Review The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy (1981)

michaellevenson

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How could I forget this?!

Brilliant Douglas Adams masterpiece. Firstly a radio series, then TV series , and finally film ( which by the way was PANTS)

Really I feel comfortable with this saga being radio rather than visual. The concepts Adams creates mostly couldn't be done justice on visual media.

The 1981 tv series was a reasonably accurate telling of the first radio series, and I'd love the whole five radio series to be re-created on tv.

Best moments? The Krikkit Wars, The Restaurant At The End Of The Universe, Rula Lenska as Lintilla the archeologist discovering a strata of rock made from compressed shoes and the Doleman Saxman shoe corporation with their shoe intensifying laser on the dark side of the moon.
But DON'T PANIC !! the answer to life, the universe and everything is 42.



 
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ant-mac

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I love the novels - only the ones by Douglas Adams - and I'm a huge fan of the 1981 TV series. I thought the film was utter crap and I've never had the opportunity to listen to the radio serials.

I also thoroughly enjoyed THE DIRK GENTLY HOLISTIC DETECTIVE AGENCY and its sequel, THE LONG DARK TEA TIME OF THE SOUL. For those who might not know, these two novels were also by Douglas Adams and featured humour that was very similar to his other, more famous works.
 

Doctor Omega

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Songs

Stephen Moore released two pop singlesMarvin/Metal Man and Reasons to Be Miserable/Marvin I Love You (double B-side)—in the UK in 1981, though neither reached the top 40.

Two of these were re-recorded and remixed to coincide with the 2005 Hitchhiker's movie release, "Reasons To Be Miserable" and "Marvin" now being performed by Stephen Fry (singing in the third-person, not as Marvin).

"Marvin"

"Marvin" was released in 1981. It was a minor hit, reaching number 52 in the British Charts.

The song involves Marvin describing his woes ("My moving parts are in a solid state") and frustrations ("You know what really makes me mad? They clean me with a Brillo Pad"), to a synthesiser backing.

The intro to the song consists of a simple guitar figure, but with the tape reversed so that the notes play backwards.

The vocal was performed by Stephen Moore, who had played Marvin on the radio and television series. Moore also narrated the ship's captain on the B-side.



 
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Doctor Omega

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"Metal Man" was the B-side. The song involves a spoken exchange between the starship captain (also played by Moore, as is a cameo radio voice) and the depressed robot Marvin.

The starship is falling into a black hole, and can only be saved by assigning control to Marvin.

In thanks for saving the ship, Marvin is relegated back to a menial servant.

Such is the lot of a robot.

"Marvin" was incorporated into the 2012 live radio show.



 
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Doctor Omega

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The Double B-Side

"Reasons To Be Miserable" was released in 1981.

Its official title was The Double 'B'-Side, and it was a double B-side single released by Polydor[10] on Depressive Discs.

The song involves Marvin describing his views on life ("I'd feel a little better if they broke me up for spares", "If I had my time again, I'd rather be a lemming"), to a synthesiser backing.

The title is a reference to "Reasons to be Cheerful, Part 3" by Ian Dury.



 

Doctor Omega

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"Marvin I Love You" was the other B-side.

Marvin describes finding a love letter in his data banks eons after receiving it.

The female vocal is provided by Kimi Wong-O'Brien.

The song was a frequently requested tune on the Dr. Demento radio show, and was featured on one of the Dr. Demento "Greatest Hits" compilation albums.

As of 2008, it is ranked 56 out of the top 100 favorite novelty tunes on the official Dr. Demento web site.


 

chainsaw_metal1

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I thought the film was utter crap
I can only disagree with a couple of things. I loved Martin Freeman as Dent, and I liked Alan Rickman doing the voice of Marvin, even though the robot itself was bollocks. Sam Rockwell was passable as Zaphod, but too over the top to be completely likable. The rest, as you say, utter crap.
 

ant-mac

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I can only disagree with a couple of things. I loved Martin Freeman as Dent, and I liked Alan Rickman doing the voice of Marvin, even though the robot itself was bollocks. Sam Rockwell was passable as Zaphod, but too over the top to be completely likable. The rest, as you say, utter crap.
In theory, Alan Rickman would be the perfect choice for Marvin in a well-made, big budget film. I have also enjoyed the work of Martin Freeman in series one of FARGO and Sam Rockwell in MOON.

