Thread: HHGTTG - film discussion
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Posted Friday 18th February 2005 (10:42am)
Nooooooooooooo! I watched a trailer for it last night and I want to shoot myself! Looks like the Merry Cans have done the same to HHGTTG as they did to Red Dwarf and it ain't funny anymore!!!! What have they done for Ford and Marvin? Please, please, please leave it alone..... the BBC did a great job with the radio plays, the series was great and the books, of course, fabulous... but please, America, don't try and make it into a movie!
Apologies to Merry Cans but what is it with your film industry that has to take a fantastic, cult status book or series and turns it into some bland, politically correct twaddle? I'm sobbing into my tea.
Virumor Posted Friday 18th February 2005 (11:20am)
It's okay Vee, stuff like that always happens when one's favourite book is turned to film. Been there, done that. It's just an adaptation, blablabla.
Shaya puma Posted Friday 18th February 2005 (04:13pm)
This is going way off thread, but in response to Vee: Merry Cans? Note the director and cast.
(Anyway, we're not some homogenious blob of population with one Will whatever our Fearless Leader says. For instance, while the current president was elected by 31 percent of the electorate, 29 percent voted otherwise and, worst of all 40 percent didn't vote. Further, however Merry Canonical I may be, noone consulted me about how to film Hitchhiker's Guide.)
Oh, hiya Grep! Welcome home. We're just chatting over here.
Posted Friday 18th February 2005 (04:37pm)
Vee -- Well, I have only seen the one trailer of Earth blowing up, so I think I may have missed the destruction of the novel to which you are referring. I, however, do believe that many movies we make for the mass market are turned into very politically correct, very happy-go-lucky works that lose their poignancy. There are many works done by independent film companies that have not lost that certain spark though. I guess I was just hoping that Hitchiker's wouldn't be one of those that have lost their spark...BUT, no matter how much you want to deny it, you can't pretend like Brits are not taking part in the making of this film.
Hi again, Ant . Like Shaya says...just chattin' over here...
Kurt Posted Friday 18th February 2005 (04:45pm)
This is a subject which myself inculded and some collegues have been discussing of late. Will HHGTG be a good film. I am quite skeptical of this some of the characters have been changed to conform with the views of the world today. which has happened in a few films I have watched. now many persons would say that this doesnt matter but I think that it does. HitchHikers worked as it was seen to be very English Arthur Dent mild good mannered English man and then Ford an alien but still you thought he was some eccentric englishman. It worked because of the english humor. But as we have seen with many shows which the the american treatment they are terrible. Let us hope that we our wrong and that this will be sumthin else indeed..
Posted Friday 18th February 2005 (04:57pm)
Yeah, unfortunately, many Americans don't quite "get" the English humor (I'm American so I can say that) . They take good satire and turn it into...well...let's just say they change it into something not quite as funny. Americans have never been very good with satire, our Puritanical roots I suppose. The British have made it an art form. I'm not saying that there aren't Americans who are good at satire -- many brilliant satirists exist here; it's just not something that the mass American market has bought into. *sigh* Most want humor they can enjoy without thinking about it, surface-level humor (again, this excludes most Americans who are on this site though).
I saw an interview with Douglas Adams once wherein he said that he was surprised on his first visit to the USA that Yanks weren't stupider than Brits, that we were just as interesting and sophisticated. His impression before that was based on our TV and movies. He concluded that for some reason we would tolerate entertainment of much lower quality than they would. He couldn't figure out why.
Something about American TV that people don't register is that it isn't primarily a medium of entertainment, it's a marketing device. That's what pays for it: that's who it serves.
I wonder if being a smaller country means our humour is more contagious and it is accepted countrywide that enough people enjoy satire etc for it to be an exploitable genre whereas in the States the broadcasting companies need a bigger slice of pie to keep business profitable. Therefore they tend to play safe more than we do.
Hey - we gave you Eddie Izzard, Bill Bailey, Red Dwarf, Black Books, Spaced and many more. Well, lent rather than gave. You can't be all that bad at humour.
Anyway - back to the trailer. I know there are strategic Brits in the cast and crew. Bills Bailey and Nighy and also Simon whatsit from the original series. I'm afraid that 's not enough to redeem it. HHGTTG is, as someone said earlier, populated by quintessential Englishmen. The whole book works on an eccentric level not crass humour for the masses and not by 'updating' it or 'politically correcting' it.
Mind you.... it's not the end of the world. Or is it?
Can't wait to see how they've spoiled Hitchhiker's, though...Ought to be, uh, interesting...
