ReviewWriter: Chan Chun KeithWriter Ratings:Overall: Cast:
NAWatch this if you liked:
NAIn the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move. - Douglas Adams
My, my, Mr. Director Garth Jennings. What a conundrum you have yourself in. It is no simple feat to map the stars of the galaxy, dive into the depths of Douglas Adams' intellect, and ponder on the queries of the universe simultaneously. Worst still to condense all that down into a two hour or so movie/documentary. After the ordeal, I am no wiser about the meaning to life, the universe and everything of that sort, but am enlightened on the matters of H2G2: The Movie.
A Brief History of Time:
In the beginning, Douglas Adams wrote the sumptuous sci-fi/adventure/philosophy/comedy radio play The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
which was aired on BBC Radio 4. And it was good. Well, at least that's what the listeners thought. Soon afterwards (but not too soon) Mr. Adams decided to follow up on his astounding success with a novel based on the play. And it was, in British terms, 'Wicked!' (wicked=super). And what better way to compliment your success by writing five additional books to feed the consumers' appetites. The 15 million copies sold, mostly to humans, would slowly engulf the world in a cultural phenomenon of scientific debate, astrological humour, and delphinidae interpretation. His life inevitably ended one day, and in correspondence to the natural laws of the universe, he sold even more copies.
The Expanding Universe (or space - its very, very big):
The original novel revolved around Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), a regular everyday man dealing with the daily struggles of life. The task at hand today would be to deny the town council the pleasure of demolishing his humble residence. Curiously, that should and will become one of Mr Dent's least of worries. You see, the planet earth is unfortunately in the direct path of a new space highway. The Vogons, an alien species with grubby faces and attitudes to match, are charged with the task of destroying this pesky spherical mass, and they do so swiftly and un-remorsefully. The Vogons hold great potential to become a diabolical evil threat to the universe but are confined by they're obsession of bureaucracy and mind-blowingly bad poetry. Its in times like this that it'll be useful to have an alien best friend to help you hitch a ride outta here. Best friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def) will have to do. Coincidently, Ford happens to be the author of the very informative A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
, hence the title of Douglas' novel. From thereon the duo race across space and time, hopping from one adventure to another, while occasionally attempting to solve the frivolous mysteries of life. Universe too big. Story too long. Review column too short. Will not go any further.
The Uncertainty Principle:
Ok before we begin the thorough analysis, let me just clarify that the book itself is absolutely amazing. Amazingly spectacular. Spectacularly wicked. No exaggeration here. Douglas Adams is abundantly endowed with the infamous British humour, wit and sarcasm. Laughing stitches in the cinema, I was not experiencing though. Maybe it was due to already having known the comedic sequences and plot beforehand. I still choose to blame segments of uninspired acting, though. Mos Def playing the alien sidekick should have been more, ummm...funny
. Even the character Zaphod Beeblebrox, the egocentric flyguy President of the Universe wasn't as obnoxious as he should be. And Marvin, the depressed robot who could have bagged quite a few laughs was unamusing to listen to and quite sad. Somehow everything seemed funnier in the book. In fairness though, the complexity of the written novel and the subtle play of words to produce the desired humour effect by Mr Douglas is not easy to emulate on-screen. Plus packing the entire storyline into 120 or so minutes is no cruise in the Milkyway either.
Black Holes Ain't So Black/Don't Panic:
The computer-generated scenery and special effects were quite an eye-pleaser, something you can't get from reading a book. It was also fun to learn more
about the black stuff up there in a documentary cum adventure story setting.
Who says education can't be fun? Finally, as a side reward, the answer to life, the universe and everything shall be disclosed. Somehow I don't think the answer runs parallel to Hawking's theories, but then again what does he know? Quite a steal for RM9 I think...
So Long And Thanks For The Movie:
Being only the third smartest species on Earth, I can only speculate that readers of the book will be slightly disappointed, a minority might be shocked at the pointlessness (like that end one ah?
) but many will still be entertained by its grandeur, unbeknownst that somewhere out there is a book a galaxy apart from the movie capable of tingling every subatomic particle in us.Cinema Online, 23 September 2008