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mygif

Personally, I liked the film – it wasn’t, you know, brilliant, or anything, but it could have been a lot worse. Plus, Stephen Fry as the Guide? That’s absolutely spot on. (Oh, and see Moon. It’s really, really good.)

This, though. This is an idea I can get behind.

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mygif

I liked the film quite a bit (note: I have not read any of the books). Personally I think it worked very well, so I don’t get all the bitching and moaning I hear from fans of the series.

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malakim2099 said on October 30th, 2010 at 6:30 am

I liked the film fine for what it was, a one-shot. Obviously the books (save the fifth, blech) were superior, but still the film wasn’t that bad. Greatly superior to the BBC TV series, that’s for certain.

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mygif

I loved the movie- it sits on my DVD shelves.

Your animated idea, honestly, sounds unwatchable- the art styles would be so scattershot you’d spend half of each five minutes just figuring out who was who.

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mygif

Don’t forget the infocom game.

Illustrated versions available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/hitchhikers/game.shtml

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mygif

I agree with you pretty much all the way. The film was… well, it wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t anywhere near what it should have been. It had moments, it clearly had potential, and it definitely had production values, but three balloons don’t make a parade. The direction wasn’t tight, the timing was off, and the plot points just didn’t stick together at all.
From what I remember, the TV version was irreverent, hilarious, surreal, and vaguely depressing. It had pretty much everything the movie lacked… and lacked pretty much everything the movie had. So either we find some way to fuse the two together into some manner of freakish hybrid monster film, or go the Doctor Who route and throw some animation onto that radio play!
I happen to be a cartoonist, though I have little experience in animation… I wish I could help somehow.

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mygif

I liked the film quite a bit, except for some scenes which I really didn’t (mostly the bits on the Heart of Gold where the actors improvised that just seemed a bit crass).

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mygif

I also really liked the movie- I was surprised to read your vehement rejection of it. But I’d love to see that 5-minute clip idea come to fruition.

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mygif

But the TV show is perfect. PERFECT. The shoddy charm of Zaphoid’s second head – and really that is the only questionable effect – fits perfectly with the general aesthetic of the rest of the show. The programme, much like the radio series and novel, is a wandering, aimless, shambling ball of awesome, and a wonderfully complete mess to boot. As such, the head fits in perfectly.

I hate it when people use the argument “but it’s *supposed* to be bad” to justify anything, because aiming for “bad” is a complete waste of time. But in this case, I think the general spirit of the piece allows, at the very least, “but it’s OK if it’s bad”.

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mygif

“Shoddy charm”? My university’s Physic’s society was watching the TV series this last towel day. People were traumatised by that partial corpse stitched onto his shoulder.

Personally, I think all of the adaptions were unnecessary. Imagine what we could have had if Adams were never pressured into writing them. Although we would never have had the radio tertiary … phases, then, which would be a loss.

The Hitchhikers adaptions tend to be quite faithful and consequently redundant.

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mygif

Another fan of the film as an alternative vision of the story. But I take BIG beef with your conception of Rockwell based on that role. Yeah, he took it in a terrible direction, but the irony is that Sam Rockwell, without any adornment or affectation, would have been a perfect Zaphod anyway! Go check out “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind”, or “Galaxy Quest”, or even his role in “Charlie’s Angels”. Triangulate those characters and you get a perfect Zaphod, without anything like the need for a half-assed Bill Clinton accent and giant blond shock wig.

Still, on the whole, I thought the movie was a great *vision* of Hitchhiker’s, even if it suffered dramatically by cutting each and every joke in half. Hell, Bill Nighy’s Slartibartfast performance alone is a compelling reason to buy and rewatch that movie.

Conclusion: your proposal is still laudable, but given that the TV series is already a visual representation of the BBC radio scripts — very nearly exactly, word-for-word those very scripts — I don’t know how much we’d be able to achieve by a Van Sant-style shot-for-shot remake.

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Menamebephil said on October 30th, 2010 at 10:39 am

As someone who heard the radio play long before I even knew there were books, I find it oddly disquieting to hear the play referred to as “a version”. I mean, surely they ARE the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, and everything following them is “a version”?

I get the feeling this shouldn’t bother me as much as it does.

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Tales to Enrage said on October 30th, 2010 at 1:29 pm

It sounds like a great animation class project.

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mygif

I also liked the movie (and am a longtime fan of the books), though I completely get why people don’t like it and I do have some issues with it. It cut a lot of my favorite bits of dialog and the extra business with Humma Kavula wasn’t really necessary and made the dialog cuts even less forgivable, but still. As another commenter said, I like it for what it is.

Plus (and I realize this is likely to get my towel taken away), I really enjoyed the Arthur/Trillian love story.

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mygif

But… I liked the US movie version. :(

It was a good intro to the series. I bought the books AFTER I saw the movie, because I knew the books would be much funnier than the US movie.

Also, I’m sure the BBC would be okay with an animated version of the radio play if people ask for permission, as long as they get to distribute it in some form.

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mygif

I think the radio show was acted by those that did the TV show, which gives me a smashing idea:

Use every last version including the Making of… they did and mash it all up!

IT WOULD BE GLORIOUS!

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mygif

Anyone notice when MGK posted a scene from the movie, the comments were all bashing it, and now that someone is bashing it the comments all defend it?

But yeah, I thought the movie was great. I thought the series was great. I thought the books were great. They’re just different from one another.

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mygif

The film was fine, but the source has dated. Probably more from it being lifted by numerous other sources, but that’s the way highly influential works go.

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mygif

DO NOT BE AFRAID TO WATCH “MOON.”

Whatever you might think of the HHGTTG movie, the fact is that Sam Rockwell is a good actor, and Moon will prove that to you.

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mygif

No, we can’t agree. i think that the HHGTTG movie is a great film, managing to be fun, attractive and not shoving any heavy-handed humanist messages down peoples throats, as some more virulent fans of Adam’s work are known to do. i think it’s great, and it sits proudly on my shelf next to The Life Aquatic, Muppet Show Season 1 and Superman Returns, another film I fail to understand why no one liked. Also, Moon is great, go watch it.

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mygif

I think of the movie as the proverbial curate’s egg– parts of it were terrific.

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mygif

Yes, you’re crazy.
And yes, it’s a good idea.

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mygif

I don’t quite understand how a six episode series is repeatedly being referred to as “a play”. Nor yet a six part series followed by a special followed by another five part series that seems to have been largely edited out of later adaptations or “versions”. Which is a shame, as I always wanted to see an infinite number of Rula Lenskas.

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mygif

I don’t understand how one could think that this five-minute-chunk idea could possibly, under any circumstances, produce a “high-quality” adaptation.

Firstly, the range of visual styles you describe would guarantee that characters would be unrecognizable from moment to moment, making it actively difficult to determine who was talking. Nobody’s height or race or clothing or even, in many cases, basic anatomy would be consistent for longer than five minutes.

Secondly, there is zero chance, zero, that any such crowdsourced adaptation would have every segment done well. So you’d have five minutes that were pleasant to watch, followed by five minutes of utter crap, which would probably come right at your favorite bit of the story. Repeat that experience over and over and over, and you’d have something that was such a legendary ordeal it would confer a strange kind of bragging rights on people who managed to sit through the whole thing.

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sgt pepper said on October 30th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

I enjoyed the film. I didn’t like the way they wrapped up the romantic plot, but I understand why they made that choice. I thought Martin Freeman and Mos Def were perfect in it, and I laughed at Rockwell’s George Bush as a space cowboy impression. It sounds to me like Seavey went in wanting to hate it and he succeeded.

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mygif

I think the film was solid. It was dumbed down some, but at the same time, of course it’s not going to be as much about the dialogue and narration. It’s a movie. It has to work in visual terms first. (Of course, studios do their part to discourage an emphasis on banter and wordplay, because that stuff doesn’t translate for the overseas markets.) And as a film it’s got a nice atmosphere and a lot of creative bits in itself- it’s a little sentimental, but Adams was already drifting in that direction. And Trillian finally gets some character development.

Plus… the thing with the radio show is, it’s made to work entirely as audio theatre. It takes advantage of our not seeing things instead of treating it as a liability to get around. (“Say, Ford, this boulder we’re stuck under…”) It’s arguably the most important work of radio theatre since the end of the Golden Age. Just using it as a background for animation seems kind of pointless.

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mygif

“I think the radio show was acted by those that did the TV show,”

Mostly, but Suzan Sheridan was replaced by Sandra Dickinson as Trillian.

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highlyverbal said on October 30th, 2010 at 8:06 pm

Silly idea, the most silly part being the assumption no one will sue (or issue a DCMA takedown, etc.)

However, from the above comments, I am amused at how many people are certain exactly what the internet is capable of, and know that it couldn’t rise to this challenge. I am not even sure what the internet will look like in a couple years, and it certainly has surprised me in plenty of ways so far.

In the spirit of those above posters, I am also going to predict that no one could use the internet to make a free operating system, for all the same reasons… gigantic project with too many pieces, some pieces will be low quality, everyone’s different styles will clash, etc. So when you can finally get an entire free operating system on the internet, then and only then will I be prepared to believe in this project.

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mygif

Oh right, this is that guy that MGK lets foul up his blog with terrible, terrible ideas. Hey there again, that guy.

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mygif

Perhaps more constructively, there is at least one glaring reason why this is a bad idea. Radio plays are not missing their visuals. They are specifically made to do without them. With or without narration, there’s a whole bunch of language involved in describing the scene to the audience which would be made redundant by setting it to visual depictions, even if the animation was well-done and consistent in style.