It rarely needs budget, too. Some of my all-time favorites involve no special effects, just writing and acting. Like"Seance on a Wet Afternoon", "The Horse's Mouth," "Kind Hearts and Coronets" or "Love, Actually." (I'm slightly embarassed about loving "Love, Actually," but I really do.) What American movies seem to mostly disregard is writing and mostly focus on is glitz.
I never heard the original product of HHGTTG, the radio play. The first thing I got was the books, then the TV show. The TV show is a good example of the superiority of writing over effects. It's great, (I love it, I bought it) but with absolutely primitive sets and effects.
The trick to living an artistically rich life in the USA is to ignore most things. It's not easy: it gets slammed into your face constantly. I know a swampload of information about Brittany Spears and I want to know nothing.
I think I am a little bristly about what V posted because basically I agree.
The most interesting thing about American news programmes is they start with the local news then national and finally if they can be bothered to mention it international - this reflects the sociaty quite well, little importance is placed on anything going on anywhere else in the world! In other words a great deal of americans simply don't care.
The vast majority of america is a rural country with small towns big farms and little else there's limited internet connectivity, four tv channels (sometimes only two depending on where you are), kids learn to drive around 11 or 12 because if they don't they have no social life, and little else - a great many of these people don't watch TV, they listen to the radio (this realisation probably won bush the last election) - america is not new york, seattle, DC or boston - the real america and the voting heartland is out there in iowa, wisconsin, michigan, wyoming, arizona, texas and the like.
Yes, we remake some really bad shows that were wonderful shows in Britain, but we do make some of them better...like "Whose Line Is It Anyway"! He he. Of course, I liked "Three's Company" better than the British original too, but...I think I was five when I was watching it. Oh, and "What Not to Wear" is better too. (I should be really embarrassed about watching all of these.)
Well, living in San Franciso, I think we are America...we are what America is supposed to truly be at least (my opinion only). And by the way, Grep, I think half of the voting "heartland" is bristling at you right now? ...especially Laurelindhe (perhaps)?
Loni: HHGTTG is The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams (may he rest in peace). It is the funniest sci-fi radio show that ever burgeoned into a five book trilogy, and six part TV mini-series. They will never be able to make a comparable movie without the original actors especially Peter Jones who was the voice of the book.
The problem with American entertainment is it has been written for the least common denominator for the all mighty advertising dollar. That is why I mostly watch Public Television, BBC America, A&E, and listen to National Public Radio.
I would like to again watch Neil Gaimen's Neverwhere on TV or video tape, but someone in America bought the rights to it for a movie and now it can no longer be broadcast here. I have the PAL version, but of course our video recorders are incompatable with the European standard.
On that, then, if I can continue, I think Grep is mistaken about the american population. It's much more urban and televisioned than he seems to think, I think. That does not translate into sophisticated necessarily.
I am queued up to get the video of "Neverwhere" from inter-library loan and am very much looking forward to it. Public libraries are the one perfect product of Western Civilization. (Well, there's the piano, too, and, of course, my personal favorite - the graphite pencil.)
Well, my dear new leader, to better inform you, I myself am in this supposed "heartland"-right smack dab in the middle of metropolitan Arizona-in a suburb of Phoenix-and I own four televisions, hardly listen to radio(except jazz and talk radio), did not learn to drive at eleven, have never lived in a rural town, do not own a farm, and I have excellent internet access(now, after many server problems). Unlike a lot of the midwestern states you named, which are predominantly conservative and do get their information from limited sources, this area is known for its cultural diversity and higher learning and boasts a very large art community, though we are no New York. I personally do try as hard as possible to gain information of all the world's happenings, but as you pointed out, an informed American citizen must really go looking for international news-it is not always readily available to us. Nevertheless, we who care of the world's population do stay pretty much informed. So please do not overgeneralize to the point of insult, though I am sure that was not your intent. I agree with you that the primary problem in American media and entertainment is the sheer volume of these things-of course the odds are higher that we would make more awful dribble when we make more of everything, but I also think that there are two separate factions in this country:people who are satisfied with how we conduct ourselves and what the world thinks of us, and people who are fed up with being thought of as stupid hicks by the rest of the world(who are the same folks who DID NOT vote for Bush and who are sick of the American World Domination strategies). So really, we can all blame the poor quality of American film and television on those that like things just the way they are and do not demand higher quality because they simply do not think of it.
Grondy, I agree, this thread is getting rather political, but to bring it all back into proper focus, I suppose that the irony of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy would be lost if it was approached too seriously anyway, so to be honest, we Merry Cans would not be able to do it proper justice because we are seemingly obsessed with hashing out every detail until it has lost its original humor anyway. Case-in-point: If we were to try to remake any of the Monty Python films. We just don't get the humor, so we shouldn't try. End of story. It is an odd thing, though, that we have lost our British roots so deeply, considering that a huge majority of us would not even be here if it weren't for a few Englishmen being fed up with the U.K. and coming here-we are a part of you, so how did we lose your superior wit? And by the way, I also love Love Actually, so maybe we are all not so different...