However, I had about 20 years of watching and re-watching the TV series before the film came out, so I'm probably a bit biased too...
 

michaellevenson

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Ant Mac , you really need to listen to the radio serials.
The third, fourth and fifth series follow the third fourth and fifth books, but with different ending tacked on to make sense of the second radio series.
The first radio series ended with Arthur and Ford stranded on Pre historic Earth, the second ended with the meeting with the ruler of the Universe living in a shack on a beach. But Adams didn't like parts of the second series, so dropped it for the second book, and ended the second book with Arthurs and Ford trapped on Earth. So the third book started from that point, so therefore the third radio series, an accurate realization of the third book, started with the rescue of Arthur and Ford from Earth, but err... so did the second radio series, so a problem! So the writers adapting the books ,3,4 and 5 used the VR and parallel Universe tropes to explain everything. So you see the radio series has lots of goodies not in the novels.
Yes I agree the film was crap, but maybe it only existed in an artificial reality hidden in Zarniwoop's office!
 

Gavin

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I thought the film was utter crap and I've never had the opportunity to listen to the radio serials.
It wasn't complete crap. The cast was excellent. But it's impossible to do justice to that much material in a 2 hour movie.
 

ant-mac

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It wasn't complete crap. The cast was excellent. But it's impossible to do justice to that much material in a 2 hour movie.
As I pointed out earlier, after 20 years of watching and re-watching the TV series, I'm probably just a bit biased.

I've also often thought that the long form of story telling on TV is superior to the film version, no matter how large the budget. Especially these days, when TV productions are often just as good as anything you can see at the cinema.
 

Carol

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Firstly a radio series, then TV series , and finally film
Obviously the radio was best (the pictures were better), but fie, sir! You omitted the books and, perhaps most significantly, the albums.
Comedy at 33 and a third - remember that, younglings? Our Python records, our Derek and C|live, hell, our Tom Lehrer and Flanders and Swann...
Listening to Hitchhikers on continuous repeat, that's a very studenty memory. As was, when the telly version happened, Friends of Dent piling into the college TV room (not large) increasingly early for each episode - not to get a seat necessarily, just a bit of TV-adjacent floor. I once sat through half of Tomorrow's Worlds and an entire Barry Mannilow concert perched abaft a radiator to claim and maintain my eyelline on the screen for, I think, the manifestation of Slartibarffast.
Scorched bum.
Worth it though.
 

Gavin

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I've also often thought that the long form of story telling on TV is superior to the film version, no matter how large the budget.
You're right of course. There are probably some (shortish) stories that can be done well in a 2 hour movie format but certainly anything that is trying to do justice to a full novel (or series of novels) can't be done properly in such a short timeframe. I remember watching the Harry Potter movies and realising that they were just a collection of key scenes from the books, not very well connected. I honestly don't know how anyone who hadn't read the books could understand what was happening in the later movies. Even the extended editions of LOTR (over 11 hours) had to cut a lot of stuff out. Fortunately (or unfortunately) in this age of reboots I'm sure we can look forward to a Game of Thrones style version of LOTR done over 6 ten hour seasons.
 

chainsaw_metal1

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I honestly don't know how anyone who hadn't read the books could understand what was happening in the later movies.
I remember my wife making a similar comment after seeing either Goblet of Fire or Order of the Phoenix. She remarked that there was no way anyone who hadn't read the books could follow the actual story, or understand most of the plot. I do know several people who have watched the movies and haven't read the books (Philistines!), and they always seem slightly confused about various plot points and scenes. And, just like with comic book movies, I'm the guy they go to for the answers.
 

Gavin

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I've been watching some of the "Everything Wrong With..." series on YouTube and the Harry Potter ones were basically a repetition of "they didn't explain how this works / why this is happening" and I was thinking "yes they did" before realising that, in the movie they really didn't. I think that the movies were made with the expectation that the majority of the audience would have read the book. Which may have been vaguely reasonable at the time they were released but it certainly isn't true now.
 

Carol

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the movies were made with the expectation that the majority of the audience would have read the book.
Not sure about that: what has come along to replace Harry Potter for the under 12s lately? Either nothing anywhere as popular, or (quite possibly) stuff I simply haven't come across. J.K. achieved the amazing double whammy of entertaining kids and grown-ups (and grown u ps without kids at that) for the long haul.
 

Doctor Omega

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Doctor Who & The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: Do They Exist In The Same Universe?


Doctor Who and The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy are two beloved science fiction series, but could they also exist in the same universe?! This fan theory hints that they’re more closely connected than we thought. So what do The Doctor and 42 have in common? Join Commander Apollo as he investigates.

 
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