Sunday, May 15, 2005

20. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe

by Douglas Adams

I finished this book ages ago, before the movie came out, but I’ve been lazy in posting. I don’t have much to say about it either, except that I love the entire restaurant scene, with Hotblack Desiato being dead for a year to due to tax evasion, the MC who watches the universe end every night, and Ford stumbling around drunk on Pan Galactic Gargle Blasters. I mean, I love all five books. That goes without saying. And it’s difficult for me to separate them into their actual five parts, since my first reading of them was in a large omnibus edition and with them being physically tied together, they appear so in my mind. While I may love some parts more than others, I tend to think of the five books as a whole and, as a whole, I love Hitchhiker.

That being said, what I really want to talk about is the movie. First off, Steve’s review is pretty much everything I wanted to say about it, but more eloquently put. Perhaps because he’s not running about saying, “Ford does the thing with his towel!” and “Wow, Zaphod looked kind of hot in those cape get-up things he had on,” and “Alan Rickman is awesome,” in a squealy, girlish voice. (Maybe he is, but he at least has the ability to keep that from transferring to paper. Whereas I…wow, Zaphod looked kind of hot…) I loved the movie. From the opening musical number to Mos Def’s interpretation of Ford to the doors that sigh with satisfaction, the movie captured the spirit of the books dead on. There was just enough sarcasm and goofiness to keep the story at an airy level while undercutting it with a more meaningful purpose. While I am a book purist – one of those people who frequently shout “Hey! That didn’t happen in the book!” during movies, much to her companions' chagrin – I have gotten my head around the idea that the Hitchhiker series was always a work in progress and that the changes made in this movie reflect the wishes of Mr. Adams. So I can let the Humma Kavula thing go and the whole things-that-smack-you-in-the-face-when-you-have-an-idea on Magrathea bit slide by because, hey, that was a funny scene and John Malkovich is always awesome and because they don’t detract from the original plot (although, um, Zaphod never loses his second head…just sayin’). What I can’t look past is Arthur and Trillian getting together.

Why? Why let Arthur and Trillian do the whole star-crossed lovers thing when it’s clearly not a part of the series and doesn’t do anything to drive the original story forward and, in fact, takes it back several notches? I hate that otherwise decent stories are ruined by the forced presence of a romantic subplot. I feel that it’s such an American thing to do, as if producers think that’s the only way to include women in the viewing audience. Because we totally do not have any other interests than lovey dovey kissy scenes. Blech. Do not mar my Hitchhiker with your silly love stories! Leave well enough alone!

I shake my fist at contrived romance.

So that’s pretty much my only rant on the movie. Otherwise I thought it was sublime. Yarn universe. Magrathea! Filing papers to save Trillian. To business! Vogons with noses on their foreheads. Marvin despising the satisfied doors. Hostess’ undergarments jumping one foot to the left. So long, so long and thanks for all the fish!


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