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The Hitchhiker's Guide to... (2005)
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Review Date: April 28, 2005
Director: Garth Jennings
Writer: Douglas Adams, Karey Kirkpatrick
Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Nick Goldsmith, Jay Roach
Actors:
Martin Freeman as Arthur
Mos Def as Ford Prefect
Zooey Deschanel as Trillian
Plot:
Based on the popular book, this film begins with an alien-of-sorts helping a human-being hitchhike his way away from planet Earth, before it gets zapped into nothingness. Once stuck in space with the odd man, who was apparently just visiting our planet in order to update the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy manual, the twosome meet up with several other weirdos and get into all kinds of wacky adventures. Humor is supposed to ensue, but most of it just went right over my head.
Critique:
About 15 minutes into this movie, with some folks laughing around me, others seemingly having a good time, I realized that this film simply “wasn’t for me” and that I wasn’t likely to get much out of it. A couple of hours later, as the fans of the Douglas Adams book on which this film is based, filed out of the theater, applauding at will, I pretty much confirmed that the film “wasn’t for me”, as not much about its story, its humor or its characters connected with me on any level. That’s not to say that the film sucked, just that…it wasn’t my kind of movie or humor. I hope that doesn’t sound like a cop-out or anything, since I did appreciate most of its actors, particularly Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel (love those eyes) and the great Sam Rockwell, the film’s impressive special effects (loved the “tour through Earth”) and many of its gadgets and original premise, but in the end, whether it was 15 minutes into the picture, or a couple of hours after its opening, I simply could not have cared less about any of the people on the screen or their so-called fantasy world or characters’ complicated names, etc… I didn’t think the towels were funny, I didn’t appreciate any of the narration or the cut-in scenes in which things were explained to the audience via cartoon sketches, I didn’t smile when the doors “sighed” when they opened or when the characters were constantly smacked in the face by giant fly-swatters…I simply didn’t get into any of it! I’m also probably one of the few people who actually thought Marvin the robot’s voice was badly cast in Alan Rickman. He sounded too old for that character, who looked like a young, cuter-sounding robot.

For anyone wondering if I’d read the novel, the answer is “no”, but as I’ve already gone on record in many of my previous films-based-on-a-book reviews before, I don’t think that should have anything to do with an audience member’s appreciation of a movie—particularly since the studio isn’t exactly handing the books out as folks are walking into the theater. I’ve also never been a fan of British humor (that’s right, the Monty Python flicks never did it for me either), so I’m sure that didn’t help. But less subjectively, I have to say that the film really doesn’t have much of a “story” going for it other than the fact that planet Earth is blown to smithereens, and a couple of its surviving members travel through the galaxy, getting into “wacky adventures”, I guess. Even the so-called “bad guys” (who look like giant rejects from that “Fraggle Rock” TV show) are admittedly not “evil”, but simply overly bureaucratic. Hmmmm, sorta funny, I guess. But when the entire basis of their appearances revolves around them asking people to fill out forms , and this task isn’t particularly humorous to you, things sorta get stale with them after a while, and you wonder what the heck the film’s obstacles are anyway. Hell…even Rockwell’s fun, over-the-top performance started grating at me after a while (and I love that guy!).

Anyway, like I said at the beginning of my review…I think this film is simply a case of me not “getting” the humor, the inside jokes or the particular attraction of this story. That said, and being as much of that is subjective, maybe you will – particularly if you’re a fan of the book (my sister, with whom I saw the film and who had read the book, enjoyed it quite a bit, so there).
(c) 2014 Berge Garabedian
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1:23AM on 07/25/2005

An interesting, sarcastically funny film that probably only 1/3 of all the audience members will like.

