Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
Private Joe Bauers, the definition of "average American", is selected by the Pentagon to be the guinea pig for a top-secret hibernation program. Forgotten, he awakes five centuries in the future. He discovers a society so incredibly dumbed down that he's easily the most intelligent person alive.
A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living.
Everyone has bad mornings. You wake up late, you stub your toe, you burn the toast...but for a man named Arthur Dent, this goes far beyond a bad day. When he learns that a friend of his is actually an alien with advanced knowledge of Earth's impending destruction, he is transported off the Earth seconds before it is exploded to make way for a new hyperspace motorway. And as if that's not enough, throw in being wanted by the police, Earth II, an insane electronic encyclopedia, no tea whatsoever, a chronically depressed robot and the search for the meaning of life, and you've got the greatest adventure off Earth. Written by
The Vogon written language seen on their release forms as well as in a bilingual caption in the Magrathean video which says "Information Deleted", is actually a form of English. Pitman shorthand, once taught to hundreds of thousands of office-workers mainly in the British Commonwealth, is a series of straight and curved strokes meant to write down sounds much faster than regular writing. As discussed in a book about the movie, the Vogons use a slightly blocky but recognizable form of "Pitman 2000", the most recent version of Pitman shorthand published in 1970. It occurs in the Vogon release forms, posters on the wall which say "Fire Exit Escape Map" (over a hopelessly confusing maze of arrows with a spot at the center saying "You Are Here") and "Are you depressed? Destruction Therapy!" See more »
When Ford passes Arthur's caravan as he chases a group of Vogons with a towel, the cameraman (along with about three other crewmembers) is reflected in the caravan. See more »
It's an important and popular fact that things are not always what they seem. For instance, on the planet Earth, Man had always assumed that he was the most intelligent species occupying the planet, instead of the *third* most intelligent. The second most intelligent creatures were of course dolphins who, curiously enough, had long known of the impending destruction of the planet earth. They had made many attempts to alert mankind to the danger, but most of their communications ...
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After a couple of minutes of typical movie credits, we are treated with a final, classic Guide entry. It refers to Arthur Dent carelessly speaking words about a towel, which ends up being interpreted by a pair of warring factions as a devastating insult. They then spend thousands of years coming to Earth bent on revenge, however "due to a terrible miscalculation of scale the entire battle fleet was accidentally swallowed by a small dog". The Guide concludes with the reassuring nugget of wisdom, "this sort of thing is going on all the time". See more »
It's a known fact that the movie adaptation of Hitchhiker's has been up in the air for some years now. Passing from the hands of one director to the next (James Cameron, Spike Jonze and Jay Roach), it wasn't until the idea landed in front of Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith that things truly started to take shape.
Douglas Adams died from a heart attack in 2001, but after reading the books, watching the film and drawing a comparison, it's clear that Adams would've accepted this adaptation of the TV series of the computer game of the radio series wholeheartedly.
Martin Freeman is an inspired choice as the face of Arthur Dent. He's an everyman, his slightly vacant, permanently confused facial expression (which we've all come to recognise from his role in The Office), truly becoming from a man who's trying to make sense of what's Out There, which happens to be similar to, though on a slightly larger scale than what's Down Here. And stupider.
Admittedly, it would've been nice to see more English talent taking on the roles from Adams' well loved creation. Steven Fry is THE Guide, the quintessential voice of logic and good-humoured reasoning in the Universe. Bill Nighy makes a great Slartibartfast, coming across as the kindly, if a little absent minded, genius that I've always imagined. And Alan Rickman providing his nasal drones to Marvin the Paranoid Android worked to near perfection.
That's not to say that the American cast isn't great. Mos Def and Zooey Deschanel are excellent as Ford Prefect and Trillian, but it's obvious that it's Sam Rockwell who's having all the fun, relishing his role as the over-excitable, reminiscently hippie-rockstar Ex-President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox.
So all in all, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a great experience. Non-Adamites will love it, as will the die hard fans. It's such a shame that its creator had to bow out before his beloved creation came to life, but due to his input into the movie script (the character Humma Kavula, played by John Malkovich, was written by him especially for the movie), his enthusiasm still lives on.
Want to go to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe now, please.
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