The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) Poster

User Reviews

Review this title
803 Reviews
Sort by:
Filter by Rating:
Here's a rather non-committal review!
ianrickard25 April 2005
So, is the Hitchhikers' movie any good?

Yes and no.

It is great to finally see one of my favourite stories finally get the big screen treatment. There are moments where the budget has clearly benefited the overall experience, with some breath-taking CGI sequences. Two particularly spring to mind: An impressive backwards zoom out from earth's surface, past the Vogon demolition charges before the planet is so hastily disposed of, and Arthur's journey onto Magrathea's staggeringly colossal factory floor, which is simply overwhelming. Both illustrate, to great satisfaction, the dramatic readjustment of scale Arthur Dent has to undergo in such a short space of time in a stark manner that is just not possible in any medium other than cinema. The on-screen format of the guide itself is an appropriate update of the format developed for the television series, and it's highly enjoyable to see such delightfully silly animations grace a giant cinema screen.

Cinema is a different experience, and that is the nub of the matter. We are dealing with a radically different medium from any of the other that Hitchhiker's has materialised in, and not only does that offer new opportunities to explore Douglas Adams' marvellous universe, it also necessitates dramatic changes. Most noticeably, and perhaps most important for a two-hour motion picture, there is more effort to form a conventional plot than is present in the original incarnations and this change is accompanied by major changes in character motivation. This is interesting, because (here analysis becomes problematic since it is impossible to know which changes were instigated by Adams and which were down to Karey Kirkpatrick), none of the characters in Adams' earlier material really had any significant motivations that would lend them to becoming interesting protagonists in a more conventional setting.

Previously, Narcissist Zaphod wanted his ego stroked by fame and fortune, Ford was content with the prospect of a decent party to go to and Arthur's only desire was a palatable cup of tea. Trillian didn't really do anything. Although they are far from unrecognisable, the introduction of tangible drives into most of the characters alters the pattern of events in the story to accommodate what begins to resemble a more conventional story structure. One of the first casualties of this is that the principle players overshadow others, who are introduced, half-heartedly expanded upon, and then almost entirely dropped in deference to the favoured few. It never goes the whole way towards a standard structure though, as half of the principle story is seemingly abandoned in favour of a concentration on the romantic subplot and an overall resolution that is at least reverent to the previous formats. The result is a mixed bag. I found Arthur much more likable and Zaphod funnier than I ever have done, but it never actually occurred to me until the film that Arthur was a bit of a whinger and Zaphod quite boring, because I was too busy paying attention to what happened to them, rather than what they happened to do.

The other major objection, which may or may not have been inevitable, given the time that must be given over to visuals in cinema, is that the filmmakers appear to try and get too much into a two-hour film. As a result, some brilliantly funny lines are missed and key explanations fudged and both are replaced by a general silliness, which appears to be a compromise between the demands of hardcore Hitchhiker's fans and those of the cinema-going public. A lot of the new material is funny, but some of it doesn't really fit with Adams' universe and sticks out like a sore thumb. Whether this is the consequence of those responsible being caught between the rock of Adam's inventiveness and the hard place of the medium they were working in is hard to say. Perhaps someone braver could have produced something more appropriate, or perhaps this is the best that there could ever be. I suppose we'll never know.

To summarise: It's very different.
418 out of 566 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
By appealing to masses, it fails.
jgrayson_au8 May 2009
I can see what they did.--- They wanted to make a movie that was still H2G2 in a sense. "Wacky, zany, bizarre" etc. But then they wanted it to appeal to the masses. Trillian and Arthur end up in a love story, Zaphod's turned into a prick, the plot is changed a bit, and the inclusion of slapstick humour. Even some new characters where made by DNA for the movie.

You need to remember that H2G2 in every version has contradicted itself. Each form is a different entity, so this movie should be regarded in that sense. I can see what they did.---

I personally don't like the movie much. I am a dyed in the wool fan of the books. To be fair, there are some things I do like in this. I think Zoe was exceptional as Trillian. I thought some of the visuals of the movie were brilliant. It is these parts, and the 20year slog, that gets me to a 4/10

There were moments of greatness, and it's in that that I am most upset. The greatness shows what COULD have been. A H2G2 movie could have been brilliant, but with the changes to the source; for fans of the original, it's average.

The movie I feel was tailored to a new audience. The humour feels closer to American humour than British. I'm not sure if this was intended or not. The changes where made to make it a stand alone 2hr movie with enough 'normal points' to keep non-fans happy. I don't know if it worked. I don't know if new audiences, that had never read the books (or played the game, listened to the radio, or watched the TV series), will enjoy the humour.

What really worries me is that people will see the movie, think it's terrible and than write off every other format. That would be the ultimate disgrace to DNA.

Fans will find this from average to terrible. Everyone else I only pray they seek the source.
35 out of 45 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
What has all the fuss been about?
mjluk27 April 2005
First, let me start by saying that this is a funny film.

