The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
Directed by Garth Jennings
Starring Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Zooey Dechaniel, and Sam Rockwell, Warwick Davis, and the voices of Alan Rickman and Stephen Fry.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was one of those books that was recommended to me by dozens of my friends ever since university. As I prepared to depart for Japan, I finally bought a copy and read it while in the Far East. Granted, I didn’t find it to be laugh-out-loud funny, but I did find it to be delightfully absurd. You could officially brand me a “casual fan.” So, I looked forward to the movie with great excitement. Quite frankly, the book is rather un-filmable. I was curious to see how they’d pull it off.
Arthur Dent (Freeman) could never get the hang of Thursdays. It’s Thursday morning. He’s still pining for Tricia McMillan (Dechaniel), a woman he met at a party several months ago, only to have her run off with some other guy. His house is surrounded by bulldozers, as it is about to be demolished to make way for a new expressway. His best friend Ford Prefect (Def) reveals himself to be an alien. And then, the Earth is surrounded by a demolition crew, as it is about to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace expressway. So, Prefect and Dent hitch a ride aboard the demolition fleet, but very soon, they are rescued by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox (Rockwell), Marvin the terminally depressed robot (body by Davis, voice by Rickman), and…Tricia, now going by the nickname “Trillian.” Beebelbrox, you see, has stolen the most advanced starship ever built, and he’s off on a quest to find the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. But, those evil Vogons are in hot pursuit. Will they find the Answer? Will Arthur ever admit his feelings for Trillian? And what exactly did that bowl of petunias mean when it said, “Oh no. Not again?”
This movie is pretty good, considering. Granted, they had to make some very big changes in order to adapt for the big screen. You can add me to the list of people who didn’t think that the Arthur/Trillian romance worked. (In the book, it never elevates beyond casual flirting.) Visually, it’s great. The animated sequences representing the Guide are great, and the Vogons are very close to how I pictured them. I found the film to be very much like the book: not laugh-out-loud funny, but delightfully absurd.