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Walter Kovacs said on October 30th, 2010 at 8:37 pm

The books, the radio show, the TV Show, the film, all show how Douglas himself recognized that there is little point in just doing the same thing over and over again. If you are going to, might as well change things up to keep yourself interested and make it worthwhile.

Ultimately, NOTHING anyone animates or puts on film will match up with the mental images invoked by either the written word OR the radio play. So, to do either of those verbatim, but adding “one person’s” vision to it, will be inherently inferior as it will not be as good as the image within someones mind, and at the same time, will be adding nothing (or very little) in terms of new material.

The guy who wrote it recognized the need to change the content as it went from medium to medium instead of just copy/pasting the same thing over and over again. I don’t see how it would be a great way to honour his legacy by slavishly recreating instead of making anythng new.

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mygif

Two points:

1) I could go into a lot of detail on my problems with the “Hitch-hiker’s” movie, but really, I can sum them all up in two words:

“We’ve met.”

Seriously, go back and watch the scene where they all meet for the first time on the bridge of the Heart of Gold. That’s supposed to be a scene where Arthur is confronted with someone he’s felt a seething and bitter resentment over for years (even moreso in the movie, which plays up the Arthur/Trillian relationship) but Martin Freeman delivers the line with a bashful smile and a slightly sheepish tone of pleasure, like he’s bumped into an old school friend. Any director who would let that line be misdelivered that badly clearly does not understand the context of the scene, the story, and quite possibly comedy storytelling in general.

2) It is a separate debate over whether or not a “Hitch-hiker’s” adaptation is actually necessary; I’m certainly willing to entertain the idea that there’s no need for a visual adaptation of the story at all. But they’ve done a TV series and a movie, so clearly somebody wants one, and the people who have tried to do it keep missing the idea that it’d work much better animated than live-action. So why not have a fan version? :)

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mygif

1) That’s true, but the film gives us the meeting anyway, so Arthur in that scene doesn’t have to convey to us his resentment- we see what he resents firsthand.

Marionette: “Nor yet a six part series followed by a special followed by another five part series that seems to have been largely edited out of later adaptations or “versions”. Which is a shame, as I always wanted to see an infinite number of Rula Lenskas.”

I honestly think the second series was better than the first, and am disappointed it never made its way into any adaptation- the Shoe Event Horizon is one of Adams’ best bits.

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mygif

The idea of an adaptation made up of 5 minute segments created by different persons would make for interesting, if not distracting, viewing.

It worked that way for Star Wars Uncut where the idea was applied to the entire original Star Wars only it was cut into 30 second segments.

http://www.starwarsuncut.com/

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mygif

While I’m certainly not going to argue against the point that this kind of idea would produce a lot of different visual styles and varying quality for the segments, isn’t that part of the point behind the idea? That while the ultimate result would be unpredictable in quality, it would be interesting just to see what people came up with?

I don’t think Mr. Seavey was proposing that it would be the Hitchhiker’s Movie that would be so much better than the official one because we are true fans. It’s possible he was and I’m misreading it, but I don’t think so.

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mygif

The movie wasn’t that bad; whilst Rockwell playing Zaphod as Dubya was not the best, Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy were perfect.

The TV show is pretty dull, I have to say, with what looks like a sub-Doctor-Who budget. The book is all about diversions, but when the show takes them, they feel interminable.

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mygif

I didn’t get a sense of sheepish pleasure from Freeman’s “We’ve met”. I saw it more as him throwing Zaphod’s attitude back at him. I saw it as more of Arthur saying, “Ha ha, aren’t you so clever with your big shiny spaceship and two heads and smug superiority, but guess what? We’ve met before and I’m not impressed so why don’t you go fuck yourself?” all delivered with a smile.

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mygif

Didn’t like the TV version but loved the movie. Aren’t we used to print, film, and TV all being different continuities? And who doesn’t adore the trailer being done as an entry to the guide?

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DistantFred said on October 31st, 2010 at 9:32 am

This mish-mash animation love in project sounds unpredictable in quality and level of actual completion.

It may be better, easier, or simpler to have the radioplays translated into standard mandarin, shipped to Taiwan, made into animated films using the Sims, retranslated back into English, and then loosed on the unsuspecting fandom.

Seriously, though. This totally sounds like a job for Next Media Animation. http://www.nma.com.tw/

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mygif

Given that the BBC has released animated recreations of the second Doctor’s adventures (which only exist still in the hands of Joseph Zuma…no really)

So it is a plausible idea that the BBC themselves could do.

However, I find the idea of refusing to see Moon because of one poor performance ridiculous.

