Saturday, June 11, 2005

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so..."

A quote from hitch-hiker's seems appropriate as will become apparent. Apologies for the delay, it's been busy at work and a blog's not the be-all and end-all of my universe, nor really should it. If it is, you really ought to go and smell some of those roses... really.

Anyway, Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy. Or THHGTTG, given all the letters. It's been on at the cinema in Tenby, and i've been watching. And it's not bad. The only trouble is is that, having listened a number of times to the radio version (which is excellent and still the best version) and read the books, the film's a bit....bitty. I know it's got to be a) palatable to the new viewer and b) palatable to US audiences (a and b are not necessarily the same you know. Go on, flame me ya US gits!;)) but there's a fair amount of "killer" lines which are ace in the radio version which are either said out of the side of the mouth and unintelligible in the film or there's just not the timing. It's a harsh judgement I know...Also it feels like too much has been packed in, that someone's gone "ooo, we must have that bit...oh, and the bowl of petunias has to be in"...and they've crammed so much in. I mean, it's interesting that Stephen Fry's guide just disappears for the final twenty odd minutes.

The other problem is that its a bit dated. Take the starting point for each version of the series, Arthur's house being demolished. Yep, we still have bypasses being built, yep we still have protests over it....but the actors look a bit embarassed delivering the lines about how Arthur should have gone to see the plans at the council. Because let's face it, that's all a bit seventies, a bit Monty Python (which again can look dated...chartered accountants just aren't as funny these days, mainly because we're all use to the Python team taking the piss over thirty years)..

Having said that, the film is ace, well worth seeing, especially for the bit where they're all turned into wool people.

But, to move onto a wider point on Douglas Adams. Yep, no doubting he was a genius for coming up with the guide. But, and this goes for both the books and the radio series, once you get past the Hitchhikers guide and the sequel "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", it just goes a bit...weird. And not in a good way. Frankly, in my humble and not worth it opinion, the first two read like a perfectly good story arc (rather like the three Matrix films, for all the bluster from the Wachowski brothers, are in reality a perfect first film and then a long saggey second film cut in two) - the next three books/two or three radio series just feel like being tagged on the end because Mr Adams was being pestered to add more. The first two were his Fawlty Towers. Only then more was added.

Take the radio series. The ending on earth with Arthur, Ford and a load of hair stylists and telephone engineers is perfect, with Louis Armstrongs "What a wonderful World" playing out to the end. The next bit, with Zaphod going off to find Zarniwoop at the hitchhikers guide, the spaceship ending up in a giant statue of Arthur (listen to the series or email me if you haven't heard it)...well, they all just feel like a number of great ideas tacked together, rather than a tightly thought out storyline.

But as I said, that's just me. And for the first two books alone Mr Adams deserves his genius tag, because he's influenced my life and many others in so many ways.

And while I'm on my first update in yonks, have you been reading Sherman's Lagoon? If not, why not ya shit? Come on, click the link, down there on your right, under "Cartoons" (I'm not putting it in this article, I can't be arsed)