Like many others, I suspect, I was worried by the MJ Simpson negative review, but having seen the film I can't really understand what all the fuss was about.

Personally, I am very happy that this version contains the new material. I don't want to sit in the cinema watching a line by line copy of the radio play, book, or TV series. Each of those stand by their own merit, and each were good largely because of the new material they contained.

I think the cast did an excellent job, and although Zaphod wasn't quite how I pictured him, Sam Rockwell brought a freshness to the part which largely works. His portrayal of Zaphod as a guy who "thinks he is cool", rather than "is cool" works pretty well, and once you get over the southern drawl, he soon settles as a character. Ford is beautifully played, as are all the major characters.

Admittedly, some of the criticisms that were voiced by Simpson have some justification, but most were simply overstated to support his general vitriolic attack on the "purity" of the film.

In summary, go to see this film and don't worry.

I'm looking forward to the DVD and I have all my fingers crossed for a sequel.

347 out of 516 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Those Cheeky Mice And Their Excellent Film
tramsbottom18 April 2005
Overall a tremendous success. It's very funny, very kooky and visually gorgeous. I saw it with about 2000 media persons and we all loved it, which is a pretty hard thing to accomplish.

If you've never read the books (and I suggest you do, it moves at such a pace you might find yourself going 'eh?' a lot) then I don't know what you'd make of it. Think Monty Python in space, or a very British version of The Fifth Element.

As an adaptation I think it works extremely well though there were a few confusing moments even for me as the large philosophical questions were crammed into two hours worth of movie. The new stuff is cleverly done and works a treat IMO.

The cast: never been a fan of the office but Martin Freeman is perfect as Arthur Dent, Sam Rockwell hilariously OTT and Mos Def a surprising choice but one that really works. Trillian isn't that important in the novel and the movie bumps up her role to a love triangle situation between her Arthur and Zaphod. Again, Deschanel is an odd choice (another yank) but she is utterly spellbinding (oh the shower scene...hubba hubba).

The FX are great, both CGI and the Jim Henson creatures (the Vogons, brilliantly voiced by The League of Gentleman). The opening title song is worth the price of admission alone (think Eric Idle at his peak).

So I loved it, though the ending is also a bit of an anti-climax, but only perhaps because I was expecting something bigger. Still, it's p***-funny and that's the main thing.

Best moment: Ford attacks the Vogons with a towel and foils them by closing a tiny garden gate ("Oh no! We'll have to go around!").
406 out of 623 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This movie is Mostly Harmless...
Hitsuzen25 April 2005
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.
235 out of 364 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't Panic! Douglas Adams' legacy has been turned into a delicious acid-trip of a movie, featuring love, aliens and the answer to life, the universe and everything.
charlismorgan27 April 2005
Douglas Adams turned his sci-fi phenomenon, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy into a hit radio and TV series, a five-part trilogy of novels and a BAFTA-winning computer game, but complained making it into a movie was like "trying to grill a steak by having a succession of people blow on it".

After a 20-year battle with Disney to get the film made - and a day after a planet was named after the story's protagonist Arthur Dent - Adams died of a heart attack. Fans rushed to their nearest webring to console each other when they discovered the bum-clenchingly great scripting responsibilities had been passed on to Karey Kirkpatrick, the brains behind fluffy kiddie flick, Chicken Run.

To make matters worse, Terry Gilliam and Jay Roach passed the honour of directing the film to Garth Jennings and Nick Goldsmith, two movie first-timers who made their livings as production duo Hammer & Tongs - the company behind music videos for REM, Supergrass and Pulp among others.

But Don't Panic! As Robbie Stamp, Adams' pal and the movie's executive producer, rightfully says, "The cast and crew rose to the challenge and created the perfect tribute to Douglas."

The film carefully brings the story into the noughties without incurring the wrath of Hitchhiker fans, and adds enough smug nods in their direction to keep them happy. They will relish whispering to their unimpressed cinema neighbour, "Look, Douglas Adams' face is in that shot" or "That's Marvin the Paranoid Android from the TV series." And for the uninitiated, there's an acid-trip of a movie featuring love, aliens and the answer to life, the universe and everything.

A galaxy of stars were enlisted to bring the mind-boggling story to the big screen, including Martin Freeman, who reprises his superb Everyman role from The Office to play Arthur Dent, a tea-loving Londoner who becomes the last man from Earth, following its destruction to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

Mos Def proves not all hip-hop stars are fist-gnawingly embarrassing as actors, in his part as Ford Prefect, a revoltingly cool alien who accompanies Dent on his hitchhiking adventure around the universe.

The unspeakably delicious Zooey Deschanel provides the love story that was sadly lacking in Adams' script drafts. She plays Trillian, the last surviving humanoid female, who finds herself caught in an unsavoury love triangle between Dent and Zaphod Beeblebrox, the President of the Imperial Galactic Government and owner of three arms, two heads and one planet-sized ego.

