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."
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 initial dolphin dance scene was filmed in the "Loro Parque" Zoo, in Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife, Spain, the only place in Europe to feature an "Orca Ocean", and site of the world's largest parrot collection. See more »
When Arthur goes back to his house, he makes a cup of tea. When he drinks it, there is clearly milk in it, although he never put any in. When it vibrates along the table, it is black again. 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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"For Douglas" -- precedes the closing credits, after the final action sequence. See more »
What "Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" needs is space. Not outer space; that's a given. It needs the kind of space that gives Douglas Adams' cosmically discursive whimsy a chance to grow in the minds of an audience. Like a five-volume trilogy. Or a miniseries. Or a computer game.
What it didn't need was a two-hour movie.
"Hitchhiker's Guide" the movie is the proof. A crammed, artificial-feeling creation by committee, it tries to be both a mass-market entertainment and true to the extended Adams family of fans by cramming the story of a man in a bathrobe, one Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), shuttled beyond the known universe after his home planet of Earth is destroyed to make room for an intergalactic superhighway.
"It must be Thursday," Arthur muses. "I could never get the hang of Thursdays."
The film feels like that, too. A shapeless regurgitation of episodes from the first Adams novel, mixed with a couple of annoying new story lines and an uncomfortably conventional, even sentimental romance between Dent and the lead female character, Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), "Hitchhiker" never gets the hang of its source material, not surprising given that material's selective appeal. Any story that starts with Earth's wholesale destruction as a source of liberation and hilarity won't play in Peoria.
Director Garth Jennings treats Adams with unfailing deference even as he skirts past Adams' work out of simple necessity. If you remember things from reading the books or watching the BBC miniseries, there's a good chance you'll see it referenced in the movie. But Jennings and writer Karey Kirkpatrick never get the material to play on its own power. Instead it seems to settle between two opposite attitudinal poles, that of a giant-headed manic-depressed robot (Alan Rickman's voice, Warwick Davis's body) and the two-headed, maniacally egotistical President of the Galaxy (first-billed Sam Rockwell), spouting dialogue that's likely to infuriate Adams purists and befuddle everyone else. The story moves in fits and jerks as Arthur and his companions planet hop in search of the question to the ultimate answer, which isn't as cool as it sounds.
The film does have an impressive look, especially when we meet the nasty Vogons, Muppets cleverly designed by the Jim Henson people to resemble black walking warts with Charles Laughton faces. In their vast clanky metal spaceship I was reminded of the best parts of "Brazil". Deschanel is as cute and winsome as ever; those big blues of hers just slay me. The humor still manages to connect about three times out of ten, especially when Bill Nighy shows up as a somewhat dazed fellow who helped design the original planet Earth. (He's very proud of his fjords.)
But in the end, you are left feeling more like the robot than anyone else.
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