April 30th, 2005


The Hichhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Gong Fu (Kung Fu Hustle)

I discovered the Douglas Adams book first. Then the BBC radio programmes. Then the computer game, the rest of the books, the radio broadcast scripts, and the 6-part BBC/PBS television show. And the 80's pop hits performed by Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Hell, I even watched that show with Felicity Kendall, the one where Stephen Moore played her permanently depressed exboyfriend, the character upon whom Marvin was based.

I'd been hearing rumours for over 20 years that a theatrical film release of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, so it was with a fair bit of trepidation that I approached the actual release of the film after 25 years of memorisation.

And the result? Mostly Harmless.

Marvin's all wrong-looking, and there's this strange bit in the middle where the film seems to go through the Infinite Improbability Drive and makes no sense at all for about 30 minutes, but then it comes back out around Magrathea and regains normality.

Because the voice actors from the radio shows also played the characters on TV, it's hard to imagine anyone else in those roles, but the people in the roles fit well enough. I'd have preferred a British Trillian, Ford and Zaphod, and I have always imagined Hugh Grant as Arthur, but Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast? Perfection. And the Guide's animations are spiffing, too. And we're rather nicely set up for a sequel at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe in another 25 years or so.

Back on the most populated country on Earth, pre-hyperspace bypass demolition, Stephen Chow is at it again.

I fell in love with the man when I discovered The God of Cookery a few years ago, and my love only has become stonger with Shaolin Soccer, From Beijing with Love, The King of Comedy and Forbidden City Cop. And now he gives us Kung Fu Hustle.

It's what Kill Bill wanted to be but wasn't. It's clever. It's silly. It involves food...sort of a Sing Chi-Chau trademark. But it can really be described by only three words: Go see it. Or visit your local Chinatown DVD seller for a copy imported fresh from Hong Kong. If it's anything like mine, it'll be a cleaner, better subtitled copy than the one you see in the theatre.

Actually, print out this list and get all of his movies. You think Jackie Chan is funny? He's Bob Hope compared to Stephen Chow's sort of Will Smith comedic Everyman. Only moreso.
  • Current Music
    Kung Fu Hustle (again!)