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Overall Rating
2.93

Awesome: 7.07%
Worth A Look33.7%
Average: 25.54%
Pretty Bad: 12.5%
Total Crap: 21.2%

13 reviews, 106 user ratings


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Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Mostly gormless."
3 stars

You will find few visions as amiably daft as 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,' a movie that wants only to hop through time and space while stopping only occasionally for a laugh.

The fan base for the source material -- Douglas Adams' saga was a BBC radio show, a series of books, and a BBC television series before this film -- is at least as rabid as that of The Lord of the Rings, and even before the movie's release the Internet seethed with complaints and praise in equal hyperbolic measure. As a casual fan of the Hitchhiker's universe (I read the books in high school, and enjoyed the radio show when I caught up with it recently), I found the film far too busy and insecure, as if the filmmakers could feel the fanboys breathing down their necks. The movie catches the mad tumble of incident in the book, and some of the wordplay, but not nearly enough of it.

Douglas Adams excused himself from this plane of existence a few years ago, and if he were still alive he might've told the director, first-timer Garth Jennings, and credited co-scripter Karey Kirkpatrick to ease up a bit and let the movie breathe. Adams himself changed the story a bit for each new incarnation, and a few of the additions in the new movie are reportedly his. But the fun of this material isn't the destination, it's the trip. Adams filtered philosophy through a surreal P.G. Wodehouse style, letting his characters ramble on (the radio show worked best for this). The movie, powered by expensive visual effects, has less time for wit and becomes a borderline exhausting, plot-centered experience. And the plot was never the appeal of Hitchhiker's Guide.

The premise remains the same: everyman Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is whisked away from Earth by his alien friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def) instants before it's annihilated to make way for a hyperspace pass (satirically mirroring Arthur's earlier crisis when contractors want to knock down his house to make way for a bypass). They meet up with various quirky characters, including the arrogant double-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), his sort-of girlfriend Trillian (Zooey Deschanel), and the perpetually depressed Marvin the Paranoid Android (Alan Rickman does a pitch-perfect job of Marvin's voice). They're all pitted against the surly Vogons, who destroyed Earth in the first place.

Hitchhiker's teems with divertissements, some of which are pleasurable; it's hard to dislike a movie in which one of the heroes gets brain power from lemon juice. And Stephen Fry is on hand as the voice of the Guide, a book that contains everything you need to know about the galaxy. Dolphins, an insanely chipper computer, sighing doors, a massive supercomputer named Deep Thought (voice by Helen Mirren) whose answer to the question of the meaning of life is, famously, 42 -- all this and more, rattling around inside a sci-fi farce that, as others have pointed out, feels more like reheated Galaxy Quest than like Douglas Adams. Some will loathe it, some will go back for more; I felt rather indifferent, though the Jim Henson Workshop's rendition of the Vogons is dazzling in its physical detail.

Otherwise, the movie's vision of otherworldly realities lacks wonder and awe; it's all backdrop for wacky hijinks, and the soul of the film is not poor beleaguered Arthur Dent or even the morose Marvin, but the aggressively nitwitted Zaphod Beeblebrox. Playing against mostly deadpan co-stars (particularly Zooey Deschanel, whose apparent refusal to commit to the material is irritating), Sam Rockwell goes way over the top, and though an over-the-top Rockwell is usually fine news, here it isn't. Rockwell's crude performance becomes a comment on how Americanized and Disney-ized the movie feels. I got the sense that, if not for the success of the British-inflected Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies, Hitchhiker's Guide might have been cravenly made with an all-American cast, and wouldn't have been all that much different from what we're now getting.

As it is, three of the five main characters (if you count Marvin) have nothing resembling a British accent. That's 'