Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Historical Type

A piece of history has gone on sale. The typewriter that Douglas Adams used to write his wonderful The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. The full article is here. My favorite part of it is "With strange significance, the x key is particularly discolored and worn, which I hope will prompt someone to do a statistical breakdown of the frequency of letter x's in Adams' oeuvre." If I had the extra time for things such as that, I'd check it out myself.

I really love this series. There are too many delightful moments, scenes, passages and concepts. It's a pity about the movie. I will admit that I have not seen it. From watching the trailer and promotions, I sincerely doubted the makers of the movie had even read the books. For instance: Marvin the Paranoid Android (my favorite character) is specifically described as boxy/squarish/rectangle-like. Why is he round/bulbous/curvy in the film? Zaphod Beeblebrox's other head is on his shoulder, not in his stomach! Ugh. I just couldn't stomach it. A friend of mine (also a fan of the books) did see it and said he wanted to weep. Seems for every good adaptation of a novel, there is a bad one as well.

Well, try not to think about it. Instead think of Douglas (rest his soul!) clacking away, creating a masterpiece with such wacky sci-fi gadgets on such an "archaic" device. Bravo! 42.

4 comments:

genericdragon said...

"From watching the trailer and promotions, I sincerely doubted the makers of the movie had even read the books."

Really? Huh...

Then I would say that you have just judged a book by it's cover. Douglas Adams had a major role in the making of the film from screenplay writer, to Executive Producer and Consultant. So what you are doing with that statement is blaming Douglas Adams for not reading his own book.

Congratulations! Score one for faulty logic.

Peter Von Brown said...

Gee, thanks for the slap on the wrist, Dragon. :) My reasoning stemmed from that it let me down by initial reaction, differing from judging a book by the cover as it plainly stomped on beloved story elements. Given Adams' involvement, I suppose I should say I am severely disappointed in the way he repackaged his work.
Then again, I wouldn't put it past Hollywood to have retweaked it after he passed up into the stars.

genericdragon said...

DNA had never produced a version of H²G² exactly the same. The radio show is different from the books and that is different from the tv show (and even the musical)... why wouldn't the movie be any exception?

From what I gather from your response, you wouldn't be happy with any of those versions either because it isn't true to his vision of the story. To which I say: he never had a true vision of the story. The fact that the story is so different from production to prodution is what makes the Hitchhikker's Guide to the Galaxy so appealing. It's not the same crap is a glossier package. It's a fully functional story that can stand on it's own no matter the version or media.

What I also find surprising is your negative opinion of a movie that you haven't even seen. I can only take your opinion as a valid argument AFTER you have seen the movie, not because you saw a 1 minute trailer. That is a judgement of the bookcover.

It would be like judging negatively toward Neverworld just by viewing this site. It wouldn't be a fair and strong arguement, but just a assumation that the quality of your story isn't as good because it isn't THE story.

Peter Von Brown said...

Though I see your point, I still have to disagree. I'm not just talking about not liking how something looks. I am talking about a complete and utter disregard for what DEFINES characters. If, for example, a version of Peter and Wendy existed which had been intended as the same story (meant to be Barrie's tale and not a "re-imagining") and within it Peter Pan is a grown-up who doesn't fly, that I would not see either. The Hitchhiker's movie, as far as I could tell, blantantly destroyed said characteristics while still claiming to be the same story. I liked the radio scripts. I liked the television series. I knew of the musical, too. From what I read of it, I probably would have enjoyed it. Re-adapt and revise the story all you want, just don't present something else entirely and call it the same thing. Whether or not Adams made the changes, I do not appreciate killing the "essence." Since there are so many other versions of Hitchhiker's to enjoy, I just prefer not to waste my time on something that can't send it up "right." Especially when I've been waiting 15 or more years for the damned thing to exist. ;)

I'm judging its "cover" while knowing the content already. That's not the same as judging a book by its cover.