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Overall Rating

Awesome: 6.52%
Worth A Look34.24%
Just Average: 25.54%
Pretty Crappy: 12.5%
Sucks: 21.2%

13 reviews, 106 user ratings

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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
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by David Cornelius

"Twenty-five years in the making, and it's worth the wait."
4 stars

If you’re freaking out about the changes made in order to adapt Douglas Adams’ “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To the Galaxy” from page to screen, then you should perhaps calm down. Don’t Panic, even. Remember, before it was a book, it was a radio play. And then there was the TV show. Plus, there were records, which re-adapted the radio plays, but with tweaks all over. Oh, and don’t forget about the computer game version, the stage play, and the comic book. The point is, Adams himself has gleefully admitted that there are too many variations of his story, and he can’t keep them all straight, so why should we get all edgy when a few more alterations are made to make the thing fit into a feature film?

In fact, the only question worth asking here is: does it work as a movie? I mean, fans of the “Hitchhiker’s” series already know that the story, at its core, works perfectly in other forms. But as a film, how’s it holding up? The answer: very good, actually.

Granted, as with “Sin City,” “Hitchhiker’s” attempts to squeeze so much story into one movie that the thing zips a long a wee too quickly, perhaps risking alienating those unfamiliar with the source material. But, as with “Sin City,” the source material is so strong that the story holds up even when presented in such a slapdash manner.

The plot, for the uninitiated: mere earthling Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is a bit shocked to learn that not only is his best friend, Ford (Mos Def), actually an alien, but Earth’s about to be demolished by an outer space wrecking crew in, oh, about five minutes. The duo hitch a ride on one starship, then another, finally winding up hanging out with Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), brash, egotistical president of the galaxy; Trisha “Trillian” McMillan (Zooey Deschanel), the mind-bogglingly lovely lady who once met Arthur; and Marvin (body by Warwick Davis, voice by Alan Rickman), a terminally depressed android. They cruise around the galaxy on a ship powered by the Infinite Improbability Drive, which is one of the great inventions of modern day fiction, yet is so bizarre that to attempt to describe it might lessen its magic.

By the way, the Guide of the title is an electronic book - the most popular in the galaxy, we’re told - that provides countless information on every place and every species around. With narration by Stephen Fry and slick animated visuals, the Guide is also handy at filling in story gaps (we learn, for example, the horrors of alien poetry, or how the universe began, or the usage of a babelfish, a creature shoved into your ear that translates everything for you - one would guess that they’ve been using them in sci-fi movies for years already, considering the perfect English with which many movie aliens speak).

“Hitchhiker’s,” in all its various forms, works as a rabid parody of science fiction, but more importantly, it’s a biting satire on life on Earth. The Vogons, the aliens which wipe out the globe, are a species of soulless bureaucracy, their exasperating behavior familiar to anyone who’s ever had to fill out a government form. A religious cult (not in the books, it was developed by Adams directly for the film) who believes the universe was not created but sneezed out of the nose of an almighty will pull a chuckle or two from anyone who notices the sillier side of organized religion and its traditions. And there’s not much subtlety about an arrogant president with two faces.

This combination of rapid fire wit and aggressive commentary may put off some viewers, who prefer their entertainment to be light, bouncy, and thought-free. Make no mistake: the “Hitchhiker’s” franchise has always been and will always be nerdy satire designed for those who want smarts with their stories. The film version truly captures the whimsical cynicism at the series’ heart, the spark deep down that reminds us how screwy everything is, but don’t forget about the good stuff around us.

The film, in a refreshing surprise, plays up the good stuff. There’s a sharp to turn to the story during its final act in which the winking pessimism fades away, replaced by a sense of awe. This is true in the book, yes, but it’s more so here; Freeman’s everyman vibe teamed with Bill Nighy’s grinning “get this, mate” charm (Nighy’s character is so indescribable in such a limited space that I’ll just tell you to wait until you see the film to see what he’s up to), mixed with the scenes in which they appear together, leave the viewer with a sense of “look, it’s the people in it that make the world a mess; the world itself, well, now, how wonderful is that?” There are moments here of pure, unadulterated wonder that I just kept beaming throughout.

Speaking of Freeman, he’s so good at capturing both the blundering blandness and unyielding human-ness of the character that I can’t think of anyone else of this generation playing the role. This is true with everyone else here, as well; the cast lines up like a fanboy’s dream, everyone fitting perfectly into characters that have been around for decades, making them look like they’ve been the only ones to ever possibly fill the roles. (Some of them even out-do the cast of the 1980s TV miniseries, which had the perfect cast of the previous generation.)

