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... Read allMere 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."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."
The bits that worked really well - the dolphin song and dance number at the beginning ('So Long And Thanks For All The Fish), and their return to the remodelled Earth at the end; the journey Arthur and Slartibartfast take through the factory floor at Magrathea and the Earth Mk II (the creation of the oceans, the Himalayas, etc.); the Vogon bureaucratic centre / job centre (where the original TV series Marvin waits in line!); the planet where the travellers are attacked by mean looking rubber spade things; and the bits with the Guide itself - new animations, updated from the (excellent) hand-done ones on TV.
Casting was hit and miss for me - Martin Freeman was OK but was not my idea of Arthur Dent (perhaps Dent will be forever Simon Jones for those who saw/heard him first - here he is a cameo as the Ghostly Image warning the Heart of Gold not to approach the mystery planet). Mos Def was just wrong as Ford Prefect - too American, too trendy.
Zooey Deschanel was the perfect Trillian - you can believe this girl is an astrophysicist (although the line which tells you that is cut). Sam Rockwell as Zaphod. No! He was really irritating me right from his first appearance although by the time Ford was squeezing lemons into his brain to make him think the character got funnier. The two heads are hopeless but perhaps an improvement on a shoulder-mounted rubber one.
Others are very good in smaller parts - Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast, John Malkovich as new character Humma Kavula, Steve Pemberton as Mr Prosser, and of course the voice-only talent (Bill Bailey, Helen Mirren, Alan Rickman, and Stephen Fry as the Book).
What I missed the most were favourite lines - the whole 'Beware of the Leopard' sequence from the beginning between Arthur Dent and Mr Prosser; the 'Please enjoy your trip through this door' perky personality doors on the Heart of Gold; the 'turning into a penguin' and 'monkeys writing Hamlet' sequence; and the 'trouble with my lifestyle' section on Magrathea.
To make up for it the special effects are very good and there are lots of new creatures such as the jewel encrusted crab and the tiny running robot. The Vogons look good as well.
The film itself has a happy ending which is at odds with the book and all other adaptations - it also ends at a different point to both radio and TV series, just as the characters are off to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe. Does this mean there will be sequels?
- Apr 29, 2005