Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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Oolon Colluphid is my idol

Your #1 Match: INTP

The Thinker

You are analytical and logical - and on a quest to learn everything you can.
Smart and complex, you always love a new intellectual challenge.
Your biggest pet peeve is people who slow you down with trivial chit chat.
A quiet maverick, you tend to ignore rules and authority whenever you feel like it.

You would make an excellent mathematician, programmer, or professor.

Your #2 Match: INTJ

The Scientist

You have a head for ideas - and you are good at improving systems.
Logical and strategic, you prefer for everything in your life to be organized.
You tend to be a bit skeptical. You're both critical of yourself and of others.
Independent and stubborn, you tend to only befriend those who are a lot like you.

You would make an excellent scientist, engineer, or programmer.

Yeah, suitboyskin, this test is about as accurate as the maps from the Flat Earth Society's cartography division...

I saw the new trailer for Revenge of the Sith before Hitchhiker's. It was one of those mini-movie trailers that tells you the whole story. Now I don't need to see it at all...

...although I'm not sure how you can have spoilers for this particular movie

As I discussed in my post from yesterday, I not only point to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (books and radio show) as being a very important influence on the development of my sense of humor, but also as one of the key elements in terms of codifying my worldview. A series of books that has God's Final Message to His All Creation be "We apologize for the incovenience" is certainly hitting on something that most theologans can't quite wrap their heads around. It was therefore with much trepidation that I approached this most recent incarnation.

May I first take a moment to mention that I am the first person to say that movies and books are very different mediums. Making a direct adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be silly. This was, to my sensibilities, proven by the BBC-TV version of the radio show. In order for this to work, what was needed was a grasp of what was the appeal of the book for its fans, and a keen eye to see how to make it work on the big screen. The film is a combination of spot-on adaptation (the Vogons), well-done adaptation (Magrathea) and not-so-well-done changes (Zaphod). The film starts off well enough with a musical number based around the Dolphins mass exodus from Earth, and then continues with varying degrees of success. As expected, the tone is much less acid, although a certain flippant nihilism does find its way into the movie here and there, not sitting too well with the goofier aspects of this version.

On the whole, it certainly was entertaining, but the elements that were added to the film to round out the running time and make it more accessible to wider audiences all seem uncomfortably grafted onto the original material. The most blatant example of this is the beefed up relationship between Arthur and Trillian. The casting of Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent was one of the film's major coups, but the need for him to relate a certain way to Trillian means that there is less of Arthur being the oh-so-British everyman that is the audiences' anchor in the books/radio show. The removal of much of his dryness (which Freeman proved himself adept at in The Office) has the unfortunate effect of minimizing much of the weirdness of the situations he finds himself in.

With the exception of what Dave has termed the "Keep Betelguese White" faction, nobody has anything to say about Mos Def's Ford Prefect, a very different, but valid interpretation of the character than what I had pictured. Def's considerable dramatic skills (see Something the Lord Made, which co-starred Alan Rickman, who is the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android in this movie) are offset by a quirky sense of comic timing, and his portrayal of Ford is a gem. He certainly brings a new dimension to the hitchhiker's main appliance (one can definitely say that Mos Def knows where his towel is, that's for sure). Zooey Deschannel is fine as Trillian, although as I indicated earlier, I am not really that happy with what they've done with her. She comes across as a rather unstable character, while the opposite should be true. This is not the actress' fault, but rather some backtracking done in the screenwriting process. Richard Griffiths and Ian McNiece do great work portraying Vogons, Steven Fry is a perfect choice as the voice of the Guide, Helen Mirren is great fun as the long suffering Deep Thought. I was a bit disappointed with Rickman's deliveries though. I was hoping for a little more Galaxy Quest (which he starred in with Sam Rockwell, who plays Zaphod in this) and less January Man, I guess. One of my favorite characters has always been Slartibartfast, though, and Bill Nighy's performance, from design to delivery, is exactly how I always pictured him. He's one of the best parts of the film.

The special effects are quite good for the most part. Every once and a while there is a howlingly bad one (Zaphod's third arm is the most eggregious example), but when the time comes for a defining moment in the Hitchhiker's universe (the destruction of Earth, the Hyperspacial factory floor at Magrathea), all the stops are pulled out. The film is gifted with some exceptional animatronics courtesy of the Jim Henson Creature Workshop, and their crowning achievement is the pitch-perfect Vogons that they've created. Joby Talbot's score is sprightly and fun, although the real banner musical moment in the film remains Bernie Leadon's, as the actual Hitchhiker's Guide is introduced to the welcome familiar strains of "Journey of the Sorcerer."