And if you've ever wondered what Freddie Mercury and George Bush's lovechild would be like (and frankly, who hasn't?) watch Sam Rockwell's extraordinary portrayal of Beeblebrox. As Rockwell testifies, "I studied footage of US presidents and rockers for this role until I tasted blood."

The essential Britishness of the film is provided by the delectable Stephen Fry and Bill Nighy, who are more English than chips, awkward dinner parties and halitosis.

Who better to voice The Guide, a book which contains all the knowledge in the universe, than bulging-brained Fry, who uses the perfect amount of middle-class haughtiness, irony and intelligence to narrate the delightfully complicated story.

And Nighy can't fail as planet builder Slartibartfast (who, as every nerd knows, won an award for creating the twiddly bits around Norwegian fjords) because he based the world-weary alien on the nation's best-loved character, Bill Nighy.

I almost missed out one character, insane religious leader Humma Kammula, a new character Adams wrote especially for John Malkovich. He is easily forgotten because despite his amusing dialogue, the special effects drown out his performance, preventing him from doing the honour justice.

But fans will forgive this small transgression, for the pleasure of seeing a beast of a movie which has defied the laws of the universe to make it onto the big screen.

Jennings and Goldsmith have proved that despite their movie virginity, the first time isn't always messy, awkward and disappointing, it can also be earth shattering, amusing and very, very satisfying.
198 out of 309 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Hitchhiker's Guide is born again!
nick-46722 April 2005
Well, I'm not a film reviewer. I'm not really a fan of film reviewers as their job involves pretending that there is an objective standard that governs how much everyone will enjoy a film (well, some of them are smart enough not to dress their opinion as anything else). Everyone enjoys films in different ways and I like to use my own judgment to decide if a film is worth my time or not (well, that and the opinions of a few trusted individuals who's taste in films is very similar to my own).

So this isn't a review, it's just my honest reaction to the film and you may judge for yourselves if my opinion is likely to be similar to your own.

I loved it. There were a couple of small points that I wasn't happy with but there was so much that I really enjoyed that I left the cinema very happy indeed. It has a very frantic pace, especially when compared to the glacial pace of the TV series. But, in my opinion, it works.

I'll now talk about different aspects of the film.

The Cast. Each member of the cast has brought a new interpretation of their character to the film but they are still definitely the same characters. Martin Freeman is very funny but also very human. He's less of a caricature of Britishness than Simon Jones's interpretation.

Mos Def is an excellent laid back Ford who occasionally has slightly manic (David Dixon style) moments. I don't think everyone will like his delivery of some of the lines as he can be very dead-pan at times but I found him very watchable and likable.

Sam Rockwell's Zaphod is either lovable or irritating depending on your loony-tolerance. I found his over-the-top performance was just perfect for Zaphod, and frequently had me in stitches.

Zooey Deschanel. Mmmm....Zooey. She's the best Trillian ever! She's adorable, funny, charming, intelligent and finally has an emotional depth that was missing from all other incarnations. She works well with both Zaphod and Arthur and their interactions were believable.

Bill Nighy gave a performance that managed to be nothing like Richard Vernon's yet at the same time definitely Slartibartfast. Very funny. Very human.

Stephen Fry is someone who I new would be good. He has the intelligence needed to get the delivery right and a mysterious gentle voice (like God has popped round for a cup of tea).

The Effects, sets and puppets. Wonderful. I loved the Vogon puppets, it made them seem much more real than any CG character (yes, even Gollum). The sets looked great and there is one nice tracking shot down a Vogon corridor that shows just how huge the set was. Every set is packed with detail, I cannot wait for the DVD. The Magrathea 'factory floor' is breathtaking - especially on the big-screen. Zaphod's second head isn't brilliantly executed but it didn't bother me much.

The Guide entries. I'm a big Shynola fan. I was extremely excited when I learned that they would be doing the guide entries. I wasn't disappointed - the guide entries look great and are packed with the inventive wit that characterises Shynola's work. The way they visually interpret the words of the guide entries is very clever and matches the wit of the original animations in the TV series but with a more modern approach.

The Music. The Dolphin song at the start was wonderful. Call me a softy but a couple of the lines nearly brought a tear to my eye. The music for the guide entries fit really well. The new orchestrated version of Journey of the Sorcerer is great. I was too wrapped up in the experience to really notice the music, I'll have to see it again (or buy the soundtrack)! Editing. The film flies along at an incredible pace but for me it never suffered from the 'why are we here now?' problem that some film (The Phantom Menace) suffer from. I really couldn't tell you how someone new to Hitchhiker's Guide might react. The destruction of the Earth is particularly well handled, managing to be both funny and moving.

