348 of 358 people found the following review helpful
on May 4, 2002
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
This is a review of the DVD set itself, as I assuming most of you already know the story and have possibly seen the TV show. This is a digitally remastered DVD with a stereo soundtrack and clear crisp visuals.
It's actually a two DVD set. The TV series, which is on the first DVD, is as near to a flawless reproduction as is currently possible. Watch it with the lights off to enjoy all the visuals and matte painting special effects that were available in 1981 with a shoestring budget. Additionally, this is a "must buy" just for the second DVD alone. Outtakes and deleted scenes, behind-the-scenes footage, The Making of The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy, BBC Omnibus Tribute to Douglas Adams, and much more.
BBC Video has stepped up and hit a homerun with this DVD set. Be sure to watch it with and recommend it to your friends. "Share and enjoy!"
42 of 42 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy is one of those books that you would think there is no way that it could be done right as a movie. Well guess what? IT HAS BE DONE!!!! This is a must have for EVERY "Hitchhiker's" fan. Even if you never heard of the book,radio series, etc, and are a fan of british humor in the vein of Monty Python's Flying Circus, you will love this. The movie isn't actually just based on the book, Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, but is based on the 1st 3 books; The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy,The Resturant At The End Of The Universe, and Life The Universe And Everything. Sure the effects are low budget as hell, but that is all part of it's charm.This is a comedy based on story not effects. I actually think that the effects add to the humor. This is a classic and will always be a permanent part of my movie collection.I just have one question, WHEN WILL THIS COME OUT ON DVD?!?!?
57 of 59 people found the following review helpful
on February 11, 2007
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
These episodes are as close to the book as is possible, unlike the movie made in 2005. Being a latecomer to the Hitchhiker world, I wasn't sure what to expect from these 1981 renditions, but I was totally blown away by the "pureness" of the script and the graphics that they were able to make for the time. It's very well acted too, and the guy who played Arthur in the radio series also plays him on screen in these episodes. Douglas Adams also makes an on-screen appearance in a particular sequence, but I won't spoil the surprise.
They also include some documentaries done about 10 years later, which include interviews with the actors and Douglas Adams and a look at how they made the graphics.
The episodes cover most of the first novel, spend some time at the restaurant at the end of the universe and end at prehistoric earth.
38 of 39 people found the following review helpful
Format: DVDVerified Purchase
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" started life as a radio series at the BBC, and quickly became a huge smash. Following that success, creator Douglas Adams found himself writing novel adaptations and the screenplay for this wonderful six part television show, which premiered in 1981. It was an instant success and has achieved a huge following worldwide. First seen in the mid 1980s on PBS in the US, its popularity grew greater still, and if any show ever called out for a DVD release this is it.
For those of you who aren't familiar with "Hitchhiker" it is the story of a human, Arthur Dent, and his extraterrestrial friend Ford Prefect who flee the Earth after it's destruction (to make way for a hyperspace bypass) and have mind-bending misadventures with compatriots Zaphod Beeblebrox and another human, the lovely Trillian. The series is filled with extremely quirky twists and turns throughout, and truly defies description. Suffice it to say that it is light years ahead of its time and never fails to provoke a laugh.
The good humor of the series is cemented by actor Simon Jones, playing Arthur, who tours the galaxy in his bathrobe (and always knows where his towel is.) Simon was one of the key cast members carried over from the radio show, and he truly is made for the part. Likewise David Dixon is perfect as the wild-eyed Ford.
Remember that this was a low budget production, so don't expect special effects to rival "Star Wars." Most of the effects are adequate, although I think the producers would have done well to dispense with the robotic second head of Zaphod found in the radio show and book, as the contraption that Mark Wing Davey has to wear is extremely lame, and really doesn't further the plot. His third arm, though, is surprisingly well done. Something to note in this show are what appear to be computer generated entries from the guide, which are actually amazing pieces of first rate animation.
The second DVD is a wonderful gift from BBC Video. It contains two documentaries on "Hitchhiker" one from 1992, and one made for this release, as well as outtakes, deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage, and production notes which can be superimposed throughout the entire presentation. It has a digitally remastered stereo soundtrack, but you can also select the original mono soundtrack which I generally prefer, as when the computer, Deep Thought, speaks there is too much reverb in the stereo version to understand it easily. It also contains a tribute to Douglas Adams who died suddenly at the age of 49 immediately before the release of the DVD set.
