The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005) by The Critical Movie Critics

Movie Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

DON’T PANIC. Every fan of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” trilogy (actually five books) was overheard repeating the words, “Don’t Panic.” Even I wondered aloud if the the big screen could even remotely capture the essence of the written material.

Let’s just say I was pleasantly surprised. This could have easily been a train wreck . . . luckily Douglas Adams managed to write the screenplay and aid in the casting before his untimely death. This isn’t to say The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy isn’t without flaws.

Let’s start with the good. As stated before, the movie aims relatively true to the book. Most major scenes are covered (with a few new ones) and no money was spared in creating the special effects and scenery. The movie brought to life the world of Magrathea and livened up the Guide itself. It was fun to see how the Guide worked, and actually seeing how it presented its data within was cool to watch.

The overall grade of casting wasn’t bad either. Sam Rockwell (“Frost/Nixon”) played Zaphod Beeblebrox to a tee. Zaphod is definitely a party-now-worry-about-consequences later kind of “guy.” My only objection was he acted too much like everyones favorite goon, George W. Bush. I hadn’t imagined Mos Def (“The Woodsman”) playing Ford Prefect or Martin Freeman (“Hot Fuzz”) portraying Arthur Dent. I’d say both did an adequate job doing what they were asked to.

Downfalls of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, you ask? Well, simply put, I’m not entirely sure the irony and humor were completely captured. British humor is a hard beast to make work. It requires a lot of work to pull off for the smallest of jokes. Obviously, many subplots and interactions were pared down or completely removed. The whole earth as a computer concept should have been covered with more zeal (as it is a major concept of the movie). I’m also confused by the addition Humma Kavula, played by John Malkovich (“Burn After Reading”). Why was this added? Surely the time allotted to this could have been better spent elsewhere.

All said, I’m glad I watched the movie, although, it wasn’t quite as good as I had hoped. I found myself thinking to much. Why was this added? Why was this removed? I would insert parts of the book into the movie to fill voids. Therefore, it may be a good thing to have actually NOT read the book before seeing the movie (although I highly recommend reading the books, afterwards). To put it simply, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is Mostly Harmless. (Inside joke to fans of the novel).

Critical Movie Critic Rating:
3 Star Rating: Average


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The Critical Movie Critics

I'm an old, miserable fart set in his ways. Some of the things that bring a smile to my face are (in no particular order): Teenage back acne, the rain on my face, long walks on the beach and redneck women named Francis. Oh yeah, I like to watch and criticize movies.

'Movie Review: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005)' have 6 comments

  1. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 9, 2005 @ 11:45 am Nashtradomus

    I sat to watch this movie thinking this would be one of those movies where it will make more sense to watch it if you had read the book first before watching it. think this movie stood well on its own. I don’t think you have to have read the books to get it. I think they did a good job in conveying the message in the time alloted.
    Douglas Adams claimed in his original book that humans were the third smartest creatures on the planet behind dolphins and mice and thus the movie starts off with the initial scene. The humor is fast, subtle and if you blink you could miss it. But lets face it, not everyone thinks that a manic depressive robot who shoots 300 fat Vogon bureaucrats with a point of view gun that instantly renders them all massively depressed too is funny.
    I had to slightly knock the movie for its performances, specifically those of Zooey Deschanel and, at times, Sam Rockwell. I was really looking forward to seeing Zooey in this role, and thought the casting was perfect. But she just seems so lifeless through the first half of the movie. She looks awful – they obviously went for a “girl-next-door” appeal, but it came across more like the “girl-next-door, who-just-woke-up, and-hasn’t-showered-yet”. Only after she finds out that the Earth has been destroyed does she start to show real involvement with what’s taking place.
    The final word on the Guide is it has few things going against it. (1) It’s a foreign language film (British and Vogon)
    (2) It makes jokes about particle physics, bureaucrats and theoretical mathematics
    (3) No one gets naked (other than a few aliens whose naughty bits are quite unrecognizable anyway)
    (4) The hero runs around the whole movie in a bathrobe and house slippers and never says, “Prepare for the jump to hyperspace.”
    (5) Paris Hilton is not in it.
    The “guide” itself is very well-done and extremely entertaining and the visuals were great. You’ll probably enjoy the movie even if you haven’t read the book, but you’re not likely to rush out and tell all your friends about it. One could hardly view the movie as Oscar worthy, but it was fun if not taken too seriously. I rate this movie B+.

  2. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 9, 2005 @ 1:50 pm Mr. Orange

    Overall I agree with your thoughts on the movie. Trillian (Zooey Deschanel’s character) should have been more involved. After all 1)she is hooked up with the president of the galaxy 2)they both just stole the Heart of Gold and 3)they are being chased by an armada of Vogons!
    Bristish humour is indeed difficult to swallow (unless you are from the UK). Most people can laugh at Benny Hill and Monty Python, but it can easily be lost when trying to joke about physics and mathematics.
    Now, I know you’ve lobbed the Paris Hilton comment across the plate to draw my ire. There is no reason on God’s Green Earth that Paris Hilton even exists. We’ll leave it that!

  3. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 11, 2005 @ 2:08 pm Nashtradomus

    Are you suggesting that you did not watch the Paris Hilton video that was floating around in cyber space, from what I recall, you said the video did not have enough lighting and that you could not make much out of it. Now why would a anti-Paris Hilton crusader go watch that video. I think this movie would have rocked if they had little bit of Paris in the Guide.

  4. The Critical Movie Critics

    May 11, 2005 @ 3:11 pm Mr. Orange

    I did indeed watch the entire Paris Hilton video. I also watched the entire the Chyna video (someone please tear out my eyes). I watched them because as a man I am required to do so, NOT because I like either of them. The addition of Paris Hilton in this movie would have dragged it further down the bowels of sh*t moviedom.

  5. The Critical Movie Critics

    August 11, 2007 @ 3:10 am Aspie182

    We clearly are not talking about the same Hitchhiker’s Narrow Little Bucket. This film was, except for the title shot in which we hear the radio series’ theme (more on that shortly), an affront to Douglas Adams on every level.

    What I find horrifying about it all is how everyone keeps claiming this piece of garbage was good, based on comparisons to the *book*! So allow me to clarify: the book was a spin-off of the radio series. You could have literally adapted the first four episodes from the radio series verbatim, with no changes whatsoever (save for the elimination of unnecessary credits and interludes), and still had room to spare in a two-hour film. Instead, the filmmakers took the cowards’ route and dumbed it all down to a point where even Douglas Adams would not have recognised any of it.

    Douglas Adams himself would have also told you his radio series was a lot better-written than the novels.

    The other common mistake people make in assessing this abomination of a film is that they claim Douglas Adams was somehow involved in writing what appears on the screen. At the time Douglas Adams wrote his treatment, the technology necessary to realise a two-headed, three-armed Zaphod was unfeasible. So Adams wrote of a Zaphod with one head being a retractable addition to the other. That is literally IT. That is Adams’ only real contribution to what we saw on screen. You can even see other writers contradicting it with the unseen removal of the proverbial second head. How exactly do you remove an outer layer forcefully without damaging the inner layer?

    Put simply, Hitchhiker’s Narrow Little Bucket is Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy (the real HHGTTG, as in audio) minus everything that made it a compelling listen. They could not have desecrated Adams, who was also a story editor on the real Doctor Who for a few years by the way, more if they hung his corpse from a tree.

  6. The Critical Movie Critics

    November 24, 2007 @ 9:36 am PageRanker

    I thought this movie was really good. However, I saw it after State of the Union so my review might have been affected.

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