Shaya, don't forget about the gift of flight...
It's kind of funny for me because I was raised in an atmosphere of, oh, say a nostalgic anglophobia. It's a hard-to-explain Irish-American thing.
Eventually, I think we've veered brit because the artistic offerings are across the board just more intelligent. I don't think things are definitively that different, but british stuff in fields I am interested in is just, on the average, better.
Shaya, I too longed for everything foreign growing up, and my parents never understood it. I blame it on my first love, he was French, we were five, and he was just the cutest thing I had ever seen.
Now, back to HHGTTG...Vee, my husband just saw the latest trailer that you were talking about, and I think he was sobbing in his tea too. He said it was horrific and was wondering what they had done to all the characters.
Shaya, don't forget about the gift of flight..
gift of flight?
It is tragic to see something of the literary sort that you love get twisted into a "commercially viable" thing. But at least some things will remain untouched...I doubt very seriously that they will ever make "Lord of the Rings" into a movie...Oh, wait-they already did! Pah! And look what happened to that! Only in that case, I don't think that it was international misunderstanding of humor or wit, I think it was that the persons who attempted it were not true enough fans to do so...
Public libraries are the one perfect product of Western Civilization.
No, Hellenic. And then adopted by the Arabs before finally the West realized what is was missing.
Voltaire said of the Holy Roman Empire that it was neither holy, nor Roman, nor an empire. Western civilization passes for a synthesis of Hebrew ethics and Greek philosophy; someone should point out that it was neither Hebrew, nor ethical, nor Greek, nor philosophical. Americans should stop worrying about the decline of the West. The bad news is that the West has long since declined right over the edge; the good news is that the matter is hopeless, but not serious.
Those who hold America in contempt for its lack of refinement (this writer always has held the term "American culture" to be an oxymoron) should think carefully about this conclusion. From their founding on Christmas Day 800 AD, when Charlemagne accepted the crown of the revived Roman Empire, the institutions of the West have been formed in response to external threat. The Holy Roman Empire of the High Middle Ages, Tolkien's conscious model for the Kingdom of Gondor, arose in response to the incursions of Arabs in the south, Vikings in the north, and Magyars in the West. Boorish and gruff as the new American Empire might seem, it is an anti-empire populated by reluctant heroes who want nothing more than to till their fields and mind their homes, much like Tolkien's Hobbits. Under pressure, though, it will respond with a fierceness and cohesion that will surprise its adversaries.
(both quotes from Spengler)
I just recently found the original radio series, and have started listening to them. Wheee! How far do they go? Only the first book of the 5 1/2 book trilogy?
Looking at the content of those four TV channels news programming is dreadful with a primary focus on local news and sport and current affiars programmes are almost non existant which makes the US unique out of the seven countries i've lived in over the last 10 years.
It's also worth noting that the population of the US's top 50 cities adds up to 45.6 million out of a total of 293 million (the US is the third largest country in the world in terms of both land mass and population) but only 159 million have internet access and only 181 million have a land line phone (158 million have cellular phones).
It's also interesting to note how many english authors like Neil Gaiman and Douglas Adams end up living in the US!
Check out the CIA world fact book it makes interesting reading: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/us.html
Back to the H2G2 debate - i finally saw the trailer and it's a bit of a shock for most people i can imagine! I laughed my Gluteus Maximus off though! Arthurs younger than i think most people would imagine but wait till you see the Martin Freeman (The Office / Shaun of the Dead / Love Actually) in action he's brilliant! Mos Def (Ford) looks to have a pretty witty perfomance.
The thing is if you go and read ''Don't Panic" by Neil Gaiman you'll find out that Douglas origionally saw marvin as a sleek high tec robot that just looked depressed and Zaphod as a blonde beach bum! I trust the production crew and the better part of the script was done by douglas + his family have been heavily invoved in the production - i think and hope the movie's going to be very funny but you have to check your preconceptions at the cinema door and view it with fresh eyes. Movies can't be books and vice versa - you have to learn to relate to the characters, each character has to have his own journey and must have scenes where they earn their success, failure or otherwise, plus the story has to move along at a much faster pace to keep you interested.
Adams rewrote each edition of the guide obsessivly (for instance the US edition of the book is 200 words longer than the UK ed because douglas went into a discourse on belgium as he couldn't use a certan swear word begining with the sixth letter of the alphabet) and this should be no different.
Ramble over - i hope this made sense!
Heh, Us Kiwi's are of the opinion that we were actually the first to fly, some Farmer down south several weeks before the Wright brothers, flew around the place, his Plane is in the transport Mueseum in Auckland.