This is still the only science fiction comedy series that truly got it right, and this DVD is an absolute treasure to own and watch. By all means, check it out today, but don't let the Vogons read you any of their poetry!
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
on July 31, 2002
I won't bother discussing the storyline here since there are plenty of reviews that have done that. People who buy this DVD set will usually do so because they have seen the show already anyway. Instead I'll tell you a bit about what to expect from the DVDs themselves.
The DVDs are packaged in a 'new-style' black keep case which is larger than the single disc cases. This allows for better storage of the DVDs instead of cramming a second DVD into a case designed for one.
The menus are nicely done, and are all motion video menus. On the main DVD you have the options for selecting an individual episode AND also for selecting a scene within an episode. This was a nice touch since I thought they would only do one and not both. Of course you can choose to "play all" and it will sequentially play all the episodes for you. All bonus material is on the second disc.
The audio and video quality of the discs was QUITE good when you consider that this material is over 20 years old. I didn't notice any visual artifacts. The audio quality was good, although I found that the in some cases scenes with a lot of bass were harder to hear at lower volumes. (like the scene with 'Deep Thought') You can either add treble/lower bass or just increase the volume a bit. Given the age of the content, the audio was pretty good. No noticeable artifacts that detracted from the recording.
If you choose the 'setup' screen you'll be met with some options. First is to choose between "remixed stereo'' or mono. If you don't have stereo speakers or a stereo TV, it is best to choose MONO here. (see below for details) You should note these are actually two distinct audio tracks on the disc, not a setting to 'adapt' the audio.
Next you can choose to turn on one of the two sets of subtitles. There are standard English subtitles, and 'production notes'. In most DVDs the production notes are a few screens of text selected off the main menu. On this DVD they have instead used captions. So, it's sorta like a poor man's "Pop-up video" when the production notes are enabled. While you watch the episodes you'll see text that describes various aspects of the series and in many cases information related to the scenes themselves. The only problem on the setup menu is that when you access it, the settings LOOK like both the subtitles and production notes are turned ON. When you move your arrow to select that option you press enter on the word "ON" to turn it ON and not to turn it OFF. A touch confusing, but easy to understand once you know about it.
You'll see a couple reviews where people say there was 'missing audio dialog' on the DVD. I don't believe this is the case, but in actuality it is a 'setup' problem with their DVD Player/TV. The way the DVD works is as so: The main audio for the series is stereo, but certain aspects are only played on ONE channel. The narrator usually speaks on the right channel, and the guide narrator usually speaks on the left channel. So if you have a set or TV that is not true stereo and it is not processing the audio correctly, you may not hear one of the channels. In that case, adjust your audio settings as described above to MONO and that will likely fix your problem. However I watched the DVD and ALL the audio was there. If you don't like the way they did the stereo audio, you can always switch to mono and not lose much quality. (aside from not hearing stereo)
The episodes are presented in their entirety, and not 'clipped' together into one big 'movie'. So when you watch the shows you will see the start and close credits for EACH episode.
On disc two, there are a number of added features. One feature, `The Making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is a bit cheesy in that they have made it as if it is a `mini-sequel' of sorts. It's supposedly 12 years later, and Simon Jones ('Arthur Dent') returns to find his home still intact and a pile of mail inside the door. He heads up to his bedroom and finds the Guide on his bed, and proceeds to `watch' the making of on the Guide itself. For the most part they stick to the making of, but they occasionally cut back to him in his pyjamas
There are a few Easter eggs on the discs, but I'll leave that for you to find them. Overall I was pleased with the effort. They could have done a one disc deal and people would still have purchased it. However I think this is a great set and definitely a must buy for any Douglas Adams fan.
23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 23, 2002
Anyone who's seen the VHS (or BBC broadcast) of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" knows the format. There's live action, then an animated bit of material from the Guide with appropriate narration, then some more live action, and so on. Some of the best material in the movie is contained in those animated bits. So why does the DVD leave out huge chunks of the narration for some of these animations, and even one live action scene (describing the invention of the Infinite Improbability Drive)? If you've seen the show before you know what the images are for. If you haven't, it's a bizarre and disjointed muck-up. It's not a total sound failure. The "beep-de-beep" soundtrack music is still annoyingly there. But the words explaining what you're seeing, and why that's significant, are missing in several key sequences on the DVD. Not on the VHS, strangely enough. On the plus side, the images on the DVD are crisp and amazingly clear. But the lost pieces of narration are so highly frustrating that you'd be better off hunting down a VHS copy instead. Shoddy DVD preparation is becoming more and more of a problem (as in the "special edition" of the epic "Pride and Prejudice", too many copies of which turn up with a bright blue cast). Too bad it had to strike such a wonderfully inventive video as "Hitchhiker", where even a badly flawed copy is better than no copy at all.
