Prairie and I went to see The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy last weekend, on opening night at the Cinerama. The perfect time to go, as far as I’m concerned. A gorgeous theatre, and lots of excited fans looking forward to seeing the show — including a few who showed up dressed for the occasion in bathrobe and with towel slung over their shoulder.

I’ve been perusing various reviews since then, and it’s been interesting to see the reactions. I haven’t seen many people who were entirely disappointed, but I haven’t seen many people head-over-heels in love with it, either. Most of the consensus seems to be that they did an acceptable job in translating the book to film.

For my part, I had a blast. It wasn’t perfect, but I thought it was quite enjoyable, and a reasonably good attempt at putting Douglas Adams‘ particular brand of absurdity on screen.

While I could point out a few things that bothered me a bit (Sam Rockwell as Zaphod, for instance, came across more as annoyingly-annoying rather than insanely-egotistically-cool-annoying-but-still-a-hoopy-frood) and a whole list of things that I was thrilled to see (the BBC TV series Marvin in line on Vogosphere, or the entrance to the Magraethea factory floor), there was one particular standout point for me.

In a movie that was cast fairly well overall — Mos Def as Ford and Martin Freeman Arthur were both good, Zooey Deschanel as Trillian is really cute, and I loved Alan Rickman as Marvin’s voice — far and away the single best piece of casting was Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast. He was, to my mind, jaw-droppingly perfect. While I don’t think any of the other actors will replace the mental images I’ve had in my head for years from reading the books, as far as I’m concerned, this was as if Slartibartfast was plucked whole from the pages and put on screen. Absolutely brilliant.

Even better, Royce called me on Tuesday to wish me a happy birthday and chat for a while, and as we were discussing the film, he said nearly exactly the same thing — good movie, pretty well done, Slartibartfast was perfect. It appears that great minds think alike…and so do ours!

iTunesSo Long & Thanks for All the Fish” by Hilary Summers, Kemi Ominiyi & The R’SVP Voices from the album The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005, 2:26).

Amazon has the full trailer for The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on their home page right now. It’s Flash-based and kind of small, but at least it’s there.

So far, things look promising.

Update: Waxy has a QT version.

I found this much higher-quality Quicktime trailer, that seems to be a copy of the internal workprint with time signatures and “Do Not Duplicate” warning. Oh, well!

iTunesShoot That Laserbeam (Re-Recorded)” by Army of Lovers from the album Army of Lovers (1991, 4:22).