And while this new “Hitchhiker’s” does play like a fanboy’s dream (keep an eye out for a slew of references to “Hitchhiker’s” incarnations of the past), and while it’s obvious that fans already familiar with Adams’ work will enjoy the movie far more than those without prior knowledge (helps fill in the gaps left by a plot too rapid to catch in one sitting), it still works splendidly for veteran and newbie alike. The script (from Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick) is an overload of jokes both silly and brainy, attacking you at lightning speed, and director Garth Jennings handles the whiplash approach effortlessly. If you can’t keep up, the movie seems to tell us, you can always come back and see it again.

Don’t Panic, indeed.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11932&reviewer=392
originally posted: 05/09/05 23:28:47
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User Comments

12/24/15 brian If you have no expectations, it's nice lightweight fun. 4 stars
10/08/14 me worth a look 4 stars
7/27/12 Silkworm Dreadful rubbish - Just ask revolving Douglas !! 1 stars
2/14/12 Ron Larson Enjoyable, good cast 4 stars
5/14/11 Chipzsz First time i couldn't understand s**it, after reading the book is excellent, specially Marv 5 stars
6/14/10 LINDA DOWDY Hard to follow story line...was there a story line? 2 stars
6/08/10 Harvey Scott Fun but see the English version first. 3 stars
1/26/09 Shaun Wallner Very Interesting 4 stars
9/07/08 Samantha Pruitt did a good job re-telling the book, the effects were great! 4 stars
12/16/07 Jason The TV show sucked, this was only marginally better. 3 stars
5/19/07 fools♫gold Damn funny at times and even thoughtful. Seaver knows... 4 stars
4/17/07 Stevo UK Watching Harry Potter suck his cock is more tolerable than this. 1 stars
2/20/07 Beau literally one of the worst overrated movies i have ever seen, utterly pointless crap 1 stars
1/05/07 Don't see the movie, read the book please please please read the excellent book and don't judge it by this crap 1 stars
1/01/07 Jamie I actually thought that is was a decent movie, ya'll need to shutup, if you don't like it.. 5 stars
11/13/06 Matt Read the book, then dont waste ur time on the movie 2 stars
10/09/06 Diana Starts out great, slowly gets worse, the end is terrible and sugary (PS- READ THE BOOK) 3 stars
9/01/06 Chad Thomas Okay... not great! 3 stars
6/04/06 Pete Smith Utter rubbish. Watch the BBC TV version instead. 1 stars
5/21/06 millersxing Sci-fi silliness. I'm no more likely to read the book than before. 3 stars
5/18/06 drydock54321 kind of dull 2 stars
3/29/06 alley brauwnstine 5 stars
3/12/06 Roderick Cromar Very disappointing. A wasted opportunity. Poor value. 2 stars
2/11/06 adamathwaxman you all are styupid. this is the best film in years.pick yourself with a sharp object. 4 stars
1/23/06 Michael Shaw If anyone thinks this movie was worth watcvhing they should get their head examined 1 stars
1/19/06 Mike Pulido Boy this movie sucked! 1 stars
1/15/06 Perry Mason nice opening, down hill from there. 2 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman maybe I just need to watch it again for 1 more star 3 stars
12/02/05 Jennifer S. Martin Freeman is pretty good in this, but Zooey Deschanel is her usual annoying self. 3 stars
11/12/05 cypress wasn't too impressed, expected more from this one 2 stars
10/27/05 East Asian Piss Fairly Good 4 stars
10/25/05 daveyt not worthy of the title... absolutely butchered 2 stars
10/09/05 Anus Adams is rolling in his grave. 1 stars
10/06/05 Chris Knight I was open mouthed it was so dreadful 1 stars
10/02/05 CaDizzle Don't judge the book by this movie, book is millions of times better 2 stars
9/26/05 rafi I actually liked it alot , fun movie! 5 stars
9/20/05 Vaughan What a disappointment, they ruined the jokes! 2 stars
9/18/05 Jonathon Holmes dogshit 1 stars
9/14/05 Tom Burns Not a great movie, but the scenery is pretty cool. 3 stars
9/05/05 chrissy b absolute rubbish - dire remake - why bother 1 stars
8/12/05 zaw is this movie based on a piece of crap book or what? 1 stars
8/09/05 Glagg Just not interesting or funny enough, gives book an undeserved bad rep. 2 stars
8/05/05 Zack DON'T PANIC! 5 stars
8/04/05 Kathy terPlugg Wasting away again in MAGRATHEAville 2 stars
7/22/05 Seen the movie, TOTALLY regretted it The movie was a REMAKE of Penis Spaceship movie of the 1960'70s 1 stars
7/09/05 Rebecca It implies the book itself is a piece of shit. It isn't. 3 stars
6/28/05 Joe Pesci The film is crap. BUT READ THE BOOK - ITS AMAZINGLY GREAT. 1 stars
