Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer

I watched the film.

I watched the film. I agree with Simo.

But with sharply different conclusions.

As far as I can tell without access to the text of his review, the things that Simo said are correct. But they didn't destroy the film for me in the way that they destroyed the film for him.

In the radio series, the words are king. It's a verbal medium, and the writing matches the medium perfectly. It's good, in a way, that we were warned that in the film that wordplay had been murdered. The knowledge helped me to manage my expectations. There was a list on Simo's site of the wonderful nuggets that had fallen by the wayside. They're missing, yes, and the film is poorer for it.

In the radio series, it comes across that Arthur is displaced, is permanently lost. It seems that Trillian has adapted a lot better than Arthur did. In the film, that doesn't work -- we actually have to be told that Trillian's lost her roots, and (apart from that cup of tea) the film's Arthur doesn't ever manage to convey that. The film is poorer for it.

In the radio series we see our friends, our colleagues, our families, reflected in the characters which emerge from the speakers. We all know someone who has a bit of the Zaphod about them, a bit of the Ford, a bit of the Trillian or the Marvin. Even a bit of the Arthur. I was really hoping that would come across in the film.

The reason why the film works for me is simple. The character with whom I identify most closely, the character with whom I feel that I have most in common, they've actually managed to get right.

I'm self-absorbed. I'm simultaneously laid-back, intense, OCD, careless. I'm a craftsman with dyspraxia. I'm interested in what I'm thinking about and constantly somewhat surprised that something else is going on. References to another subculture might as well be a hole in the page for me. I am Slartibartfast from Fit the Third/Fourth. If they gave me Africa, I'm sure that I, too, would be doing it with fjords again, because I love the baroque feel they give to a continent. If they'd got Slartibartfast wrong, it would have killed the film for me. But they didn't.

My three favourite lines are all Slartibartfast's. And they're all included.

I don't know if it's a good film. But I can be certain that it'll be a delight to watch it again.

And again. And again.

The small print:
I went to the cinema in 1977, 1986, 1991 and 1998. That's four times in thirty years. You should not expect me to be an accomplished film critic.
The "Simo" to whom I refer above is MJ Simpson, who wrote the review that everyone talks about.

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