HHGTTG - film discussion

shaya puma
Posts: 97

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#1 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:25 am

I already posted this, but this is of course the appropriate place.

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.

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Vee
Posts: 2711

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#2 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:27 am

Quite a few of the Americans I know appreciate and understand 'British humour' whether it be satire or just black comedy. I wonder if it is the Big Money that strangles any attempt by American film and tv producers to bring it to the American people en masse in case they don't understand it, in case it doesn't make the big bucks? Play safe, use an old format guaranteed to make enough people chuckle.

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?

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laurelindhe ilmarin
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HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#3 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:40 am

Two words as to why American film has lowered its theatrical standards in the last ten years or so(and why, as Eruwen said, independent film is where it's at here in the sappy U.S.): Jerry Bruckheimer. He is responsible for such abominations as Armageddon and The Day After Tomorrow. His presence, along with those of his peers that will stoop low enough to get the lowest common denominator(the cheap buck), have really dumbed us all down and made us all appear like buffoons and idiots. That, and the former World Wrestling Federation, now the mysterious WWE, and the television show JAG, and country music(I know, an overgeneralization! But oh well), and Britney Spears, and Paris Hilton, and all of the mindless, stupid ***t that is bred on our shores. Sorry! But some, very few, like Grondy and Eruwen and Terrijayne and a few of us here and there, tend to be able to cut through all the mularky to see real humor-and satire is king!

Can't wait to see how they've spoiled Hitchhiker's, though...Ought to be, uh, interesting...

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Vee
Posts: 2711

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#4 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:42 am

OK - I've dragged the relevant posts into this one thread so we can carry on discussing this film without detriment to Ant's Hello thread.

Vee
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.

Eruwen
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..

Eruwen
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).

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eva lilith
Posts: 380

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#5 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 10:43 am

All I know is, if they...we...umm... American film makers ruin HHGTTG, which doesn't have that much deeper stuff- a lot of it, I thought, was making fun of people who think everything in a book has to mean something else- then they don't get to touch Pratchett. I have heard a variety of things about the British production of Wyrd Sisters, and most of them have been good (of course, its a parody of Macbeth, so it's probably easier to stage than some of them...). But Pratchett does have a lot of layers, and he's hilarious, and while I really liked HHG, Discworld makes a lot more sense. So anybody who ruins HHG is not touching Pratchett. Or they are in big, big, trouble... :evil:
:)

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Grep
Posts: 231

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#6 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 2:16 pm

I don't know if i agree with douglas it's not that the American public are capable of tolerating lower quality of entertainment it's that they produce so much of it most of it's bound to be lower quality; we owe US TV for Columbo, Hill Street Blues, ER, This Wonderful Life and a great deal of other great film and drama - unfortunately we also owe them for Wheel of Fortune, Dan Rather, Evangelical TV and Infomercials! plus there's this constant desire to re-make things in their own image - which was somthing that concerned douglas. They buy a lot of english and european tv ideas and remake them with their own cast and scripts without really understanding what made the origional program good.

shaya puma
Posts: 97

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#7 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:10 pm

I think I'm not as bothered by the insipid quality of American movies because, as has been observed, there's so much of it that some of it is good, really good, even if it is a small percentage. More than that, I have the advantage of living in the English language community and have ready and easy access to most of what is available in the UK. British film and literature is a disproportionately large portion of what I treasure (also there's the rest of the world, if subtitled. Life would be less than it has been without Kurosawa, etc.).

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.

loni
Posts: 1519

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#8 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:16 pm

Guys... what does HHGTTG stand for? I LOVE British comedy. Especially Fawlty Towers.

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Grep
Posts: 231

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#9 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:28 pm

I'm not sure i agree americans are stupid en masse at least; drasticly badly informed maybe but not completely stupid.

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.

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eruwen
Posts: 1277

HHGTTG - film discussion

Post#10 » Fri Feb 18, 2005 3:57 pm

Well, the Brits have a long history of satire...it's been at the heart of much of their literature for centuries now; it's a part of the whole soapbox tradition. For some reason, satire just never had a history in America, which is why I don't think it's a part of it now. Maybe the Puritans just didn't have a sense of humor? Ah, who knows.

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)?

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