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Don't panic! After twenty years stuck in development (a mere blink compared to how long it takes to find the answer to life, the universe, and everything), The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has finally been turned into a movie. Following the radio play, TV series, commemorative towel, and books, this latest installment in the sci-fi-comedy franchise is based on the screenplay and detailed notes by Douglas Adams.
Hitching a ride.
For those unfamiliar with the story, everyman Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) wakes up one morning to discover that his house is set to be demolished to make room for a bypass. Little does he know the entire planet Earth is also set to be destroyed for an interplanetary bypass by the Vogons, a hideous and bureaucratic race of aliens realized in the film by Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Whisked off the planet by his best friend, alien-in-disguise Ford Prefect (Mos Def), Dent embarks on a goofy jaunt across the galaxy accompanied by his trusty Hitchhiker's Guide, which looks like a really fancy PDA.
The guide itself provides some of the funniest bits of the movie, little animated shorts that explain the ludicrous life forms and extraterrestrial phenomena our heroes encounter. Along the way Arthur meets the two-headed party animal/president of the galaxy Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) and develops an unrequited crush on fellow earthling Trillian (Zooey Deschanel). The creatures and sets are inspired and answer to the sci-fi fan's primal need to see lots and lots of cool stuff. In particular, there's John Malkovich's creepy, CGI-enhanced Humma Kavula. He's a guru leading a religion that worships the gigantic nose that allegedly sneezed the universe into existence (naturally all their prayers end not with "Amen" but with "Bless you.") The aliens the team encounters are inspired creations, eminently worthy of action figure-ification, and the sets belie an attention to detail worthy of freeze-framing. Fans of the other Hitchhiker manifestations, namely the British TV series, will be amused by a number of in-jokes sprinkled throughout the movie.
Concept art: The Heart of Gold pod on the planet Vogsphere
Where the story stumbles is in the telling--as books, the Hitchhiker's Guide was foremost about goofy and brilliant ideas that raised questions about our place in the universe while getting a laugh. The cast seems at times bewildered, at least when Sam Rockwell isn't picking pieces of scenery out of his teeth, perhaps a natural reaction to an adaptation of a book with no traditional plot. The movie has enough trouble figuring out how to get the characters from one fantastical location to the next that Adams's funniest concepts often feel left in the dust. While the reverence the filmmakers felt toward Adams's legacy is apparent, one wonders what we could have expected had the creator of this science fiction universe lived to see it with his own eyes. -- Ryan Boudinot
A Guide to the Guide
The Radio Play (CD)
The TV Series
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Deluxe Edition)
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Paperback)
The Filming of the Douglas Adams Classic (book)
Interviews with The Cast and Director
Watch our interviews with the cast and director of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and find out what they think of other DVDs and books:
Really fun and funny at first. Drags on, the last half I lost interest.
The character who is played by Zooey is completely and utterly unbelievable. Read more
I loved the book and liked the movie just as much. Good kids movie if they are into sci-fyPublished 3 days ago by Joe
A colorful sci-fi transgendlrous mutation of Alice in Wonderland, Kurt Vonnegut, Dr.Seuss, Star Wars and Monty Python. Probably a deep political or social satire of its time. Read morePublished 6 days ago by James Coghlan
True fans should know that the number one rule is that there are no rules. Is the movie exactly like the book? Nope. Why? Because DA never went backwards. Read morePublished 7 days ago by mlmcquinn
My favorite movie of all time. Nothing more to be said, great flick and now in HDPublished 9 days ago by Bobby Chrisman
This is my favorite movie ever. I was really glad to find it on here because the last two copies I had, someone stole them. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Sydney