The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

reviewed by
Steve Rhodes


THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY
A film review by Steve Rhodes
Copyright 2005 Steve Rhodes
RATING (0 TO ****):  **

THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY, a strange concoction brewed of part GALAXY QUEST and part STAR WARS, is based on Douglas Adams's novel of the same name, cult followers of which packed our screening. They certainly liked it, but I sure didn't. With wacky and imaginative sci-fi humor that is really out there, the movie is one that you can't help admire, even if you, like me, end up slumped in your seat, just staring at it.

Set at a time when earth is about to be destroyed by a doofus president of the universe, who ran on a "vote for stupid" campaign slogan, the movie starts with our planet being destroyed "to make way for a hyperspace expressway." GALAXY QUEST stars Sam Rockwell and Alan Rickman play the president, Zaphod Beeblebrox, and his robot, Marvin the Paranoid Android. Actually Rickman just supplies the voice, and someone else is inside the robot suit, not that you'll care. Martin Freeman and Zooey Deschanel play earth's last two living humans, Arthur Dent and Tricia McMillan. Mos Def (the detective in THE WOODSMAN) plays Ford Prefect, the guide to the galaxy for the earthling Arthur.

The chief villains in the story are a set of creatures who resemble Jabba the Hutt and who are obsessed with bureaucratic red tape and punish people by reading their exceedingly bad poetry. There are also lots of imaginative and silly gadgets, including an "improbability drive." What is really improbable is that a movie this lavishly made, which clearly had a lot of creative energy put into it, ends up appealing only to its pre-sold fans. I couldn't have cared less. I found it almost sad that so much work had been spent on such a dud.

THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY runs too long at 1:50. It is rated PG for "thematic elements, action and mild language" and would be acceptable for kids around 6 and up.

My son Jeffrey, age 16, gave it **1/2. He said that the movie was more like a sci-fi sketch and that it lacked something, although it was kind of cute. His friend Dustin, also 16, gave it **, saying that he expected it to be funnier but that it was funny only now and then.

The film opens nationwide in the United States on Friday, April 29, 2005. In the Silicon Valley, it will be showing at the AMC theaters, the Century theaters and the Camera Cinemas.

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