I remember seeing trailers for “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” a long time ago. It really intrigued my interests because the trailer basically just showed the earth blowing up and then states don’t panic. Then I decided to look up the film and little did I know that the film was based on a book. I don’t read books that often so I don’t know much about this book. I know I really should find some more time to read more but then again I need to find more time to do a lot of things. Well
I remember seeing trailers for “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” a long time ago. It really intrigued my interests because the trailer basically just showed the earth blowing up and then states don’t panic. Then I decided to look up the film and little did I know that the film was based on a book. I don’t read books that often so I don’t know much about this book. I know I really should find some more time to read more but then again I need to find more time to do a lot of things. Well anyway after reading about the movie and finding out Zooey Deschanel is in it, I had to see it and so I did so this evening.

“Hitchhikers Guide” is basically about a man by the name of Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) who is having a bad day because his house is about to be crushed by a bulldozer. But then he gets the worst news of all when Ford Prefect (Mos Def) comes over and tells him that the world is going to blow up in a matter of minutes. So they hitch a ride on the spacecraft that is going to blow up earth and so begins the story of “the Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.”

Let me first start out by saying this is not slapstick or on the surface gag comedy. It’s not and for this reason alone I think most viewers, except people who actually read the book or like movies that have a dark or sarcastic sense of humor, will probably walk out of this movie half way through or just sit through it and say it sucks at the end. If you don’t find yourself enjoying it fifteen minutes in your better off going out of the theater and asking for a refund because this is not your type of movie.

With that being said, I must say that I really enjoyed the flick. By not reading the book I’m sure made me criticize the movie less since I don’t really know what they left in, took out, or changed around. But I will say this “The Hitchhikers Guide” was a very unique movie experience. I see a lot of films probably more then 150 each year and I don’t think I have seen anything quite like this film. The comedy in this film is very weird and underneath the surface of the film. Most will not get the jokes, I got some but feel a second viewing is in order to get the others I missed the first time around.

The best character was the depressed robot named Marvin who was voiced by the talented Alan Rickman. He really cracked me up since he basically said he was depressed all the time and no one ever listens to him. Also the two main characters I liked the most were Mos Def who played Ford which I think he did a great job with. I really think Mos Def has a career in movies, he was great in this film and was good in “The Woodsman” and also “ Something the Lord Made.” Another around of applause is also needed for Zooey Deschanel who plays the role of Trillian and plays it marvelously. I know my schoolgirl crush on Zooey might make me seem a bit naïve on her but seriously I think she’s a great actress and this film along with “Manic”, “Almost Famous”. “All the Real Girls” and “Elf” prove this. Sam Rockwell and Martin Freeman were also very good in their roles. I think most of the main stars in this film will have a very successful life in Hollywood.

The film is a great film for not only making us think about the jokes in the film but also making us think in general. There is a lot of talk about the universe and the meaning of life. It’s all very interesting to see a mainstream film be released that actually wants the audience to use their brains or maybe even question things in reality. I really enjoyed that aspect of this film.

In conclusion, I really enjoyed “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.” It was quite enjoyable and was very different from the big summer blockbuster popcorn flick I expected it to be. My only complaint about the film was that it sometimes was a little too silly. I know why too? It was trying to get the other audience members who weren’t getting the underlining jokes to laugh or maybe even the little kids in the audience since the film was PG but seriously this isn’t a kid’s movie. Other then that, I really had no problem with the film. So in the end, it was a funny, interesting, and thought-provoking little film. I like how it had action, comedy and *gasp* even romance without making any of them the main focus of the film. It featured some good performances by some of Hollywood’s new up and coming stars.

MovieManMenzel’s final rating for “The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy” is an 8 out of 10. Like I said earlier, If you think you may want to watch this film, I think you should check it out but if you sit in the theater and fifteen minutes in, you say I hope this gets better or this isn’t funny, then you should just get up and ask for a refund because you probably won’t like the film. And to be honest, that’s ok because this film is not for everyone more so then most movies that have a particular audience. But if you do like the first fifteen minutes, sit back and enjoy because you are in for a rare treat.
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