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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Always Know Where Your Towel Is

You´ve read the books five times, you´ve seen the BBC series, and you even have the towel. Now it´s time for the movie.
You´ve read the books five times, you´ve seen the BBC series, and you even have the towel. Now it´s time for the movie.

BY JOHN KANE IIIStaff Writer

For many years I have awaited the coming of a Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy movie. But like many feared that after the death of its author, the late great Douglas Adams, that it would never come to light. Then behold! The movie went into production! Then I despaired because I found out Disney had the rights to it. I agonized over what kind of movie Disney would make out of it. How true would they stay to the story? How much would they censor? Would they still have the scene with the whale splattering on the planet Magrathea? I just had to find out.

With my copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy clutched in one hand and towel in the other, I struck out for the theater in hopes of being amazed, wowed, and anxiously awaiting a sequel. To me the movie had a lot to live up to. Prior to the movie, The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (also known as H2G2) has appeared in four forms with differing variations on the story. First there was the show on BBC radio, the original form of H2G2. Then creator Douglas Adams was asked to write it as a book, and before his death it became an incomplete trilogy with five parts and more that were never finished. After the radio show and the books, there was the BBC television series of six episodes, the effort the BBC put into it makes the original Star Trek look like a high budget masterpiece, with its own version of the original storyline. And then there was the little-known computer game for the Apple Macintosh with yet another version of the story-four versions of The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, all written by Douglas Adams. Now there is a fifth.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the story, it starts with the destruction of Earth to make way for a galactic hyperspace route (a galactic highway of sorts). Before that happens Arthur Dent, average British human, is trying to stop his house from being demolished to make way for a bypass. However, Arthur’s friend Ford Prefect drags him off to the pub to get him drunk and to tell him the world is about to be destroyed. Ford isn’t actually an out-of-work actor, but a field researcher for The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. After hitching a lift on one of the Vogon constuctor fleet vessels (the Vogons are the buearactrats of the galaxy and many jokes are made about that through the movie, mainly consisting of the guy in charge telling his subordinate to bring him the forms he needs to fill out in order to give chase) and after being tortured with bad poetry and tossed out an airlock the are rescued by Zaphod Beeblebrox (President of the Galaxy and voted worst dressed sentient being four years in a row) and Trillian, an earth girl Arthur met at a fancy dress party who left with Zaphod after Arthur failed miserably to get anywhere with her. Ford tells Arthur he and Zaphod are demicousins (they share three of the same mothers) and they join the fugitive Zaphod on his stolen spaceship The Heart of Gold (the ship is powered by the infinite improbability drive which allows it to be everywhere at once) in his search for the legendary planet Magrathea. You see, a long time ago a highly advanced race built a computer to find the answer to everything. The answer was 42. The problem was no one knew the question, so the had they planet builders of Magrethea make a computer to find the question, which is what Zaphod is after.

Douglas Adams had been trying for a long time to get a movie version of the Guide underway before he died. He wrote part of the script and another writer was brought on to finish his work for the movie. In the movie it’s fairly easy to tell which parts were written by Adams and which were done by Karey Kirkpatrick (the writer brought on to finish the script) if you are a fan. In a sequence in which our heroes are walking across a wasteland and every time they have an idea they are hit in the face by a shovel like creature-definitely a creation from Douglas Adams’ mind. Conversely, a touching scene between Arthur and Trillian after a rescue from the Vogons isn’t very Adamsesque.

The movie, was a bit of a disappointment. There were a few nice touches here and there, such as the BBC version of the paranoid android Marvin making a cameo appearance in a line. However there were many subplots that were ultimately unimportant and a waste of time. The new character Adams created for the movie, Humma Kavula, was just a diversion from the story with his part left unfinished in the end and detracted from the movie somewhat overall. The movie was entertaining but like all books gone to film it strayed from the original. I expected that some, what with this being the fifth version of the story and all, but is strayed to much in my opinion. If you’re new to the story, the movie will be a bit confusing and seem a little random but is highly enjoyable and incredibly funny. If you’re a Douglas Adams fanatic, you’ll be disappointed.