Stuff I didn't like. Not much really. Part of me craves for the inclusion of things that other parts of me recognise will make the film less effective. One thing that I felt was a shame is that certain added plot elements make the story less bleak. These plot elements actually come from later books in the series so they weren't un-Hitchhiker-y but they contributed to a more optimistic story than I am familiar with from other versions. But this is a minor quibble and it didn't spoil my enjoyment of the film. Though I really liked Zaphod, I didn't really like the second head. It didn't work as well as it might have. Still, it was preferable to a shoulder-mounted permanent extra head - which would have been wrong for many reasons.

Conclusion. It is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy reborn with a new energy. It is lighter than previous incarnations but still retains most of what I love about the story. It also adds a brilliant level of visual inventiveness that matches the aural inventiveness of the original radio series. People expecting the TV series but with better effects will be disappointed. This is a new beginning. The Hitchhiker's Guide is alive again, it is an enormous shame on a galactic scale that Douglas isn't here to enjoy it. The huge applause after the film showed I wasn't alone in having a good time.

Also, the film contains my favourite line. It previously only occurs in the second radio series (as far as I know) and is moved to a different occasion but I was dead chuffed when I heard it!
371 out of 600 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Yes and No
didi-529 April 2005
I've just come back from seeing this film and I have to say I'm in two minds about it. Having grown up with the TV series, the radio series, and the books (in that order), I have certain preconceptions and expectations about Hitchhiker's that this film didn't always deliver.

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?
42 out of 62 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Don't Panic
mandcharles19 April 2005
It is wonderfully refreshing to see an intelligent adaptation of a well-loved book which manages to be innovative and highly entertaining. I saw the film last week, and after having seen the television adaptation as a child I did not have my fond memories shattered. The eccentricity of the story and characters have remained intact, and the Monty Pythonesque humour has been enhanced with even more surreal flights of fancy. Although funded by the US, this is a very British film and those who are fans of the new Dr Who, League of Gentleman and Little Britain are well catered for here. The film will not appeal to everyone, but those who love the book and intelligent, original comedy will have a fantastic time.
235 out of 407 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is a good and faithful recreation of Hitchhikers
amachalepis22 April 2005
This is a good and faithful recreation of Adams' brilliantly sketchy radio series. Not surprising as Adams wrote the screenplay and was on the verge of having his dream realised when he suffered a fatal heart attack. A fitting credit at the end of the film "For Douglas" serves as a gentle reminder of the genius we have all lost. As for the film, many of the original and wonderful lines thankfully remain and the plot is largely unchanged. There's a new character or two written in for the film by Adams himself and they add to the overall story. John Malkovich is great albeit very briefly as religious leader Humma Kavula. Sam Rockwell, Mos Def and Martin Freeman all carry off their characters with wit and style whilst I felt Zooey Deschanel looked a little out of her depth. At times her dialogue seemed to get lost and her character seemed weaker than Sandra Dickinson's interpretation in the radio and TV series. Bill Nighy marries his own idiosyncrasies into the character of Slartibartfast seamlessly. Simon Jones makes a welcome cameo appearance as a holographic warning system. Stephen Fry steps well into the shoes vacated by Peter Jones as the "Guides" voice and you feel as if you are in safe hands. The "Guides" animated sequences are wonderfully reminiscent of Saul Bellow and though simple they are hilarious. For a feature directorial debut Garth Jennings does a grand job. I was half expecting the pop video influence to be apparent, but thankfully it wasn't. Lastly but not leastly a special mention has to go out to Jim Henson's creature workshop, this is probably the best work they have ever done in a feature, and that's saying a lot, given their success.
180 out of 318 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
This is not HHGG. This movie is an impostor!
dapplez18 March 2011
In theory, making this should have been a walk in the park. The BBC television series was very good, but had a limited budget. With CGI special effects and some money, this movie had enormous potential.

But the first problem is you are taking a six-part TV series (which didn't cover the entire radio series or book) and squeezing it down to a two hour movie. But it could have been done, if you retained the essentials.

And it should be mentioned to all the reviewers who say "I didn't read the book," Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy did not start out as a book. Well, yes, it is the title of a book, but a fictional book within the story, with the words "Don't Panic!" on the cover.

The franchise started as a radio series on BBC. So it began life with some definite ideas about how the characters were to be played, and were to sound. The BBC television series generally improved on the performances, without changing the characters.

So there were hopes for this movie that it would continue in that vein, maintain the concept but improve on the performances and production polish.

Then something went fundamentally wrong.

I have to assume the blame belongs to the director Garth Jennings and the writer Karey Kirkpatrick. Apparently, they not only didn't read the book, but didn't listen to the radio show or watch the BBC series (there are other iterations, such as an audio book). Was this too much work? Someone must have told them what the characters were supposed to be like, and they resented it, because they turned the original characters on their head, into the opposite of the original Douglas Adams conception.

Some of these actors must have known the original version, yet, given the result, it seems the director must have forced them into a very different performance.

In short, what director Garth Jennings has created is deeply disrespectful of Douglas Adams.

