I was watching something on TV early on Saturday night when an advert for Grease — The Musical came on. And I pondered to myself that Grease was a fine idea for a movie, but really, was there the need to ram it into the ground by endless adaptions into other formats, such as musicals? Aren’t there enough good ideas out there that the same ones don’t have to be repeated ad nauseaum? I have no intention of seeing Grease — The Musical. I’d rather spend my time and money exploring new and different ideas than the same ones over and over.
And, having come to this conclusion, then I went to see the Hitch Hiker’s Movie. Okay, so much for that idea.
Comparing the movie to earlier renditions is almost inevitable. While I haven’t heard the original radio series, I’ve certainly read the books and watched the TV series numerous times. I also had the LP records for quite some time, which I suspect combined the feel of the radio original with the pace of the TV show. I also played the computer game. My exposure to Hitch Hiker’s, and its influence over the years has been immense. (Towel Day, 2001 — coming up soon on 25th May 2005)
I tried not to be automatically critical of the new movie where it varied from the other versions. Face it, if it introduced nothing new, it would have been deadly dull. But I couldn’t help but spot where bits of dialogue skipped sentences, where they glossed-over some point, or varied it. And I found myself wondering if where they glossed-over something, would a virgin audience still understand it?
It’s important to remember that this was not done entirely without Douglas Adams’ influence, though his input dipped markedly when he died. There were a number of bows to the TV version — the original theme music, a cameo by the original Marvin, and Simon Jones (Arthur in the radio, record and TV versions) as the Magrathean answering machine. There’s even a Dish reference thrown in for good measure, and the League of Gentlemen contributing Vogon voices and Mr Prosser.
Overall, I must say, I enjoyed it. The special effects did everything the TV series ones tried and failed to do. And I think the overall feel of the previous versions was maintained in the movie.
PS. Don’t walk out when the credits start.
PPS. Our chaffeur found a parking spot right slap bang outside the door of the Sun Theatre, which made us all feel like VIPs as we walked out after the movie. The only thing missing was the red carpet.