Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy

Dir: Garth Jennings, 2004, 109 minutes. Anamorphic widescreen. Suitable for all ages.

The Earth was accidentally demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, and archetypal English bloke Arthur Dent was left hitching around the Galaxy with just his bathrobe, a towel, and a copy of the Hitchhiker's Guide (the one that has "Don't Panic" in friendly block letters on its cover.)

Welcome to the first full-length cinematic version of this 1980s sci-fi icon. And, since author Douglas Adams himself wrote the script, there is no reason to panic! The film is mostly harmless - eh, make that mostly delightful. Special effects range from a spacecraft that looks like a cannister vacuum cleaner turned inside out, to aliens from the Hanson Workshop who look like giant beanie babies. But the tour of the "factory floor" of Megrathea, the planet that manufactures worlds, is worth the price of the DVD. Adams included many of the skids, anecdotes and one-liners which made the book so special, and had them discreetly animated as well.

Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent, and Zooey Deschanel as his love interest, are very well cast indeed. Less so is Sam Rockwell as the Intergalactic President and arch-egomaniac Zaphod Beeblebrox. It was embarrassing to hear Rockwell say in the "Making Of" that he got the part because "they couldn't afford Jim Carrey." The best performance was turned in by Alan Rickman as the voice of Marvin the Paranoid Android, who decimated an entire company of alien soldiers with just his depressing thoughts. There is great intelligence, not to mention common sense, beneath all the zaniness, which is what both the book and now the film succeeded in conveying.

Posted by:
Franklin Lei
Nov 17, 2007 4:37pm
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