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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Widescreen Edition)
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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:
Top Customer Reviews
I mean that in the nicest possible way - it's one of my favourite books, but it's barely a story at all - more a set of dead-eye, deadpan observations on the absurdity of life, and particularly the British way of life, revolving very loosely around a chap in a dressing-gown. While that's great fodder for a comedy read, it's no basis for a coherent, 90 minute motion picture, especially one having the American market in mind.
It's a matter of record that Douglas Adams realised there was no story, but not until it was too late to fix it (about halfway through book two). From that point onwards made several attempts to pull everything back into a single coherent, archetypal story but totally failed, and in the process ruined the remaining three and a half books themselves, none of which are funny, let alone a good story.
A film-maker has a choice, therefore: stick with the material and film something which is not so much a screenplay as an extended, themed version of Saturday Night Live, or do some significant damage to the source material - "zap straight off to its major data banks and reprogram it with a very large axe", if you will - and make a story out of it.
The first option will in equal measure thrill and infuriate the party faithful, but bore the rest of the population; the second will most likely infuriate the party faithful, but at least has a chance with everyone else.Read more ›
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy may not have done well in North America because it lacked recognizable A-list movie stars (but then again, neither did the original Star Wars) with decidedly British sense of humour. Sadly, it failed to connect on a mass audience level despite a significant marketing push. Regardless, it is still an entertaining, big, splashy science fiction movie that manages to preserve the wit of Adams' book. So long now and thanks for all the fish.
"Making of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" is a fairly standard making of featurette. Not surprisingly, director Garth Jennings said that the key to this movie was in the casting. So, he gathered an eclectic group of actors.
Also included is an "Additional Guide Entry" which faithfully recreates the gag from the book about man proving that God doesn't exist but then it fails to include the book's punchline in which man goes on to prove that black is white and gets killed at the next zebra crossing.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
One of my five top favorite movies of all time! The Vogons are our government for sure! Beaurocratic bulls*** for sure! This movie is so smart, but hilarious!Published 2 days ago by Lisa Taylor
Love this movie and HGTTG in general. No it's not accurate to the book but entertaining just the same.Published 2 days ago by P B Mars
Great movie to watch when there is nothing interesting on TV. This is the kind of movie I can watch over -and-over.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
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