More in-depth film festival coverage than any other website!
Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
Advertisement

Overall Rating
2.91

Awesome: 6.59%
Worth A Look33.52%
Average: 25.82%
Pretty Bad: 12.64%
Total Crap: 21.43%

13 reviews, 104 user ratings


Latest Reviews

Starry Eyes by Jay Seaver

American Jesus by Jay Seaver

Coastlines by Jack Sommersby

Joe by Jay Seaver

Raid 2, The by Brett Gallman

Crimes Against Humanity by Jay Seaver

Murder at 1600 by Charles Tatum

Mr. Bean's Holiday by Charles Tatum

Quiet Ones, The (2014) by Daniel Kelly

Missing Picture, The by Jay Seaver

subscribe to this feed


Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
[AllPosters.com] Buy posters from this movie
by Erik Childress

"Fans Can Go Ahead And Panic Now"
3 stars

I am a serious latecomer to the world of Douglas Adams. My first memory of The Hitchhiker’s Guide was that of the computer game that my fellow grade school students would flock to the library for after school and sign-up for hour blocks to play. I actually never played the game and never got around to either the book or hearing the original radio series. Two decades later, the serious Hitchhiker fans that I know are as giddy as school girls on pot about the film version so I thought it was time I acquainted myself with at least one of the books. What I found was a sharp-witted and delightfully enjoyable read that reaffirmed my statement that the best comedy comes out of the UK. What I found in the film version is that not all things translate to the big screen, particularly when the focus is more off course than a Vogon construction fleet going through governmental paperwork to save their grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.

The film version opens with such a splendid, doubled-over-in-laughter prologue/title sequence that it’s hard not to think that the filmmakers got it right and our prepared to take us on a witty ride through Douglas Adams’ universe. It’s such a shame that the dolphins had to leave before they had a chance to help make the movie. For those who have found themselves in the same Hitchhikers-less boat as I was for the past three decades, let me bring you up to speed.

Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman, from the UK version of TV’s The Office) is having an interesting morning. He wakes up to discover that his house is scheduled for demolition and his best friend, Ford Prefect (Mos Def), is actually an alien. Oh yeah, and the Earth is also going to be destroyed to make way for an interstellar highway. After escaping certain death (twice and barely shedding a care for his lost home planet or the staggering casualty rate), Arthur and Ford hitch a ride with the President of the Galaxy (slash playboy), Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), his depressed robot, Marvin (voiced by Alan Rickman) and the Earth girl, Tricia “Trillian” Macmillan (Zooey Deschanel), who Zaphod stole from Arthur at a party some nights earlier.

Their journey hardly consists of a series of vignettes, although that’s an easy description for their route to discover the meaning of the universe. It’s plot is almost biding time, diverting the confrontation of a question which should be the film’s driving force. Instead we find interruptions by the galactic police force (which scream Jim Henson studios of the mid-80s) and a over-fascination with the anti-“normality” of hyperspace travel which should be as much of a theme of their discoveries rather than an overused gag.

The plot of the Hitchhiker’s Guide should come a distant second to the asides which formed the real joy of the books. The history of the universe and its inhabitants gave Adams his springboard for the wry wit of the observations and sly jabs at American culture. As such, Stephen Fry’s narrator is the most enjoyable aspect of the film and is lost for a good chunk of the second act, opening up a black hole in the incredibly thin personalities of our heroes and a warmhole for outright boredom.

The narration is an integral function for the film to introduce the memorable passages which couldn’t be incorporated into a cohesive narrative, plus Fry’s readings are as entertaining as any audiobook of Adams’ work. Why more of it wasn’t relegated to Ford Prefect and the characters in the know by screenwriters Karey Kirkpatrick (Chicken Run) and Adams himself (completing several drafts before his death in 2001) remains a mystery. We’re left with the absence of much of the Twain-level drollness which is just as imaginative, if not more, than the fantasy and visual aspects.

Immediately lost is the clever way Ford explains that the demolition team doesn’t need Arthur to lie in front of the bulldozers to prevent them from razing his house. Instead he just gives them beer which is more like a vulgar American solution to the problem. A few questions to the actual guide (with possibly a graphic-style nod to the early interactive games) are posed and the philosophy of the flying Sperm whale is gleefully intact. However, the utilization of the towel as the most important calling card in the galaxy is never explained in words and becomes nothing more than an inside joke for those already well-versed in the history of the series.

