This improved a lot on a second viewing. It does have a very awkward pace, but I get goosebumps at so many junctures that this is bound to become a movie I revisit regularly. The DVD is pretty good – deleted scenes, commentaries, etc, I haven’t looked at disc one yet; the UK exclusive documentary isn’t as good as I hoped it might be, not as good as the behind-the-scenes notes in the tie-in edition of the novel (available, I just discovered, in this gift pack) – it still has some interesting points though, in particular the journey of the negative, something I knew very little about until now.
21st June, 2005:
Ultimately, this one worked as well for me as Douglas Adams’ ideas are ever going to work for me. But even in this ‘polished’ form, it could really use, well, perhaps some lemon juice? It’s just a complete muddle from start to finish. I’m almost certain the movie could be made better if the raw footage was just given to a completely-oblivious-to-Adams, skilled editor for a week.
It has some very laugh-out-loud moments, and I really liked the new additions. The casting all-round is perfection, but we’ve known this since they started advertising. Aspects of the production design are a little too much, but some things, in particular the factory floor of Magrathea, are suitably gasp-inducing (for me, Martin Freeman’s reaction expression for this scene was his best bit of acting in the whole movie – he’s otherwise far too Tim-like … not that he can help it). The highlights are the animated Guide entries, narrated by oh-so-matter-of-factly by Stephen Fry.