The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy
Cast: Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, John Malkovich, Bill Nighy, Warwick Davis, Anna Chancellor, Alan Rickman (voice), Stephen Fry (voice), Helen Mirren (voice)
Director: Garth Jennings
Screenplay: Douglas Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick
Genre: Science Fiction/Comedy/Adventure
Rated: PG low level violence
Running Time: 109 Minutes

Don't Panic

Don't Panic... Stick out your thumb to join the most ordinary man in the world on an extra-ordinary adventure across the universe in the hilarious comedy, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy'.

Earthman Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is having a very bad day. His house is about to be bulldozed, he discovers that his best friend is an alien and to top things off, Planet Earth is about to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass.

Arthur's only chance for survival: hitch a ride on a passing spacecraft. For the novice space traveller, the greatest adventure in the universe begins when the world ends. Arthur sets out on a journey in which he finds that nothing is as it seems: he learns that a towel is just the most useful thing in the universe, finds the meaning of life, and discovers that everything he needs to know can be found in one book: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.

My Verdict:
Based on the hugely popular book by the late Douglas Adams, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' feature movie has been in the making for twenty years and has finally hit the big screen. It begins with a very upbeat cabaret style song, 'So Long And Thanks For All The Fish', featuring performing dolphins, which is a gauge of what is to follow - an eclectic mix of characters, intergalactic places, satire, comedy, adventure and general mayhem and fun.

Arthur Dent is one very average person, who discovers from his (alien) friend Ford Prefect that the earth is about to be destroyed in 12 minutes to make way for a hyperspace freeway. Already feeling threatened by the local council who want to bulldoze Arthur's house to make way for a local highway, Arthur struggles to understand Ford's urgency when he insists they hitch a ride on a spaceship, which just happens to be hovering above. As Ford and Arthur escape from Earth, they embark on a series of adventures across the galaxy, meeting a variety of characters, getting involved in all kinds crazy situations, and discovering along the way the true nature of the universe, including the surprisingly extreme importance of always carrying a towel and finding the meaning of life.

The movie is narrated by Stephen Fry, who is the voice of the actual hitchhiker's guide, of which Arthur is given a copy of from Ford. This guide has the answers to most questions that one would come across as one travels across the universe - a pretty handy item to possess as Arthur soon discovers.

Casting is perfect - there really isn't anyone who looks out of place or doesn't scrub up in his or her role. Martin Freedman is the ideal prime example of a common normal human, Mos Def, although a little hard to understand at times, is Arthur Dent's alien friend Ford Prefect, Zooey Deschanel plays the intelligent love-interest, Trillian, with zest, Sam Rockwell delivers a wacky performance as the arrogant yet daft President of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox, complete with his two heads, Bill Nighy as usual covers his role as Slartibartfast with cool assurance and John Malkovich is as delicious as ever in the too brief, newly created character of Humma Kavula. Also included but not seen are Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin, the depressed GPP (Genuine People Personality) robot, Helen Mirren as the voice of Deep Thought and the narrator Stephen Fry, all of whom are faultless.

There are some excellent special effects that are so much fun - a visit to the "factory" that creates planets is one - and the Vogons (bad tempered, cruel and with a fondness for extremely bad poetry) are especially disgustingly ugly, thanks to the work of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Thankfully, the Vogons were not computer generated images, much like many of the other creatures and robots that appear in the movie.

'The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy' is very British and very entertaining although at times the finer nuances of the novel felt missed such as some of Adams' bitingly witty and clever dialogue, but it would have been near impossible to totally encompass the entire novel within the given time frame. For the most part, there is barely time to catch your breath before the next scene has arrived and this also means that to totally take in everything would possibly require a second viewing, but that would not be any form of endurance, rather just another opportunity to see this take on such an infamous story.

Rating : B+

Christina Bruce


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