Hardcore fans of any production from the written word to film are often very hard to read. How far will their loyalty stretch to forgiving aspects of an adaptation that they may know in their heart of hearts carries a disappointment that they aren’t willing to come to terms with. Sometimes you get the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Sometimes Andrew Lloyd Webber’s name is attached to it. The opening alone is enough to glide most through the rocky passages. The climactic planet factory is a visual feast as much as the wisdom of asking too many questions is an intellectual one. Neither the journey nor our heroes rise to that level though. As Mark Twain once said, “the human race has one really effective weapon, and that is laughter.” Perhaps that page was torn out of the filmmakers’ used copy of The Hitchhiker’s Guide.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11932&reviewer=198
originally posted: 04/29/05 14:03:36
[printer] printer-friendly format  

User Comments

7/28/12 Silkworm Dreadful rubbish - Just ask revolving Douglas !! 1 stars
2/15/12 Ron Larson Enjoyable, good cast 4 stars
5/14/11 Chipzsz First time i couldn't understand s**it, after reading the book is excellent, specially Marv 5 stars
6/14/10 LINDA DOWDY Hard to follow story line...was there a story line? 2 stars
6/09/10 Harvey Scott Fun but see the English version first. 3 stars
1/27/09 Shaun Wallner Very Interesting 4 stars
9/07/08 Samantha Pruitt did a good job re-telling the book, the effects were great! 4 stars
12/16/07 Jason The TV show sucked, this was only marginally better. 3 stars
5/20/07 fools♫gold Damn funny at times and even thoughtful. Seaver knows... 4 stars
4/18/07 Stevo UK Watching Harry Potter suck his cock is more tolerable than this. 1 stars
2/20/07 Beau literally one of the worst overrated movies i have ever seen, utterly pointless crap 1 stars
1/05/07 Don't see the movie, read the book please please please read the excellent book and don't judge it by this crap 1 stars
1/02/07 Jamie I actually thought that is was a decent movie, ya'll need to shutup, if you don't like it.. 5 stars
11/14/06 Matt Read the book, then dont waste ur time on the movie 2 stars
10/10/06 Diana Starts out great, slowly gets worse, the end is terrible and sugary (PS- READ THE BOOK) 3 stars
9/02/06 Chad Thomas Okay... not great! 3 stars
6/05/06 Pete Smith Utter rubbish. Watch the BBC TV version instead. 1 stars
5/21/06 millersxing Sci-fi silliness. I'm no more likely to read the book than before. 3 stars
5/19/06 drydock54321 kind of dull 2 stars
3/30/06 alley brauwnstine 5 stars
3/13/06 Roderick Cromar Very disappointing. A wasted opportunity. Poor value. 2 stars
2/12/06 adamathwaxman you all are styupid. this is the best film in years.pick yourself with a sharp object. 4 stars
1/24/06 Michael Shaw If anyone thinks this movie was worth watcvhing they should get their head examined 1 stars
1/20/06 Mike Pulido Boy this movie sucked! 1 stars
1/18/06 DARIJA VAN HOUTEN IT WAS OK, BUT I'VE SEEN BETTER 3 stars
1/15/06 Perry Mason nice opening, down hill from there. 2 stars
12/14/05 deadfishrman maybe I just need to watch it again for 1 more star 3 stars
12/03/05 Jennifer S. Martin Freeman is pretty good in this, but Zooey Deschanel is her usual annoying self. 3 stars
11/13/05 cypress wasn't too impressed, expected more from this one 2 stars
10/27/05 East Asian Piss Fairly Good 4 stars
10/25/05 daveyt not worthy of the title... absolutely butchered 2 stars
10/09/05 Anus Adams is rolling in his grave. 1 stars
10/07/05 Chris Knight I was open mouthed it was so dreadful 1 stars
10/03/05 CaDizzle Don't judge the book by this movie, book is millions of times better 2 stars
9/27/05 rafi I actually liked it alot , fun movie! 5 stars
9/20/05 Vaughan What a disappointment, they ruined the jokes! 2 stars
9/19/05 Jonathon Holmes dogshit 1 stars
9/15/05 Tom Burns Not a great movie, but the scenery is pretty cool. 3 stars
9/06/05 chrissy b absolute rubbish - dire remake - why bother 1 stars
8/12/05 zaw is this movie based on a piece of crap book or what? 1 stars
8/09/05 Glagg Just not interesting or funny enough, gives book an undeserved bad rep. 2 stars
8/06/05 Zack DON'T PANIC! 5 stars
8/05/05 Kathy terPlugg Wasting away again in MAGRATHEAville 2 stars
7/22/05 Seen the movie, TOTALLY regretted it The movie was a REMAKE of Penis Spaceship movie of the 1960'70s 1 stars
7/09/05 Rebecca It implies the book itself is a piece of shit. It isn't. 3 stars
7/03/05 Eddie DUMBEST PIECE OF RANCID ANTI-CHRIST SHIT! 1 stars
6/28/05 Joe Pesci The film is crap. BUT READ THE BOOK - ITS AMAZINGLY GREAT. 1 stars
6/24/05 Eric Rollins The mini-series is so superior, skip this mess 2 stars
6/19/05 Sean Lane Awesome alternative to the regular garbage derivations. Didn't read the book. 4 stars
6/11/05 Krisan Graves what did i just watch? 3 stars
