Don't panic


If Roger Ebert's column is like a bakery, BatesLine is the day-old bread store. You can count on BatesLine to give you the straight scoop on movies you've already seen, maybe several times, in the theater, on DVD, and on the late Friday slot of OETA's Movie Club.

We had a date night tonight and went to see "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" at Movies 8, which is Cinemark's local dollar theater. Mikki and I were impressed by the inch-thick accumulation of dust on the neon sign above the concession stand.

While the place may not be maintained to the standard of the chain's local flagship (the Tulsa, around the corner on 71st Street), there was a good crowd to see the film, and they were well-mannered. It was even quiet during the previews.

And during the previews there was an ad for Coca-Cola featuring their new blog site -- I won't bother hot-linking that -- you've got to register (for free), and doesn't have a login yet. Presumably you can start your own blog and read those of others who are blogging for Coke. (I see that the practice of corporate-sponsored blogs is spreading -- the Daily Oklahoman's website has five blogs, including a husband and wife team. I'm guessing that not included among the topics these bloggers will discuss is criticism of the Daily Oklahoman, Opryland, the Grand Old Opry, WSM Radio, the Broadmoor Hotel, Gaylord Sports Management, or any of the other far-flung enterprises of the South Central Ohio Coal, Gas, Electricity, Telephone & Telegraph Communications Group OPUBCO.)

Anyway, the movie: We both loved it. I've read the books (all five books of the trilogy), listened to the entire radio series, and watched the entire BBC TV series. Mikki saw some of the TV series, but I think fell asleep for most of it, as parents tend to do when they're finally allowed to sit still and quiet for a few moments. The movie is not the same as all of the above, but they managed -- meaning Douglas Adams, who wrote the radio series, then transformed it into books, TV, and finally a screenplay -- to capture the most important bits and weave them into a coherent movie-length story using some new plot devices.

The casting was well done. Martin Freeman, sad-sack Tim from "The Office," is perfect as sad-sack Arthur Dent.

I'm not sure how they did it, but they managed to make Marvin, the robot, look dejected and resigned despite the lack of an actual face. You will see an android shrug and hang its head. (It was nice to see a Sirius Cybernetics Corporation product from the TV series make a cameo appearance.)

The Vogons play a bigger role in the film than in the book, and it works well. You get the full sense of the Vogon bureaucratic mentality at work, down to a homeworld filled with what looks like a collection of every American civic building built during the '60s and '70s.

Even if you haven't read the books or heard the radio series or seen the TV series, you'll still enjoy the movie.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on July 23, 2005 11:02 PM.

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