Friday, April 29, 2005

Review: Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Like many fans of British comedy and/or sci-fi, I was concerned when I found the movie was made by Disney. Visions of unspeakably awful American adaptations of British comedy flashed before my eyes ... like Three's Company ... um, and that's about it.

But I was unduly worried, after all, the late Douglas Adams co-wrote the screenplay for this 20-odd years ago.

So why am I reviewing this outrageously funny movie on a blog about leadership? Because it's an example of how one man created a powerful meme that has attracted an astonishingly loyal fan base.

I've consumed the Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy in all its forms: the radio show (which will always be my favourite), the TV show (even though it was on too late for me when I was 8 years old), the book series (a five-part trilogy, as I remember), the record (similar but still substantially different from the radio show), and now the movie.

Each one is magnificent on its own; together they're just as good. Adams' gags are just so intellectually satisfying that it feels like tasting a favourite meal each time.

And another thing. As a child the ridiculousness of the humour appealed to me for its own sake; as an adult I appreciated the biting satire on bureaucracy and other things that make life crazy sometimes.

Full credit to the movie makers. They kept enough from the book (etc.) to satisfy the hardcore fans (the same ones who are concerned that the Daleks look the same in the new-look Dr. Who, and are reaching the heights of ecstacy and consternation mingled as Star Wars III approaches) and enough new, surprising and frankly breathtaking stuff to surprise everyone in the theatre.

It's interesting. What's up with my generation? We've got Dr. Who coming back on TV, we've got Star Wars just wrapping up after 26 years, and we've got Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. My friend who works at Weta Workshops helps make Lord of the Rings souvenirs worth hundreds. This is a generation of kids who haven't grown up - or more likely, we grew up for a bit and didn't like it.


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