The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy part 3

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    Craig @craig

    In which we learn that the creation of custom planets for the rich brought an end to the former Galactic Empire.

    Zaphod claims to have found the legendary planet of Magrathea, which is rumoured to have half the wealth of the former Galactic Empire stored on it somewhere.

    But is it safe? Don’t panic, you won’t suffer any stress or nervous tension.

    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    For me, while repetition may have dulled its impact somewhat from when I first saw it, this review continues to highlight just how full of barking imagination the series is.

    From the small furry alpha-centuarian helping to “boldy split infinitives that had never been split before”, to Arthur and Slartibartfasts (“I told you it wasn’t important”) trip through the underworld in their bubble vehicle, this is a delight.

    The visual jokes in film continue to add flavour, such as the care and attention lavished upon a grape to give to the rich, bored Empire man (who promptly feeds it to his dog) to the small callouts to planet construction “Meringue Layer (optional)”.

    It’s difficult to know which would be more impossible to live with. Eddie the over enthusiastic, Eddie the alternative school-marm personality, or Marvin – the complete miserable git.

    Eddie in over-enthusiastic mode obviously believes in finishing existence on a song, burbling “You’ll never walk alone” as the courtesy nuclear warheads home in. I also like the stress alleivment interlude, which is paid off after the credits at the end.

    A typical self-deprecating Brit would never make it in Zaphods Galaxy would he? He dismisses his achievement of being a clever ape – and so is dismissed. I note the voice of Steven Moore on duty again for the whale, about to meet a splashy end.

    Ah, the Bowl of petunias – “oh no not again”, which we learn about in the third (untelevised) book Life, the Universe and Everything. Incidentally, the majority of the plot of that book was an idea that was rejected from Doctor Who. We could have had “Doctor Who and the Krikkit Men”.

    The good lines come thick and fast in this one, and include lines that have entered my own vocabularity at work:

    “I’ll reprogramme you with an axe”
    “I could have a better time in cat litter”
    “We are going to be amazingly amazing” “Sounds Awful”.
    “I’d trust you as far as I could confortably spit a rat.“
    “The stars are coming out.” “I know, wretched isn’t it?”

    OK – the surface of Magrathea looks more than a little quarry like. But it wouldn’t be a BBC sci-fi show without a quarry at some point.

    Richard Vernon is great as Slartibartfast. The lines about “It’s a kind of threat, you see” and “This may disturb you. It scares the willies out of me” are brilliantly delivered.

    Douglas Adams spotters will no doubt spot him in animation form sitting behind a typewriter in the dolphin sequence.


    PhaseShift @phaseshift
    Time Lord

    I’ll just add that Adams love and inspiration from Monty Python increases as the series goes on. For anyone who doesn’t know, Adams used to pitch ideas at the team, but finally got to work with Graham Chapman on a pilot for an aborted sketch series called Out of the Trees in 1975.

    It’s notable for having one sketch which clearly shows some of the absurdity that would make Hitch-Hikers, features the end of the world, and Simon Jones (Arthur) first appearing in something that Adams had written.

    It’s a funny curio, so I’ll add it to below for anyone interested:

    Bluesqueakpip @bluesqueakpip


    repetition may have dulled its impact somewhat

    I admit I prefer the radio version. As the old joke goes, the pictures are better. But, that said, the small furry Alpha Centuran is worth the price of TV admission.

    And I too spotted the BBC chalk pit.

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