6/23/05 Eric Rollins The mini-series is so superior, skip this mess 2 stars
6/19/05 Sean Lane Awesome alternative to the regular garbage derivations. Didn't read the book. 4 stars
6/11/05 Krisan Graves what did i just watch? 3 stars
6/10/05 Captain Craig The only move I ever walked out on! A waist of money all around. dont bother! 1 stars
6/08/05 elpintogrande ADAMS ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE 1 stars
6/04/05 Ubu the Ripper Failed Disney attempt to cash in on pre-Star Wars hype. A true waste of film and my $10. 1 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon i loved the opening theme, but too much pointless chatting amongst charactors. 3 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW Don't know what to say about this... 3 stars
5/27/05 chris. this is what fans of the book like myself have been waiting for????? 3 stars
5/22/05 Green Gremlin Not as good as the classic BBC series, but still fun to watch 4 stars
5/21/05 Cham Book was pretty funny, but this is just plain bad. 1 stars
5/21/05 Tom Biegel Boring 2 stars
5/16/05 ad good for kids 3 stars
5/16/05 Hannah INSANITY!!! Don't see it in theaters...unless you are drunk! 1 stars
5/14/05 Bluto I wanted to like it so much, good visuals, thats about it 3 stars
5/13/05 MF A fun, if not wierd, movie that pales in compraison to the books. 3 stars
5/12/05 mwr truly awful, awkward and ugly - I fell asleep 1 stars
5/11/05 Jeff Baugh Read the books, seen the TV series, and heard the radio show. My rating? *****/***** 5/5 4 stars
5/11/05 Tyrantis The most entertaining film I've seen this year. 5 stars
5/11/05 maxomai Not the book. Who cares? Loved it. 5 stars
5/10/05 X worth the line wait 5 stars
5/10/05 nikki definately worth a look 5 stars
5/08/05 Snickerdoodle Weird in a good way, and very imaginative 4 stars
5/08/05 zeitgeist WTF is with the love story sub-plot? It ruined it. Stick to the book, kids 3 stars
5/07/05 Harry Knowles WORST. MOVIE. EVER. (ok, maybe not - battlefield earth holds that spot) 1 stars
5/06/05 Sir Spam-a-lot If only they had this kinda budget w/ the 1981 BBC Miniseries... 3 stars
5/06/05 KingNeutron Worst. Zaphod. EVAR. 2 stars
5/05/05 Christy Schultz Well, I have never read the book, but it was funny in some places, very stupid in others 2 stars
5/04/05 Ethan Acres Screenplay obviously written by Vogons 2 stars
5/04/05 ZF better than expected, very funny, great production design 4 stars
5/04/05 marya appalling, tripe, awful, unwarranted, Dear God, don't let them make a sequel! 1 stars
5/04/05 Integral Retarded, aimless, pointless, dull, WANT MY MONEY BACK!!! 1 stars
5/04/05 tmcmistress Lowtax: THINK. Idea-smiting shovels. on Vogon. Makes perfect sense. Well-done movie. 4 stars
5/03/05 Whatevr cool 5 stars
5/03/05 Mike Prentice Walked out after 40 minutes AND got my money back 1 stars
5/03/05 Aaron Smith Awful 1 stars
5/03/05 elpintogrande A pathetic attempt at forced humour. 1 stars
5/03/05 Tom Felt way more depressed than Marvin could ever be 1 stars
5/02/05 Lowtax So what was all that shovel face slapping time wasting crap about? 1 stars
5/02/05 Tommy It doesn't do justice to the book or to the fans. 1 stars
5/02/05 jcjs loved it 5 stars
5/02/05 Elizabeth S Not very amusing; only enjoyed Rickman's excellent voice work. 2 stars
5/01/05 bullit16 What was laugh-out-loud funny in the book, just wasn't on the screen 3 stars
5/01/05 Teri SILLY 3 stars
5/01/05 Rageim Support the movie ,Maybe get better in next movie. 4 stars
5/01/05 Richard Sucked 1 stars
5/01/05 Dorothy Malm not bad but movies are rarely as good as the book 4 stars
5/01/05 Joe Buss Pretty funny 4 stars
4/30/05 herrinfamily none 3 stars
4/30/05 John Bale Strong supporting cast and Jim Hanson's monsters help this space satire 4 stars
4/30/05 Darren Shea Good, but not great. Likely to be a letdown if you've memorized the books,or other versions 4 stars
4/30/05 The Grinch Pretty damned good for 2 hours...I don't think Joe Moviegoer could've handled 3 hrs.. 4 stars
4/30/05 Titus Better than I feared, not as good as I hoped. Chuckle-worthy, not much more. 3 stars
4/30/05 Mahone Sucks beyond belief. Effects budget can't hide terrible effort. 1 stars
4/30/05 Gray tI could have been better but not much 4 stars
4/29/05 David M Rosonowski Played off elements from the radioplay, TV series and book. Loved it. 5 stars
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  29-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2005



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