Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Weird thing of the day 12 April 2005/3 Nisan 5765 (Look Up At The Sky Day)


Today’s edition was delayed because for the third night in the row I had sleeping trouble and got up late. Today I decided to put off posting until after I had gotten some real work done. Thanks to this quasi-procrastination, I was spared having to choose something because Marvin the Paranoid Android sent me another essay, which I deem to be today’s weird thing and include below for your edification. You may also get a political update later this evening, but no promises. Enjoy Marvin’s commentary.


I have previously complained that, based on the
trailers on the telly, the probability that the
will most likely be awful. Not the good kind of
awful, mind you, such as ATTACK OF THE KILLER TOMATOES
or IT'S ALIVE!, which were awful in an endearing way.
Rather, based on the trailer and the fact that it was
being put out by Touchstone (that is, Walt Disney
Pictures being ashamed to say it is being put out by
Walt Disney Pictures), I calculated that the movie
will have a 99.28% probability of being bloody awful,
a 97.71% probability of being worse than the form of
"artistic expression" on Validon VII involving the
expulsion of bodily fluids, and a 37.70% probability
per viewer of deciding they would rather be at a
Vogon poetry reading than being in the theatre.

Yes, the screenplay did get its start with Douglas
Adams, writer of the original radio play, books, and
so forth. Mr. Adams wrote at least three drafts for
the screenplay in the 1980s, but due to the complex
politics of filmmaking and his computer constantly
distracting him, it was never made. Then he died and
suddenly the movie was made. Interesting.

On the Internet Movie Database it is claimed that:

"The producers have stated that this film is not a
literal translation of the books (just as the books
were not a literal translation of the original radio
show), but all of the new ideas and characters came
from Douglas Adams himself. The hired writer simply
came aboard to improve structure and make the
screenplay more coherent."

Perhaps this is so. However, those of you who have
read the review Zaphod Beeblebrox found will likely
doubt this. (I doubt most of you have actually read
this review, in part because the server has been so
busy and in part because ignoring Zaphod is generally
a good idea.) For those who have not, this hired
writer apparently kept the movie under two hours by
excising all the humour. Since the original book and
radio play were comedies, this could hardly be an
improvement. If anything, the review indicates the
movie will be most unfunny and incoherent. It is
impossible that anything short of a severe brain
injury would have made Mr. Adams approve of this mess
were he still alive. I can only surmise that the
hired writer and production staff do not know what
"humour," "improvement" and "coherency" mean.

Somehow being vindicated hardly seems thrilling at
all. I have a hard time believing, though, that the
humans who made this movie, even being the descendents
of useless people sent to Earth so the remaining
population of their planet could live in peace, could
do something so stupid. Nevertheless, it appears to
be so.


I have contacted Touchstone/Disney regarding the poor
quality of this movie. After several attempts, I
finally got this response:

Dear Mr. Paranoid Android,

Thank you for expressing your concerns about our
upcoming film The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
During the making of this film, we were exposed to
high levels of improbability due to a malfunction in
the infinite improbability drive of the Heart of Gold.
As a result, any reviews or advertisements you see
for the film may not accurately reflect its contents.
We strongly encourage you to see The Hitchhiker's
Guide to the Galaxy when it arrives in theaters on
April 29th.

I. M. Skurtin, Vice President of Publicity
Touchstone (no, we're really not Disney) Pictures

Given that the review indicates the filmmakers did not
understand what "improbability" means (any more than
they do "humour," "improvement," or "coherency"), I
strongly encourage you to skip the theatre and stare
at the wall. You don't know how much more enjoyable
the latter is.

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