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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

  Directed by: Garth Jennings
Written by: Douglas Adams, Karey Kirkpatrick
Starring: Warwick Davis, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, Martin Freeman, Stephen Fry, Alan Rickman, Sam Rockwell
Links: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on the IMDb, Official site, Buy the Book
Genre: Sci-Fi

This movie gets: 6.00 (2 ratings)
nofreelist.com Ranking: Ranked equal 129th of 187 movies (2 ratings minimum; see full chart)

"Blergh" - a review by andy-j

Let me just start this review by saying that I've never read the book. Now, if there happen to be any Hitchhiker's purists out there reading this, my credibility has no doubt just gone down the toilet. Well, let me tell you geeks something - it was already in the toilet. Check out my other reviews for proof.

Anyway, talking about the toilet, the bit where I went to the toilet because I drank too much coke was the best part of this movie. I found nothing funny about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy at all. For the most part, it was a series of disjointed subplots cobbled together with little explanation. It jumped all over the shop and I soon totally lost interest. The cast just seemed to phaff around in space, hypershipping (or whatever) from one galactical to another. There are all sorts of random unexplained events that seem to be included solely for the sake of adding some humour. I hate humour for humour's sake. It hardly ever works, and it doesn't work here. Especially when it tries to be smart and ironic. Tiresome.

There were some interesting parts to this movie. The wider plot sort of took a back seat for the most part, which is a shame, because I thought it was pretty clever. The whole bit about Earth being the super-computer... that was great. And the backup bit - that's a thumbs up. Anyway, I thought this movie was a waste of my time. Not that my time's worth anything much. So yeah, that's pretty much all. Thanks for reading.

andy-j gives this movie 4 out of 10.
Review created on Sat 25 Jun 2005

"No need to bring your towel" - a review by pearly

The late, great Douglas Adams first conceived of the characters of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy before I'd even figured out how to crawl. And in the 25 plus years since, the series has seen it all: books, radio plays, television series with terrible special effects, and now, a feature film. For those people who have been following the franchise throughout its many incarnations, the announcement of this version was no doubt a big thrill. With a screenplay written over a great number of years by Adams himself, in collaboration with Karey Kirkpatrick, there's no way it could be all bad. The death of Adams in 2001 obviously wasn't the best of news, but the production ploughed on regardless, and the eventual film, whilst far from perfect, delivered something that could safely be viewed without the aide of a towel.

The basic story in the film is the same as that of any of the other versions: a perfectly ordinary man named Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is, unbeknownst to him) friends with an alien named Ford Prefect (Mos Def). When Ford realises that Earth is about to be destroyed to make way for an inter-galactic super-highway, he decides to take Arthur with him as he flees the planet that he's made his home for some time now. So, they hitch a ride on a spaceship that's being piloted by one Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), where Arthur meets up again with Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), a girl he fancied when he met her at a party a couple of years prior, and where he begins to learn, with help from a book called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, about what his life is to become.

The film, like its many other versions, is about sci-fi, but it's also about comedy. Adams is an extraordinarily witty writer, and the books have me in stitches whenever I read them. Many people have criticised this film for being a bit too light-on in the jokes department, and I agree to a certain extent, but I don't think that the balance is too bad - there's perhaps just a few too few jokes in the film to make it as funny as it should have been, but it's not as though the whole thing is void of humour.

The thing I liked best about the film (which was probably the same with the television series, come to think of it), were the interludes where a section of the book itself was animated, all narrated by the "Voice of the Book" Stephen Fry. Fry has a very distinctive and easy to listen to voice which I have always appreciated, and on top of that, he's got great comic timing. I cannot think of a better person to play that role - his pompous British accent works wonders on the material. I looked forward to each new section of The Guide (peppered throughout the main action), and upon the film's conclusion, I wished that there had been more (though I was happy to see that The Guide spoke once more during the closing credits).

The rest of the actors in the film were a little more hit and miss, unfortunately. Since having watched Freeman in the brilliant series The Office, I've liked him a lot, and I thought he was fine in the lead role, though really all he had to do was look confused for most of the time. Def and Rockwell I was less impressed with. Def didn't particularly bother me, but I wouldn't have cared if he were replaced with someone else, which isn't very high praise, but Rockwell just annoyed me throughout. I thought that he came off as trying too hard, and it didn't help that the way that the special effects folk chose to do his second head didn't work for me at all. Alan Rickman, who plays depressed robot Marvin (in voice form - his physical form is inhabited by Warwick Davis), has the perfect voice for the part, and I thought he pulled it off really well.

So, aside from a slight lack of humour in the film, I really quite enjoyed it. The special effects are pretty awesome (though nothing can beat the look of Zaphod's second head from the television series - that thing rivals anything from Doctor Who or any other eighties or earlier effect), and the action moves at breakneck speed throughout - not even giving you a chance to think about being bored. The film is presented in such a way that it should be able to be picked up by people who are unfamiliar with the franchise, but contains dozens of little nods to those in the know. It will perhaps all become a bit much for someone coming into it for the first time, but it suited me just fine.

pearly gives this movie 8 out of 10.
Review created on Thu 9 Jun 2005

Movie review statistics

Number of reviews: 2
Average rating: 6.00
Lowest rating: 4 (by andy-j)
Highest rating: 8 (by pearly)
 
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