6/11/05 Captain Craig The only move I ever walked out on! A waist of money all around. dont bother! 1 stars
6/09/05 elpintogrande ADAMS ROLLING IN HIS GRAVE 1 stars
6/05/05 Ubu the Ripper Failed Disney attempt to cash in on pre-Star Wars hype. A true waste of film and my $10. 1 stars
6/04/05 Denise Gannon i loved the opening theme, but too much pointless chatting amongst charactors. 3 stars
6/04/05 Hack-SAW Don't know what to say about this... 3 stars
5/27/05 chris. this is what fans of the book like myself have been waiting for????? 3 stars
5/23/05 Green Gremlin Not as good as the classic BBC series, but still fun to watch 4 stars
5/22/05 Cham Book was pretty funny, but this is just plain bad. 1 stars
5/21/05 Tom Biegel Boring 2 stars
5/17/05 ad good for kids 3 stars
5/17/05 Hannah INSANITY!!! Don't see it in theaters...unless you are drunk! 1 stars
5/15/05 Bluto I wanted to like it so much, good visuals, thats about it 3 stars
5/14/05 MF A fun, if not wierd, movie that pales in compraison to the books. 3 stars
5/12/05 mwr truly awful, awkward and ugly - I fell asleep 1 stars
5/12/05 Jeff Baugh Read the books, seen the TV series, and heard the radio show. My rating? *****/***** 5/5 4 stars
5/12/05 Tyrantis The most entertaining film I've seen this year. 5 stars
5/12/05 maxomai Not the book. Who cares? Loved it. 5 stars
5/11/05 X worth the line wait 5 stars
5/10/05 nikki definately worth a look 5 stars
5/09/05 Snickerdoodle Weird in a good way, and very imaginative 4 stars
5/09/05 zeitgeist WTF is with the love story sub-plot? It ruined it. Stick to the book, kids 3 stars
5/07/05 Harry Knowles WORST. MOVIE. EVER. (ok, maybe not - battlefield earth holds that spot) 1 stars
5/07/05 Sir Spam-a-lot If only they had this kinda budget w/ the 1981 BBC Miniseries... 3 stars
5/06/05 KingNeutron Worst. Zaphod. EVAR. 2 stars
5/05/05 Christy Schultz Well, I have never read the book, but it was funny in some places, very stupid in others 2 stars
5/05/05 Ethan Acres Screenplay obviously written by Vogons 2 stars
5/05/05 ZF better than expected, very funny, great production design 4 stars
5/05/05 marya appalling, tripe, awful, unwarranted, Dear God, don't let them make a sequel! 1 stars
5/04/05 Integral Retarded, aimless, pointless, dull, WANT MY MONEY BACK!!! 1 stars
5/04/05 tmcmistress Lowtax: THINK. Idea-smiting shovels. on Vogon. Makes perfect sense. Well-done movie. 4 stars
5/04/05 Whatevr cool 5 stars
5/04/05 Mike Prentice Walked out after 40 minutes AND got my money back 1 stars
5/03/05 Aaron Smith Awful 1 stars
5/03/05 elpintogrande A pathetic attempt at forced humour. 1 stars
5/03/05 Tom Felt way more depressed than Marvin could ever be 1 stars
5/03/05 Lowtax So what was all that shovel face slapping time wasting crap about? 1 stars
5/03/05 Tommy It doesn't do justice to the book or to the fans. 1 stars
5/03/05 Anus HUGE STEAMING PILE OF BOREDOM. A DISGRACE TO THE BOOK 1 stars
5/02/05 jcjs loved it 5 stars
5/02/05 Elizabeth S Not very amusing; only enjoyed Rickman's excellent voice work. 2 stars
5/02/05 bullit16 What was laugh-out-loud funny in the book, just wasn't on the screen 3 stars
5/02/05 Teri SILLY 3 stars
5/02/05 Rageim Support the movie ,Maybe get better in next movie. 4 stars
5/02/05 Richard Sucked 1 stars
5/02/05 Dorothy Malm not bad but movies are rarely as good as the book 4 stars
5/02/05 Joe Buss Pretty funny 4 stars
5/01/05 herrinfamily none 3 stars
5/01/05 John Bale Strong supporting cast and Jim Hanson's monsters help this space satire 4 stars
5/01/05 Darren Shea Good, but not great. Likely to be a letdown if you've memorized the books,or other versions 4 stars
5/01/05 The Grinch Pretty damned good for 2 hours...I don't think Joe Moviegoer could've handled 3 hrs.. 4 stars
5/01/05 Titus Better than I feared, not as good as I hoped. Chuckle-worthy, not much more. 3 stars
4/30/05 Mahone Sucks beyond belief. Effects budget can't hide terrible effort. 1 stars
4/30/05 Gray tI could have been better but not much 4 stars
4/29/05 David M Rosonowski Played off elements from the radioplay, TV series and book. Loved it. 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
Note: Duplicate, 'planted,' or other obviously improper comments
will be deleted at our discretion. So don't bother posting 'em. Thanks!
Your Name:
Your Comments:
Your Location: (state/province/country)
Your Rating:


Discuss this movie in our forum

USA
  29-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  28-Apr-2005




Home Reviews  Articles  Release Dates Coming Soon  DVD  Top 20s Criticwatch  Search
Public Forums  Festival Coverage  Contests About 
eFilmCritic.com: Australia's Largest Movie Review Database.
Privacy Policy | HBS Inc. | |   

All data and site design copyright 1997-2013, HBS Entertainment, Inc.
Search for
reviews features movie title writer/director/cast