19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on February 2, 2007
I searched a while to find this original version , it is much more complete than the new movie , and while a low budget style production , the acting and writing are the real deal.
One for the collection if you go for this sort of thing !
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on November 16, 1999
Format: VHS Tape
I loved the books by Adams and was looking forward to the video. I have seen the TV version of this series and found it very good. When I saw that this was offered on video, I had to have it! The thing that I wanted to know first and foremost about the video was the running time. There are several versions out there and I didn't want the stripped down, edited, much shorter one. The info said it was 194 minutes so I ordered it right away. When the video arrived, I was astounded to find it was on one VHS tape, how could this be? The tape speed is EP, or slow speed. Very bad guys. I would pay more to have it on 2 VHS tapes without a flinch but putting it on one tape to save money is bad. Sometimes, movies have to be seen as the director or producer intended it. This is why I NEVER watch movies that are "edited for TV". They cut whatever they can just for the sake of putting in 10 more commercials. Bad, Bad, Bad! I enjoyed the movie and put up with the tearing from the bad transfer. Worth a look but could have been mastered better.
22 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on July 2, 2000
Format: VHS Tape
Well, most people seem to think this is an inferior production of some kind--or at least, those who have read the books first. I happened to watch this miniseries (and it was the chopped-up version, too!) FIRST, and _then_ read the books afterwards. The wrong order, but it's the way I was introduced to Hitchhiker's Guide and you know what...? I'm glad! I personally think there is nothing wrong with this series--except for the way it leaps wildly about instead of following the books' plot more closely. Still, that's the only quibble. The low budget and bad special effects really didn't bother me; they are part of its charm. As for the characters--well, that was my FIRST impression of them, ever, so I couldn't compare them to their book descriptions! Trillian may have been a blonde, true, but she was likeable and funny, and _that's_ what counts. Others have praised Simon Jones as Arthur Dent, at this site, with good reason--he has the personality, twitches, gestures, etc. of the character, as described in the books, down _perfectly_. But I'd also like to take a moment to praise David Dixon's performance as Ford Prefect. I had never even HEARD of any of these characters before seeing this miniseries--but by the time I had gotten through the scene (in Episode 1) where Ford just flat-out CONS Prosser into lying in the mud, I ADORED the character! And it was the _acting_, not the book description, that was my first impression of him. I went into the book series after that _already_ knowing who I was cheering for. And the lines were delivered very funnily by all involved, too. After seeing this, my entire family had great fun, going about the house and yelling out random quotes in the characters' different British accents! All in all, I thought it was VERY funny and a very respectable effort, despite its low budget. If you are already a Hitchhiker's fan, you like British sci-fi in general or just want a good laugh that's a bit on the _different_ side, get this video. You'll be glad you did.
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
on April 19, 2005
The recent trailers for the new big screen film adaptation of Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy have brought back memories of the BBC's 1981 television adaptation of Hitchhiker's Guide produced by Alan J.W. Bell. Simon Jones resprises his radio series role as Englishman Arthur Dent, who awakens on the worst Thursday morning ever to find a wrecking crew ready to demolish his home to make way for a bypass. David Dixon plays Arthur's friend Ford Prefect, an alien field researcher for the Guide who tries to explain to Arthur that the Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Mark Wing-Davey reprises his radio series role as former Galactic President turned fugitive Zaphod Beeblebrox, and Sandra Dickinson plays Tricia "Trillian" McMillan. Doctor Who fans may recognize the late Valentine Dyall (The Black Guardian) as the voice of the super computer Deep Thought, or Peter Davison (The Fifth Doctor) as the "Dish of the Day" at Milliway's. And Star Wars fans will be pleased to see a brief cameo by the original Darth Vader himself, David Prowse. The bonus features disc is also packed with lots of fun extras--my favorite being the BBC Omnibus Tribute to the late Douglas Adams. I'm definitely looking forward to the Hitchhiker's Guide movie which opens in theaters April 29th, but I still love this early 80's adaptation of Hitchhiker's. Grab your towel, pour yourself a PanGalactic Gargle Blaster, and enjoy this BBC adaptation of Douglas Adams' hilarious science fiction masterpiece.