With my fabulous culture junkie friends Peter and Jaq, we went to the movies last night. Having lately been used to only that wonderful cinematic delight that is the Waiheke Island Cinema (ever tried watching Dancer in the Dark reclining comfortably in large divans, with your fish and chips snug in between? I rest my case) we were off to the corporate cinema village in Queen Street to go see Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy. I had never read the books, watched the BBC TV series or listened to the radio series, so I was completely unaware of what to expect, a HHGTTG-virgin as it were.
Stephen Fry's droll narration is always a delight, whatever the occasion - film, TV series, Royal Command Performance - so that was fun, especially the teasing bits of information that left you hanging for later in the film (If humans were the third most intelligent species on the planet, and dolphins were the second, who are the first? was a good example).
The sentimental love story was really cringing and they could have cut it all out, turning it into a much more cynical film. Just imagine what a Red Dwarf take on it would look and sound like.
On the other hand, something that also could have worked is a Wallace & Gromit surreality with a much more English flavour than the current compromise for an American market. That said, John Malkovitch was a truly scary character ("Bless You!") and some scenes had great clever gag appeal (you simply expected the caravan to take off, even if it didn't).
In all, just a few giggles, a few scares and a romp through the universe that starts and ends with a cup of tea. It certainly is inconceivable that it could have been an American film. Just think whether in a video game like Doom, or in any Vin Diesel film, one's fate would hinge on the colour of the form for a presidential reprieve.