Review: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Posted by: Dean Kish  //  April 29, 2005 @ 11:59am

Filed under: Movie Reviews 

Not familiar with the classic text and hitching a ride of my own, I climbed aboard a train bound for the stars. I guess curiosity had got the best of me since so many of my contemporaries were ecstatic about the classic novel by Douglas Adams. So I just had to see what all the fuss was all about.

Everyday Joe, Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), is having a really bad day. It seems that a construction company wants to build a freeway interchange right through his house. Dent refuses to comply and lies in front of the bulldozers. Dent's best friend Ford (Mos Def) begs Dent to leave the demolition site claiming that the whole thing doesn't really matter in the grand scheme of things.

Eventually Dent leaves with Ford and they visit a local pub. Ford explains that he isn't really from "around there" and that in precisely 10 minutes the whole world will be destroyed. Why will the planet Earth be destroyed? Because an intergalactic agency wants to build their own version of an expressway interchange. So Dent can relate somewhat.

Just as the planet explodes, Arthur Dent and Ford are whisked up into a spaceship after Ford shines a ring into the sky. When they arrive on the ship, Ford shows Dent a book called "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy". Ford explains that the book will explain everything about life traveling among the stars. And thus, Ford and Dent's adventures among the stars begin.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a goofy British sci-fi romp that brings a whole new look on intergalactic travel. Some of the characters and adventures that Dent and Ford embark upon are hilarious after they meet up with Marvin the paranoid robot (voiced by Alan Rickman and performed by Warwick Davis), Trillian (Zoey Deschanel), and Zaphod (Sam Rockwell).

I found the first portion of the film very reminiscent of Shaun of the Dead, where all these things are happening around Dent but he really doesn't noticed except for his house. But like Shaun, I found that Hitchhiker ran out of gas about the halfway mark of the film.

I just didn't find the jokes and characters funny anymore. Thank goodness Bill Nighy shows up and adds some much-needed new blood to the film's third act.

My favorite part of the movie was probably the rather hilarious and goofy narration. Most of those sequences left me in stitches. I also really liked Rickman's robot but like Sam Rockwell's Zaphod wore thin on me after a while.

Since I wasn't familiar with the source material, I didn't have an instant connection with the characters and situations, but maybe if I had then I would have been more connected to the events on screen. (3 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer.

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