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Friday, April 29, 2005

Slow on the uptake

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy opened today as a "major motion picture." I probably won't get to see it until Sunday, and I'm hoping to be pleasantly surprised.

I like to think that I'm a pretty sharp guy, that things don't get by me too easily. Sometimes they do, and I don't realize it until a long time later. Two of those things are associated with this film.

OK, I just lost the looong version of this post, so I'll just hit the highlights:

- Sam Rockwell, who plays Zaphod Beeblebrox in this film, played a character named Guy in Galaxy Quest. The joke was that his character was an actor who had played a "red shirt" character in one episode of the "Galaxy Quest" TV show - a character who is introduced solely for the purpose of getting killed. Not a major character, just some guy. (I didn't get this until a friend referred to Zaphod as being "...that Guy from Galaxy Quest." Fans of the Hitchhiker's Guide radio series will know that "Zaphod's just this guy, you know?")

- The Infinite Improbability Drive is a quantum mechanics joke, related to the probability wave function and Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle. 24 years and a B.S. in Physics after I first read the book, and I'm just getting that now. And I have the official movie site to thank for that revelation, since it refers to the Infinite Improbability Drive as allowing you to be "everywhere at once" - not the formulation that Douglas Adams used ("...passes simultaneously through every point in the universe.") Now I understand: Infinite Improbability can be thought of as Infinite Uncertainty in the position of a quantum particle. Douglas Adams was a hell of a lot more clever than I realized.


Super G said...

mr. echo, please give us the thumbs up/thumbs down for an adult - and make the assessment for a 12-year old boy that can appreciate Monty Python, among other things.

D.B. Echo said...

OK, just got back from it, and I'm about to write a review. I give it a semi-enthusiastic thumbs-up. I also think there's a lot of detail stuff that you might not notice on the first time around - I would suggest taking a notepad and pen and jotting down the images that appear with each use of the Improbability Drive, for later review and digestion.

There is stuff for kids and adults, fans and non-fans. One of those things, of course, is Zooey Deschanel, who plays Trillian. If the movie were just a two-hour closeup of her face I would go broke buying tickets.