I have listened to the original Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy radio series many times over the years. I saw the BBC version on TV, and I own the DVD and have watched it many times. I have read the book more than once. And I have listened to the various audio versions, which have material not found in the book.

And I will do it again.

Why do I do this? Because Douglas Adams' work is so wonderfully witty and insightful that I enjoy it every time as though it were the first time.

I own this movie on DVD. I had to force myself to watch it to the end. I will never watch it again. Why? Because I am not a masochist.

Let me put it to you this way: If Garth Jennings had remade "Miracle on 34th Street" he would have made Santa Claus the drunk on the parade float, his lawyer would have spent Christmas in jail on contempt of court charges, the little girl's mother would have been fired, and the girl would have died on Christmas eve because no one would buy her matches.

He just doesn't have a clue what this story is about.

I do not often rate a movie a 1. But it is hard to imagine how this movie could have been worse. It is one long chalk screech for anyone who knows the real HHGG.
8 out of 10 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A trip to nowhere
antgrey14 February 2006
I am NOT a Hitchhiker nut. I HAVE read all the books, heard all the recordings and seen the TV series though and I thought they were among the funniest and most original stuff I have ever read, heard or seen.

This movie however was a total disappointment.

The meandering, pointless and ultimately uncompleted story line. The total over use of effects. The utter waste of acting talent. A real stinker of the very first order. Most of all it simply wasn't funny. Not all, in any way.

The essential 'Englishness' of the plot (petty officialdom, fussing over tea, trying to make sense of a world gone mad etc.) was non-existent and the characters were not even slightly explained or fleshed out - the entire premise of Hitchikers was based on its characters.

There are so many faults it's depressing. This was an ego exercise that flopped badly. A total non-event and a complete waste of time, money and talent. What a pathetic and lamentable legacy for one the most talented writers of modern times.

Avoid it like the plague.
43 out of 72 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
dottydolly4 August 2006
I had been waiting in anticipation when I found out they were making a movie of this fabulous, originally radio broadcast, story by Douglas Adams.

I was totally gutted after about 5 minutes.

This, once very funny tale, has been changed out of all proportion! As much as I adore Alan Rickman, Marvin is simply WRONG! As much as I adore Bill Nighy, Slartibardfast wasn't right! If fact all the characters were WRONG!!!!!!! Douglas Adams would turn in his grave if he saw this, oh what a shame he wasn't alive to give guidance.

Why change the story? If it was too short, then why not add The Restaurant at the End of the Universe to it? Please please don't tell me they are making another movie of this and destroying that too? Oh woe is me, woe and thrice woe!
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
JimPearson2 February 2006
I first heard the radio broadcasts of HHGG before the book was published. I then read the book and saw the TV series. All wonderful! So it was with a certain amount of curiosity that I watched this movie. Truth is that my teenage son wanted to see it (he only read the books) and talked me into watching it with him.

Well, what a mistake. This is NOT what Douglas Adams created. Gone is the subtleties of the original version. Gone are the wonderful graphics of the TV show. Gone is Simon Jones, to be replaced by some insipid version of Arthur whose name I cannot even remember. Gone is ..... Well, you get the idea. The movies doesn't even include all the important things from the book. It gives the impression that is it more interested in created a Hollywood ripoff for the mass market.

If you have seen or read and enjoyed any earlier version, forget this one.
12 out of 17 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A great cast and great source material, what went wrong?
TheLittleSongbird12 April 2011
The BBC mini-series may have had a low budget, but overall it was excellent and captured the essence of the story wonderfully, which this film doesn't. The source material is so good, and deserves a much better movie and adaptation than this misfire.

The only redeeming merits are some of the effects, costume and set design(apart from the villains which were too grotesque and the Vogons look silly) and the performance of Martin Freeman. Joby Talbot's music is both good and disappointing, good in the sense of how well it is composed, disappointing in how it fitted with the film's moods.

My biggest beef of the film is how much the cast is wasted. This is a great cast. Helen Mirren? Alan Rickman? Bill Nighhy? Anna Chancellor? Sam Rockwell? Sterling actors, but wasted by quite a number of components, Rockwell especially is made to go over-the-top and it doesn't work at all.

So what was wrong with this movie? A lot of things is the correct answer. The book is so good, but impossible to compress into a 2-hour movie. I try not to be a purist, but this adaptation is far too condensed and pivotal elements are lost of their meaning and some especially the romance are shoe-horned and feel superfluous.

Other flaws are the confused storytelling, the tedious pacing, the embarrassing dialogue, characters that are devoid of any complexity and turned into walking clichés and less-than-mediocre direction.

All in all, a sad mess. 3/10 Bethany Cox
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Have any of you read this book?
sreichgott4 February 2006
How could anyone who's read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy like this film? If Douglas Adams had lived to see it, he would have hated this film. You must be joking.

