Although I'm not sure why he got top billing, but then again, I also wasn't sure why they said "based on the book" and neglected to mention the radio version, except that the book is better known.) Zooey Deschanel is the intelligent, charming, witty astrophysicist Trillian that Sandra Dickinson wasn't. What's more, she actually has a personality in this version. I think that might be a first. The always-wonderful Stephen Fry and Alan Rickman were of course wonderful in their voice roles. Rickman even sounded a bit like Steven Moore. Although I do feel that credit must go to Warwick Davis for providing very Marvinlike motions. Acting without speaking is difficult, and Davis pulled it off well. And Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast...I had read several reviews saying they were amazed at the depth Nighy brought to the character. I sort of shrugged these reviews off, thinking Slartibartfast was a character that it wasn't possible to bring depth to. But Nighy is excellent.
Simon Jones, the TV Marvin costume, and the face of the late Douglas Adams all have excellent cameos as well.
As for the new characters, I heard many complaints that they were pointless additions. (Yes, from the same people who get upset that subplots about man proving the nonexistance of God got left on the cutting room floor.) I, however, didn't think they were distracting from the story or anything, and I felt they were setting things up for the sequel. Also, I enjoyed how the Vogons and the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast were more central to the plot than usual.
I didn't think the love story ruined the film, but then, I've always been a bit of a romantic.
Some people claim that newcomers to the Guide won't be able to follow the plot. I went to see it with a few friends, one of whom had never experienced the Guide in any form, but he followed it perfectly. So, if you are paying attention, you should be able to understand most of the film as best as it can be understood, but just the same, you might want to bring one of your hoopy frood friends who has the radio play, book, TV series, and computer game committed to memory along to explain any loose ends.
All in all, the film, while not perfect, was excellent. It was almost, but not quite, entirely unlike imperfect. 4.5 stars out of 5.
Easily the freaking awesomest DVD of all time.
Every internet geek should be familiar with the genius of the Brothers Chaps and their Homestar Runner cartoons, which first became popular with the release of the Strong Bad Emails in 2002. This DVD collection features the first hundred installments of the usually-weekly short, plus audio commentaries, mockumentaries, puppet stuff, music videos, and more. Matt Chapman proves himself to be quite possible the most talented voice actor since Mel Blanc, and both Mike and Matt show their writing talent, with subtly clever satires on everything from music, to movies, to television, to video games, and most importantly, the Internet, and the Eighties.
Most of the easter eggs from the site are accessible on the DVD, and some new ones have also been included. All in all, this belongs in every Homestar fan's collection, and I hope we don't have to wait too long before the next batch of emails on DVD, or perhaps some of the other cartoons. (I think "Where's the Cheat" deserves to be on DVD, as well as the Marzipan Answering Machines.) It is now my intention to play video games for several hours.
Love: The Movie (2004)
"I have difficulty forming relationships with women, because my last girlfriend was a filthy, vicious ice queen who ruined my life."
Adam Bertocci's latest short film has a more professional feel than most of his earlier works, not to mention more humor. With the Lola Rennt/Star Wars crossover "Run Leia Run" and the one-man blackout short "Sparky", Bertocci provided many laughs and showed a great sense of satire, finding humor in movies and in everyday life. With "Love: The Movie", he returns to both sources, comparing making a movie with falling in love. Although the film might be funnier to a filmmaker, it should be entertaining to anyone. The dialogue is clever, the performances by the cast are excellent, the musical score is quite good, and the ending is everything we've come to expect from Bertocci. If this film has any flaw at all, it is only that it is too short. We can't wait to see what Bertocci could do with a feature-length film budget and resources.
Date Double (2002)
A simple animation test from Adam Bertocci, who later created the fanfilm "Run Leia Run", this shows what two students on a date are *really* saying when they talk. Simple, but clever. It's definitely worth watching for a chuckle.
The Formula (2002)
One of the best. fanfilms. ever.
Created by the geniuses at Digital Llama Productions, "The Formula" is a fanfilm about people making a fanfilm. A simple concept, with a brilliant execution. With hilarious dialog and great in-jokes from the fanfilms community, above-par acting for an amatuer flick, and well-developed characters, this film is a worthy addition to any filmmakers hard drive.
Batman: Dead End (2003)
The "Duality" of Batman fan films
After a highly successful premiere at Comic*Con, this became the first non-Star Wars fanfilm to be hosted by TheForce.Net's Fanfilms.com site. It's very similar to the classic SW fanfilm "Duality"--It starts with a bit of plot development, and then errupts into a butt-kicking fight...and ends somewhat abruptly.
It was very cool, however I have not seen it too many times, and I am not sure if it will have the same "rewatchability" that many fanfilms have. Duality, for example, lost it's magic on me after a while; it has little rewatchability. I am curious to whether or not this will fair the same(because, as I've said, there are many similarities between the films), but we'll have to see.
At any rate, I predict people will sign up at superhero forums asking where to download this without checking Google first, similar to how they sign up for Duality at TFN Fanfilms Forum. ;)
Crazy Watto (2000)
A classic little gem.
This short classic pokes fun at used car commercials. This was one of the first fanfilms I had seen, and I loved every minute of it. It was later, of course, topped by the Z-Team's later films, Darth Vader's Psychic Hotline and Jedi Hunter, but this is still really funny. And I'm still looking forward to Crazy Watto 2: Planetary Liquidator. :D
Run Leia Run (2003)
One of my favorite animated fanfilms
Directed by Adam Bertocci, who I can probably say is one of my best friends that I've never met in person (don't ask), Run Leia Run is a fanfilm parody crossing over The Empire Strikes Back with Lola Rennt. There are many quite funny lines(with a few jokes about the Special Edition, which is a popular subject with internet SW geeks), as well as a great cast of very talented voice actors, including some fanfilm "stars" such as Ben Fletcher(Bounty Trail, Knightquest, Broken Allegiance, and more) as Darth Vader, Darren Scales(The Empire Strikes Backyard) as Emperor Palpatine, and Elizabeth Ascot(the upcoming radio drama Rise of Nobility, and another *very* good online friend of mine) as Padme.
I heartily recommend this fanfilm, although it may be confusing to people who aren't familiar with Lola Rennt.
One of the best KQ games.
I love the King's Quest series. It is the greatest adventure game series ever made. Probably the most popular in the series is KQ6, which features the voice of Robbie Benson as Prince Alexander(aka Gwydion from KQ3). The plot is very reminiscent of KQ2--seeing the Girl in the Tower in the magic mirror, the pawn shop, the genies, etc.--but it is still an excellent game in itself. There are many different ways to beat the game, and you can play it several times without it getting old.
Hardware Wars (1978)
The original SW Parody Fanfilm.
Anyone going to make a parody fanfilm needs to see this, as well as "Indiana Jed" and "The Formula". It is the original spoof fanfilm, made on a shoestring budget with hilariously bad special effects and quite humorous SW spoof lines. Definitely a must-see.