Okay, there it is. If you've been paying attention, there's been a major aspect of thhis film that I haven't really gotten to, and that's the man himself, Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Oh, Zaphod, why have they done this to you?

I didn't mind Sam Rockwell's casting in the role, nor even the silly flip-top head idea. I do appreciate the brutal digs at George W. Bush that the film version of the character represents...

...but here's a case where the essence was completely lost in the rewrite, and not, to my sensibilities, for the better. Zaphod was one of the most entertaining characters in the book and radio series, and they have completely demolished his cool. To me, the most defining moment of Zaphod's character occurs in The Restaurant at the End of the Universe:
Zaphod Beeblebrox entered the foyer. He strode up to the insect receptionist.

"OK," he said, "Where's Zarniwoop? Get me Zarniwoop."

"Excuse me, sir?" said the insect icily. It did not care to be addressed in this manner.

"Zarniwoop. Get him, right? Get him now."

"Well, sir," snapped the fragile little creature, "if you could be a little cool about it ..."

"Look," said Zaphod, "I'm up to here with cool, OK? I'm so amazingly cool you could keep a side of meat inside me for a month. I am so hip I have difficulty seeing over my pelvis. Now will you move before you blow it?"

"Well, if you'd let me explain, sir," said the insect tapping the most petulant of all the tentacles at its disposal, "I'm afraid that isn't possible right now as Mr Zarniwoop is on an intergalactic cruise."

Hell, thought Zaphod.

"When he's going to be back?" he said.

"Back sir? He's in his office."

Zaphod paused while he tried to sort this particular thought out in his mind. He didn't succeed.

"This cat's on an intergalactic cruise ... in his office?" He leaned forward and gripped the tapping tentacle.

"Listen, three eyes," he said, "don't you try to outweird me. I get stranger things than you free with my breakfast cereal."

"Well, just who do you think you are, honey?" flounced the insect quivering its wings in rage, "Zaphod Beeblebrox or something?"

"Count the heads," said Zaphod in a low rasp.

The insect blinked at him. It blinked at him again.

"You are Zaphod Beeblebrox?" it squeaked.

"Yeah," said Zaphod, "but don't shout it out or they'll all want one."

"The Zaphod Beeblebrox?"

"No, just a Zaphod Beeblebrox, didn't you hear I come in six packs?"

The insect rattled its tentacles together in agitation.

"But sir," it squealed, "I just heard on the sub-ether radio report. It said that you were dead ..."

"Yeah, that's right," said Zaphod, "I just haven't stopped moving yet. Now. Where do I find Zarniwoop?"

This moment could never happen with the new, de-improved Zaphod, and it is a major flaw in the film. Zaphod's narcissism needs his sharpness in order to balance it out (not justify it, though; there is admittedly nothing in this universe that can justify Zaphod Beeblebrox's ego... let's say this twinkie represents the self interest level of a normal being...), and Zaphod has been converted into a frat boy. And that was very disappointing.

On the other hand, Oolon Colluphid is, in fact, mentioned in the movie! Eccentrica Gallumbits is not, though.

Oh, make sure to stay tuned during the end credits for a classic Hitchikker's bit.

So, there you have it.

I spent today working on the music and later the verses for Zach's candle lighting ceremony on Saturday. I had a blast working on the music because most of it was pretty nifty stuff. My mother did most of the song selection, and there are a few tracks that are subtle digs at some of the family members. Hey, you know my take on it. In the immortal words of Randall Graves, insubordination rules.

I did make the discovery that Jim Nabors is some repugnant shit, though. It's okay, he's only heard for a minute before Elvis takes over from him doing "Viva Las Vegas." My mom and stepdad are going up to Prince's "Delerious," and my uncle David's brood is going up to Jerry Goldsmith's maniacal Gremlins rag. That's guaranteed to raise some eyebrows, too. The Nabors song (which is for my grandparents) is horrific, though.

For myself, I used "Mischief Managed!" as I felt it wouldn't be right for me to go up there to something that wasn't a film score... but Zach's intro for me is "Ever since I was just a young kid, I was terrorized by my brother, the man-eating squid." Nobody will get that but those that have seen the man-eating squid, but suffice it to say that it was an important aspect of his youth. Especially in the summer, when the pool was open...

Tags: cinema, douglas adams, memes

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