It sucks. Horribly. It should be a fast-paced, hilarious romp. Instead it is a slow-as-molasses mess. A love story? Please. There's no love story in the book. And what is this gun? And who is the character Malkovich is playing? Did the people who made this movie read the book? I want my hour and a half back.

They can't even tell a joke right in this movie.

Kill me now.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
No surprises here...
rmerkishunt13 May 2005
This movie is many things, but true to what Douglas Adams had written is not one of them. Too many original jokes were overlooked, all in favour of Hollywood-izing the whole thing. The movie plot consisted of sappy drool in its pursuit of romance whereas the original only ever implied any kind of romance. The movie lacked that nonsensical nature of reality all in favour of having things tied up nice and tightly. The character of Trillian is, perhaps, the worst of the worst. In the original she is a witty, forthright sort. In the movie, she is nothing like the original, relegated only to being a sappy, pouting sulking twit.

This must be some new use of the words "adapted from the original" I hadn't previously encountered.
9 out of 12 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Get the BBC series, save your money
am2star30 April 2005
Having been a fan of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" trilogy for a quarter of a century, I had hoped for the best for this movie. This is NOT the book, BBC series, radio series, or video game.

The movie starts somewhat in the middle. Those familiar with the book will understand the reference to dolphins. Unfortunately, the title sequence is one big inside joke. Those knowing the story will enjoy it for what it is. Newcomers will be totally lost.

And, the book itself is introduced almost as an afterthought. What few references used from the book are humorous, it is not a big part of the tale. Stephen Fry does a fine job as the voice of the book, but too little time is spent.

Arthur Dent is played as a lovesick man, not the confused and befuddled Brit from the book. His biggest problem is not that the Earth has been destroyed, but that he lost the girl.

That girl is Patricia McMillan, or Trillion. She is played by Zooey Deschanel. But, unlike all that we know, she has no reason to be here. We know nothing about her, except that she is the object of Arthur's affection.

So, how do Arthur and Trillian meet? Ford Prefect, a friend of Arthur's, rescues him by using a ring device that signals space craft of a hopeful hitchhiker. So, just in the nick of time. Unfortunately, the movie doesn't explain why they get picked up only to get tossed off.

And, like in the book, they get picked up the second time by President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox. Why is he President of the Galaxy? The film only says because he won an election. What does the President to? According to the movie, sign his name to things.

Zaphod is played by Sam Rockwell. And, Zaphod does have two heads, well faces would be a better term. This makes the interaction of the two heads impossible. The three arms does work like we would expect.

And, the story is now completely different. Fans are going to miss some of the best lines. No mention of bricks. No mention of being drunk. And, the biggest waste of time is the towel. It is never explained for its importance (a book reference would be great) and it is far more prominent than it should be.

There are some humorous gags with the Heart of Gold spaceship, but it is nothing like described. Marvin the robot, is odd looking, without the overwhelming limitations that is Marvin's life.

So, what is the plot? None that I can see. Just a lot of stuff happens. But, unlike what fans know, there is a forced plot line with Trillian being captured by the Vogons just so she can be rescued.

What a waste that this movie is. Arthur Dent is not overwhelmed. Ford is not the happy-co-lucky researcher. Zaphod is obnoxious as opposed to adventurous. And Trillian is boring.

Save your money. If you liked the books, you will hate this movie. Buy the DVD set of the original BBC series. If you haven't read the book, get a copy and read it. If you like it, get the DVD set.
202 out of 393 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Douglas Adams spinning in his grave
imdb-64018 May 2005
This movie is clearly an attempt to solve the U.S. power crisis by making Douglas Adams spin in his grave at high speed.

Take the BBC TV show, add (mostly) good actors and special effects, then take out random parts (frequently the punchline) of the various jokes from the books, and throw in a standard Hollywood love story while making the actually funny parts that hadn't been already completely butchered feel so rushed that they might as well have cut those, too.

The opening number was a bunch of dolphins singing "so long and thanks for all the fish." It was absolutely sickeningly sweet, and made me want to walk out of the theater right there. Unfortunately it only got downhill from there.

Go get the BBC TV version instead. It at least retains the humour of the originals.
57 out of 103 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Do Panic!
sanjibm29 April 2005
If you're a Hitchikers fan, no one can stop you from watching this movie, so I'm not even going to try. But for anybody who hasn't read this book, I strongly urge you to do so before watching the movie.

As an adaptation from Douglas Adam's widely popular book, and seventies BBC radio script, this movie can be classified as poor. On the other hand, as a movie in its own right, this can be classified as awful, and somewhat damaging to your senses.

What were they thinking? Didn't they bother to see the completed movie before it was released? Is this the very movie that Douglas himself helped create?

I couldn't believe that this is the much longed-for movie version of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy. I had my doubts that Hollywood would ruin it eventually, and they have done so.

