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I really didn't like it
It just wasn't funny, didn't have any warmth and didn't have any of the attributes that made the radio show/books and even the TV series so charming.
Zaphod is very irritating and has no charm. I really didn't care for the performance given in this release. The accent is wrong and we get no sense of the duplicity of the character.
Most of the dialogue (those beautifully timed words of Douglas Adams) is garbled and badly delivered.
Marvin looks rubbish and didn't have enough time on screen.
Where was the battle tank sequence Douglas promised us? Trillian was too quirky and stupid. She's supposed to be an astrophysicist and highly intelligent. She just comes across as sappy and pouty. I didn't fancy her, either.
Ford was OK, but is supposed to be cooler than Zaphod and far more reluctant to get involved in things. Especially danger and rescues. He would far rather go to a party.
The Heart Of Gold looked poorly designed. It is supposed to be an artistic statement of scientific brilliance.
The Vogons shouldn't be so heavily involved. Their look was OK, I guess.
Deep Thought was poorly realised.
Martin Freeman was actually quite good, but the character of Arthur is not supposed to be heroic. He's meant to be far more a fish-out-of-water.
Slartibartfast was well played by Bill Nighy.
Stephen Fry was well cast. I accept that many of the book's lines would have to be cut for running time.
I didn't think the readouts from the book were all that. I would have thought in this time of DVDs, Zoom function etc, half the point of making the film would be to cram the screen with an overload of Guide information that would please the die hard fans and make the whole release a higher quality product. I believe the book readouts from the Making Of Hitchhiker's (Documentary about the TV series,If anybody's seen that) were much nearer the mark. To be fair the style of the readouts in the film was different and reasonably interesting and funny at times.
My girlfriend just said that even if you were watching it as someone who didn't know the originals that well, it wasn't that great or interesting. And she doesn't know it that well, plus is a total babe.
Why couldn't Zaphod have had two heads (ie, separate craniums)? Again, in this digital age it would have been very cool to see how it would look if done correctly. Quite frankly this came as a huge disappointment to me for one very simple reason. Name one other character in a film or TV show who has two heads. It would have been iconic and unique to see it. It could be very easily achieved and could have been very funny. It also would have made a very cool action figure.
Anyway, I'm ranting. I will just say that I am (obviously) a die hard fan. In my defence though, that means that I have seen, read, heard every version of the Trilogy in 5 parts and am more than happy to go with the inconsistencies in all the previous tellings of the story. I have no problem with it having different twists of plot or being reduced to 90 minutes or so. What I was particularly not happy about is that the only thing that made me laugh out loud was the line delivered by the Magrathean computer answering service: "In order to improve our service delivery, your death may be recorded and used for training purposes".
Unfortunately, this release is now the definitive movie version of HHGG that we've/I've been waiting for for 20 years. No one is planning to make a remake (At least for another 10 years in the current movie making climate) and we're stuck with, what to my mind, is a half hearted and indifferent movie.
Finally, some positives: 1) Certain sequences looked very good. I liked the whale and the factory floor at Magrathea particularly. I'm not a huge fan of digital effects, but they were well used here.
2) Simon Jones was in it, as was Douglas' face at the end.
3) Arthur's house is much better than the one used in the TV series, ie not especially nice or charming.
4) It ended and I still have the radio tapes and my imagination.