Heh, even in the 60's, the Beatles were just starting to be heard here when disco was all the rage in the states....hehehe, not quite but it wasn't far off it.
No, Hellenic. And then adopted by the Arabs before finally the West realized what is was missing.
I appreciate that "western" can be defined in other ways, but I think that classical Rome and Greece, and even archaic Greece are Western Civilization.
I meant, rather, the liberal thought of the eighteenth and nineteenth century that founded and supported the widespread growth of public libraries as institutions of commonwealth.
The word "Western" actually comes from "Western Christianity" , as opposed to Eastern, or Orthodox Christianity. The West got their religion directly from Rome, whereas the East got it through "the other Rome", Byzantium/Constantinople/Istanbul.
The word has at least in the West itself long ago been stripped of its religious meaning, but other civilizations tend to link it more closely. So when we (or rather some of us) say that "Western values are universal", others might react less favourable than the speaker had expected. The Crusades was not popular on the recieving end the first time around, they are not too keen on a repeat.
The term was coinede, I believe, around year 800, when Karl the great (Charlemagne) became emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Some claim it was in protest of there being a female empress in Constantinople. Not a fan of womens sufferage, I assume.
Public libraries are great though. In a recent survey here in frozen Helheim, eh I mean Norway, 94% thought it was tax money well spent. I can't imagine anything else with a higher approval rating.. *ponders*
Now I need a "Brownian motion generator" I think tea must be one of the greatest gifts too western civilization! *runs away from the furious coffee mob*
Helheim? I gather Norway is not at its best in February.
I feel I'm missing something obvious. A brownian motion generator? I know what brownian motion is. I just don't understand your reference. Explaining your random change of subject?
Possibly it's because I drink coffee. Mea culpa.
A brownian motion generator? I know what Brownian motion is. I just don't understand your reference.
Well, then you know more than me! I always assumed it had something to do with quantum fluctuations or something in that ballpark, and has very deliberately avoided it. Until now.
Anyway! It is a HHGTTG reference, in a futile attempt to stay on topic! A brownian motion generator, in the shape of a good, hot cup of tea, is the basis for the infinite improbability drive in the spaceship of Mr. Beeblebrook. As someone said, it is a very British story!
The first to give a theory of Brownian motion was Louis Bachelier in 1900 in his PhD thesis "The theory of speculation".
Theory of specualtion! Oh my! What a thesis subject! *envious*
But my house number is 24 which is 42 backwards.
Sorry. I just get this didactic impulse now and then and have to give vent to it.
is the infocom game as good as it's supposed to be?
It's still relatively new, but it's getting very popular, really fast. It's already been front page news on such "big name" sites as planetmagrathea.com, douglasadams.se, and h2g2movie.com. There a lot on the site that may be available elsewhere, but this way you don't have to hunt all over the oplace to get the newest HHGTTG screensaver, etc.
Before you start critisizing the directors character choices read this Douglas Adams , it's an excellent history of douglas and the guide that he created and might explain why zaphod is a blonde beach bumb - since that was douglas's orgional vision for the character.
and before you start critisizing the movie WATCH THE MOVIE
I finally saw a preview for it yesterday. Didn't look too bad, but it went pretty quickly and I was only partly paying attention, so it was kind of hard to tell. Plus, I haven't read the books in a while. But it appeared, at least, to be better than "I, Robot" (not to difficult, there- although I only saw the previews it looked nothing like Isaac Asimov's book).
Are you saying this is shut down 'til the movie comes out, then? Or is speculation OK?
While i realise that many fans have only ever experienced the book version of H2G2 everyone should remember that this was origionaly a series of raido plays not a book and each version differs widely from the other (even the american editon of the book has an extra 200 words in one chapter as DNA's American Publisher would not allow him to swear) whole sections of story disappear - reappear, endings change, characters change and the like in between the radio series, the book, the vinyl recording of the radio plays, the taped books, the tv series et al.
DNA was a perfectionist who re-wrote everything for each new medium (radio jokes don't nessacerily work on TV, literary jokes don't always translate to film) unitl he was completely un-happy with it and then re-wrote it again. This movie has been produced from a script he wrote, and was finally happy with (if he'd only listened to his doctor about his blood pressure, i'm sure he'd say somthing similar himself) many of the chacaterisations i.e. marvin and zaphod are based on his origional visions for the characters and not those from the TV series (DNA had a lot of very well documented disagreements with the diretor of the TV series - which was mainly why there was no second series)...
Anyway talk on - but no sandbagging the director of the actors until you've seen the damm film! (i'll stop venting and go back to trolling now, and Vee this is the reason i don't get so involved!)