June 13th, 2005

krazy koati

We thought that most of you were sweet

And the movie I saw in Lido 7 (hidden, without signage, behind Lido 5 and 6) was The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I loved the movie, and I doubt I'll understand any friends who didn't. It taps on many of the best jokes, it moves fluidly, the sets and costumes are fabulous, the Heart of Gold is beautiful, and Marvin is indeed just right. I'd forgotten how thoroughly charming Slartibartfast is. And I discovered a few interesting phenomena.

The first is there weren't any big laughs, apart from the Flyswatters of Vogsphere. There was always somebody laughing at something, though; everybody was enjoying their own selection of jokes. I imagine Douglas Adams would've rathered it be that way. It was curious, though, how the movie included glimpses of so many Hitchhiker's routines. Some were poorly truncated (Dent's confrontation with Mr Prosser is almost completely gone), others used just enough. Sure there's no need to include every line of routines the fans have memorized, but someone who'd never encountered the Guide before would have to guess whether the towel thing or the disparaging uses of `Belgium' were Ford Prefect being weird or the universe being that way.

The other curiosity is: how do I have all these Hitchhiker's routines memorized? I have a good memory, particularly for pop culture stuff, sure. And I read the original novels -- the first three, anyway -- two or three times, and the radio scripts, just before giving that book to a brother as a present. This was 15 or 20 years ago. I saw the TV miniseries maybe five years ago. I have to absorbed most of this by osmosis, from the way any casual reference to an Adams joke online will draw some trying-too-hard fellow to clumsily quote the whole scene.

Trivia: Tom Stafford, John Young, and Gene Cernan took a copy of John Magee's poem ``High Flight'' on the Apollo 10 flight. Source: The Last Man on the Moon, Eugene Cernan, Don Davis.

Currently Reading: World History, 1815-1920, Eduard Fueter.