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mygif

correlation is not causation, sir. that you didn’t like the movie and that it was arguably a bad adaptation of the books is only your opinion, and has no actual bearing on the fact that it only made back expenses and didn’t earn a sequel.

yes, the movie is popularly considered to be a commercial dud and a failed adaptation, and wisdom of crowds aside, there is a fair argument to be made that those two are related.

you did not make it.

i could just as compellingly argue that the movie was a resounding success. it earned back more than it cost to make, it put a group of tv and character actors in starring roles in a big hollywood movie with all the press and opportunity that brings them, it managed to achieve much of the charm (if not the literal dialogue) of previous iterations, and it was genuinely funny, heartfelt, and visually clever.

for the record, douglas adams wrote a good portion of the script before he died, and it’s awfully easy for armchair fans to declare that all the bits they didn’t like were the ones he didn’t write. (as well, that their favorite iteration is obviously the best one over all the others, on which adams clearly wasn’t working as hard). i’ve held since it was released that everything that was new was where the movie worked best, and most of what they tried to copy out of books they biffed the timing on.

i will call you a fool, though, for opening your argument with ‘everyone already agrees with me, right?’ and not just because many of us clearly do not. that’s a bad way to start a conversation generally. it’s arrogant and dismissive. you could have easily presented your idea (a crowd-sourced animation of the original radio plays) without also shit-talking the movie, and thereby automatically turning a legitimate discussion about copyright law, adaptation decay, and fans’ rights into a flamewar.

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mygif

I enjoyed the TV series, but the low budget did not phase me since I first saw it around 6 years old. I thought it was a big upgrade on the old Batman TV series!

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mygif

We love that movie, you are uptight.

And my grandson makes a great lobster:

http://sketchcardsaloon.wordpress.com/2010/10/31/happy-halloween/

Happy Halloween!

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mygif

I hate to be this way, but I can’t pass up the opportunity to express my agreement with the original post regarding the quality of the movie. I know it’s subjective at some level, but if this movie was “good”–and especially if Mos Def’s performance was good (and I’ve seen a lot of people insisting that it was), then up is down and black is white. There are things that are just not my cup of tea, but I just cannot fathom how anybody thinks this was a good movie, or that was a good performance. I’m not trying to be a jerk, I just can’t understand it!

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mygif

Well, black IS white.

I’d prove it, but I have a pathological fear of zebras.

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mygif

I don’t care one way or the other about the Hitchhiker’s movie, but if you’re skipping Sam Rockwell movies, you don’t get to talk about pop culture. Sorry!

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malakim2099 said on November 1st, 2010 at 3:57 am

I didn’t get a sense of sheepish pleasure from Freeman’s “We’ve met”. I saw it more as him throwing Zaphod’s attitude back at him. I saw it as more of Arthur saying, “Ha ha, aren’t you so clever with your big shiny spaceship and two heads and smug superiority, but guess what? We’ve met before and I’m not impressed so why don’t you go fuck yourself?” all delivered with a smile.

That’s exactly what I thought about the line, too. And frankly, the actress for Trillian in the TV series was horrible. And Moon was delightful.

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Mister Alex said on November 1st, 2010 at 12:46 pm

MOON!

Seriously, watch it. You will believe in Sam Rockwell again.

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mygif

@Rian Fike: I’m not uptight, I just don’t like that movie. But you’re right, your grandson does make a great lobster. :)

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mygif

I enjoyed the movie a lot, in no small part because of the things that were different from the previous incarnations of the story. Adams believed that if he was going to tell the same story in multiple media, each one should have something different from the others. Gotta respect that.

And add me to the list of people saying that you need to see Moon. Rockwell was beyond brilliant in that. I’d also recommend Choke, where he was playing a character entirely unlike Zaphod or the protagonist of Moon, and did so really well.

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mygif

The movie was nice, it had a lot of cool moments and bits. Not perfect by far, no. Mos Def’s interpretation is a little too low-key for me, Rockwell has some lazy acting moments (not unusual, but go see Moon), Zooey Deschanel is cute but not very experienced with acting (at least not in this role, although her detached nonchalance does serve the character to certain extent in that it can fit the kind of person Trillian would have to be to behave as she does in those circumstances), and there were a few scenes where things felt decidedly low-key instead of the crazy weird it should have been (mostly the later Vogon stuff). But the good outweighed the bad, the love story angle was a nice way to focus the script, the visuals were great, the Guide bits were perfect, and overall gave a nice feeling walking out of the theatre. And they nailed the whale scene, thank god.

The direction definitely took more of a laid-back approach, sort of a my-god-everything-is-so-silly-all-we-can-to-is-chill type sentiment, instead of maybe the more crazy wacky silly alternative, but it worked for it well enough. And “we’ve met” was delivered with the right amount super-passive aggressiveness and British politeness that were the hallmarks of Arthur Dent’s character at the beginning of the story I think.

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