Guest Author - Gail Kavanagh
The release of the new movie Hitch Hiker´s Guide to the Galaxy upset many fans of this uniquely British sci fi classic.
You see, it had all been done before, as a six episode TV series that became a cult hit with sci fi fans - and as far as some of those fans are concerned, it will never be done better.
Hitch Hiker´s Guide to the Galaxy was originally a trilogy of novels by English writer Douglas Adams. It seemed almost impossible to adapt Adams´ whacky humor to the limitations of the small screen, but the BBC had already a strong track record in sci fi with Dr Who and Blake´s Seven.
Hitch Hiker´s Guide to the Galaxy was richly flavored with that truly British sense of humor. The ´hero´ was Arthur Dent, a mild mannered Englishman who loved cricket and cups of tea. He woke one morning to find a bulldozer aiming for his house, which was to be demolished for a new motorway.
Adams was a master satirist, poking fun at many British institutions. What was under attack at the beginning of Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy was the British Government´s cavalier treatment of home owners, compulsorily purchasing their houses to make room for public works.
Adams gave this the perfect twist with the arrival of a huge spaceship, that hung in the air 'the way bricks don´t' announcing that Earth was to be demolished to make room for a new hyperspace bypass. The crew of the ship, the blustering beaurocratic Vogons, tell the Earth people that the plans have been on display somewhere in space, and its their fault if they didn't see them.
Dent and his friend, the planet hopping traveler Ford Prefect (another very English joke - this was the name of a car model) hitch a ride on the Vogon ship and shoot away into space as Planet Earth explodes.
The cast was impeccable, even if the special effects were definitely not. With Simon Jones as the hapless Arthur Dent, and engaging David Dixon as Ford Prefect, the two main roles were perfectly cast. Add to that Sandra Dickinson as Trillian, and Mark Wing-Davy as the two headed rock star Zaphod Beeblebrox, and you have something that really cannot be bettered.
The various smaller roles filled by British comedy stalwarts like Jim Broadbent and Richard Vernon make this a classic of British comedy, off the wall, irreverent and poking fun at everybody’s sacred cows. Yes, the special effects are awful – but that just adds to the fun, you know?