Song Of The Day 2/23/2016: Neil Hannon – “So Long and Thanks For All the Fish”

Next Best Original Songs – I wouldn't call Hammer & Tongs' 2005 adaptation of the beloved Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy an artistic success. I would say you can see everything it could have been on the screen. It had a sporting chance. Personally I feel anything with Martin Freeman in it has at least a 65% shot of being a lot of fun. Mos Def as Ford Prefect was an inspired choice. Alan Rickman's voicing of Marvin the Paranoid Android was perfect. Production values were solid. The end result was just a jumble, though, and not in the amusing way that Douglas Adams' book was. Fact is, to make HHGTG work you have to preserve at least a little of its self-consciousness. It can't be a comic allegory. It has to keep some aspect of its pretense: This is a hapless British everyman who's being whisked away into alien environments whose priorities curiously seem to be the same as Earth's. Namely, just avoiding hassle and searching for leisure. People always gotta.

The credit sequence for HHGTG is brilliant, though. Strictly speaking it jumps to the middle of the Adams book, where it's revealed that dolphins had tried to tell Earthlings their planet was coming to a violent end, but all humans thought the dolphins were good for was performing in marine parks. Hence their gratitude as expressed in this song by Joby Talbot. In the movie it's arranged as a Broadway-style production number, but in the closing credits it's redone by Talbot's old Divine Comedy bandmate and this blog's possibly involuntary spirit animal, Neil Hannon, in cheesy lounge-jazz swank. 

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