Thursday, April 14, 2005

Hitchiker Movie (no spoilers)

Oddly like having one of your best friends turn up drunk to a dinner party.

Wildly amusing, frequently incoherent, and more or less embarrassing depending on how close you're sat and how well you know them.

That doesn't mean it's a bad film - just odd - and one that you may love far more than you'll like.

It's the most polished Monty Python film ever made. And at times resembles school revues where nervous teenagers triumph over familiar material that's way beyond them.

Hey! We're doing Vogon Poetry! Yar! It's Magrathea! Look, towel joke! Aren't we funny! Bosworth Mi's got some brewskies in his study.

But perhaps the shambolic desperation of the whole thing is appropriate. After all, the original radio show was performed by baffled actors in cupboards reading lines slipped under a door by a frantic Douglas Adams.

The TV version was made by a director so obsessed by special effects that he left the cast to recreate their original radio performances (which was fine if they'd been in the original).

So, it's fitting we get a film that's all fingers and thumbs and brilliance. Some actors are pitch perfect, some neither understand their lines nor care how they say them (dear Sam Rockwell, you've got two mouths and can't use either), and some are vaguely bored (Helen Mirren, obviously filing her nails throughout).

It's visuals are stunning and refreshingly un-CG (even when they are). It's a warm-hearted blend of Fifth Element, Terry Gilliam and Star Wars... but, unlike Star Wars, you never feel you're being cynically exploited by a cold-hearted machine - just slightly let down by a very good friend.

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