When I first read the book, I thought that its plot was indeed 15 billion years in the making, summing up civilisations and humanity in the most beautifully crafted way, making you laugh, making you cry, sometimes at once, showing you how minuscule you really were while simultaneously teaching you how to fly, forcing you to revisit every idea and belief that you ever had or were going to have. The wit, comedy, the spontaneity, the urgency, the characters, the absurdity, the wisdom, the inventiveness, the satire, the adventure has been a part of me for close to 2 decades.

So what's in the movie? It's a colourful outer-space romp that plays like a Jackie Chan travelogue. Never waiting for that essential pause between the beats, the movie moves on in a dazzle of spectacular Hollywood special effects without any rhythm, elegance or comic rhyme. Yes, they have forgotten to include some of the best parts and dialogue from the book, i.e. Arthur describing to the Heart of Gold's computer, the art of making tea, and numerous other examples, which have robbed the story of that intimacy that's so required for any kind of character development. True, that in transitioning to an artistic medium such as cinema, we must be selective of what we want to adapt and we must provide new and appropriate material . Yet, I seriously think that the choices made were wrong, and the overall content was aimed at a audience that surely the book wasn't. If I were to dedicate this to the memory of Douglas Adams, I would think twice.

Martin Freeman is the lovable Brit, who in my opinion was well casted as Arthur Dent. Stephen Fry's exceptional voice as the Guide, went a long way in trying to bring in some of the unique wisdom from the book, and its laptop-like display panel opening up with an explanation at times when you thought you were losing it. As for the other characters, I didn't find anything more than a visual manifestation for names in the book. There were some good performance, yet there was nothing in there that was memorable.

In conclusion, the movie failed miserably. I wished it could have tried a little harder. What disheartens me most, is that I'll probably have to wait decades before anyone ever attempts a remake. And till then, I'll have to try ever so hard to forget that this movie was made.
124 out of 239 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
Mostly harmful
yastepanov11 June 2011
If you LOVED the radio serial and the books, AVOID THIS LIKE THE PLAGUE! All of the puns, the fun with language, etc. has been removed to replace it with showy but senseless special effects.

I heard the original BBC Broadcast, the recordings (which differ) and watched the BBC TV adaptations. ALL of these caught the sense of fun with words which the movie totally ignored.

This bastardization of the books, etc. gave me a pain in all the diodes down my left hand side...

It's not that it was that bad -- it was that it was so much worse than could have been done with the budget.

Nearly all the characters had been changed in personality except Arthur, where adding a personality would've helped...
14 out of 21 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
rene-vandelft5 August 2005
OK, the Vogons were beautifully done and the FX were nice. One major drawback was that the movie based on the funniest book on earth was not funny. But what did I expect? If you have read a joke and then see it repeated in an alternative medium, there's hardly a chance that you may laugh.

Still: the television series - in all its clumsiness - was enjoyable, so what is the explanation that this was not? - The acting was quite bad - The additions to the book were silly - There were no funny twists to surprise you if you had read the book - The timing was not stimulating

Ah, well. The voice of Alan Rickman for the depressed robot was well cast. And John Malkovich had nice glasses.

Think I'll change my name to Marvin...
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
If you read the book - Don't See The Movie!!!!!
ChiefOren27 May 2005
Sometimes I write down a wish list to the movies I would like to see. Number one on the list was Dune by Frank Herbert. Second on the list would be Foundation by Issac Azimov. Third on the list was "The Guide" by Douglas Adams. As for Dune, the first movie that came out was a real letdown. The acting as very down, the storyline very loose as to the book, and otherwise a letdown for those that read the book. Fortunately, after a few years, some bright beanie came out with a miniseries that, in my opinion, did honor to the author. Well done rendition that actually had a resemblance to the book. My second choice, the Foundation, was not done, even though a rather cheeky rendition of I Robot did come out. To bad. However, to the nitty gritty. This movie, in the tradition of Dune, is actually worse than the original Dune. It was very soon into the movie that it was sadly so far from the book, that even I, an avid Sci-Fi fan just said sod-it. Bad affects, bad acting, no way did it come near to capturing the true tone of the book. Friends, Dune at least went from bad to better. Even though the TV series was rather shoddy, at least it sticked to the storyline that was meant by Adams. Instead of bad to better, this is a true example of bad to very bad to even more depressing than Marvin.
10 out of 14 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A travesty. A disgrace, All our worst nightmares come true
DrDog30 April 2005
I hate it. I hate everything about it. I want to chase everyone involved down the street with a sharp instrument.

It is indescribably awful. It's all our worst nightmares about what Hollywood might do to it come horribly true.

Every single person in it is individually, toweringly awful. Every single character is horribly miscast. It's as if it were cast by someone who wasn't even familiar with the characters at all.

I was actually looking forward to some change, so I'm not complaining that they didn't "follow the book". But the new stuff was unfunny and pointless and simply made things harder to follow. You can tell the bits that Douglas did, though, and there are a few nice moments when you recognize his writing. But they number about two.

