VIRGINIA BEACH, VA, United States | Member Since 2012
For me, each version of The Hitchhiker's Guide, as it was translated from one medium to another and back again, possesses its own unique charm. Detailed comparative studies can be, should be, and probably have been, made of the differences and variations between the radio, television, book, record album, computer game and - sure, what the hell - film translations of this most endearing and enlightening franchise, and i imagine such studies would prove enjoyable in their own right. The author's hand is evident in each, ensuring that his vision remains undiminished and undiluted.
Those who yearn for continuity, whether in story or performance, should not be disappointed. Most of the original cast are here, laying it down as solid as ever, with some fine additions picked up along the way. (i confess that i did not originally dig the television version of Trillian, but she makes the scene, for very good reason that becomes clear as the story unfolds, shines as brightly as the others, and i cannot imagine how this could have worked without her.) Rula Lenska returns, with mystical intensity and cosmic scope. Fans of Absolutely Fabulous should be notified that Joanna Lumley and Jane Horrocks appear in this and/or preceding Phases, along with Stephen Fry and other very cool folk, and some americans, i think, as well as an actor whose voice i had not heard much of before, one Douglas Adams, of whom great things may be expected in future lives. But i digress. The storyline of these Phases is consistent with the radio serieses, which form the first two, and this most Quintessential of Phases comprises a kind of paraconsistency with some of the other mediumses through which this saga has passed.
It could be argued that the latter Phases seem to accelerate to a point at which it becomes difficult for the listener to follow just what is happening, that the fine details and elaborately explanatory sidebars get lost. (i for one could have done with a bit more of Old Thrashbarg myself, but i am probably alone in this and rightly so.) But this treatment is perfect for the story's own internal metaphysick; it could even be said that it counterpoints the surrealism of the underlying metaphor, and rewards multiple listenings with profound and vivid insights. Me, i just kind of like stuff that i don't get all of the first time through, and fans of the Firesign Theatre albums might appreciate this quality of replayability.
Of paramount importance, however, is that this is especially recommended for those who finished the book Mostly Harmless and felt cheated out of a satisfactory conclusion to this long-running and diversely presented chronicle. That satisfactory conclusion is here. In the same format in which it began. With such deft flourish of ease that one cannot help but wonder if that was exactly the author's intent all along. It is right. It works. And no one has to get nailed to anything.
If anyone finds this review helpful, i'd be surprised.
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