There is no character development whatsoever. I tried to give what's-his-stupid-name a fair chance, but after introducing all the characters, they simply do nothing with them, unless you count the absolutely ridiculous romance subplot involving Arthur and Trillian. He didn't have a chance to show us if a black Ford really worked or not. (But no, it didn't. At all.) They Americanize all the characters except Marvin and Arthur and completely destroy the charm in the process.

It's disconnected and jumpy; jokes and punch lines are inter-cut with unfamiliar and sometimes nonsensical context. It's as if they expect us to laugh at the punchlines alone, because we're so familiar with them. I don't see how someone coming on the movie with no previous knowledge of HHG could possibly enjoy it at all.

The theater was half-filled tonight when I saw it, and what little laughter there was was during narration from the original book.

Individually awful things about it: Zaphod, who they totally and utterly ruined; the ridiculously out of place love affair between Arthur and Trillian; Marvin, who they took about 3 minutes to design; the obviously-made-by-the-Muppet-shop Vogons... it goes on and on. It's bloody awful.

This is just what I was afraid of. Come to and discuss how really, terribly awful this movie is.

P.S. One thing to note in the scene where they're standing in a Vogon queue, the "Your Plastic Pal" robot from the HHG TV show is in the line with them. Nice touch, one of the only ones in the movie.
93 out of 178 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
A disaster of Epic Porportions.
garethvk28 April 2005
Making films from books has always been a tricky proposition. For every film adaptation that hits it big such as "Jaws" "Lord of the Rings" and "The Silence of the Lambs", there are several that fail to work or are downright disasters such as "The Bonfire of the Vanities". In the film "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy", the late Douglas Adams first book in his classic series has finally arrived on the big screen after many delays getting started and a successful version on PBS.

The film stars Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, a simple, easy going fellow whose entire goal in life is to stop the demolition of his beloved home from those who want to put a new highway in its current location.

As Arthur attempts to block the demolition, his good friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def), arrives and stalls the demolition with free beer for the work crew. Thinking he has been saved, Arthur is puzzled when Ford takes him to a local pub and buys rounds for the entire pub, saying the world is ending in a few minutes.

Ford in reality is an alien visiting the Earth and learns that the Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for a new galactic expressway. Before he knows what has happened, Arthur is whisked away seconds before the destruction of the Earth by Ford as they end up on a ship of the demolition fleet.

After a series of bizarre events and a narrow escape, Ford and Arthur end up on a passing ship that has been stolen by galactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), and Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), who just happens to be the lady of Arthur's dreams and who is also unaware that the Earth has been destroyed in the short amount of time since she left Earth to explore with Zaphod.

As if this was not enough, the ship also has a depressed android named Marvin (Warwick Davis and voiced by Allan Rickman),

It is at this point that the film goes horribly wrong as the amusing and interesting setup quickly goes nowhere. While the crew is sent on a series of quests, each becomes less interesting than the one before it, and the very bland production values of the film are exposed. The sets are very basic and look as if they were borrowed from many of the budget driven British Sci-Fi that frequents PBS. Somehow the idea of an alien room being nothing but a rusty wall and a slapped up sign just does not cut it for me. At times I thought I was watching a home video production done by fans or another late night B movie rather than a major studio summer release.

As bad as the sets were what is even more amazing was the at times laughable attempts at visual effects where it was obvious that the actors were standing in front of screens as the matting lines were visible.

I tried to put a lot of this off to the idea that the film was trying to be quirky in keeping with the book, but quirky is not an excuse for underwhelming effects, basic sets, and lousy costuming and make up effects as I half expected to see zippers on the costumes of many aliens that looked like they were cobbled from parts at a hardware store.

So now that I have covered my issues with the look of the film, let's look at the story itself, in a word, boring. I could not believe how dull and lazy the film became, and how the staff seemed to be going through the motions. The cast has zero chemistry and Rockwell is so frantic that his character is annoying to watch. After five minutes of his rock star in the spotlight style shtick, I wanted to strangle the character or at least get him on some serious medication.

Director Garth Jennings also has many scenes that simply go nowhere or drag on only to cut at odd times resulting in a complete and utter lack of pacing.

I am a big fan of the book series and I had very high hopes for this film. Sadly the disaster that resulted may very well have Douglas Adams spinning in his grave as his classic work was destroyed. I have to wonder how much of his original draft for the script that was used as the basis for the film survived.

While extreme die hard fans may enjoy the film, even they are likely to be disappointed and I can only hope that if they try to make the next book in the series, "The Restaurant at the End of the Universe", they do a much better job then this effort, as this is one awful film adaptation. 1 star out of 5 Gareth Von Kallenbah
63 out of 117 found this helpful. Was this review helpful? Sign in to vote.
An error has occured. Please try again.

See also

Awards | FAQ | User Ratings | External Reviews | Metacritic Reviews

Recently Viewed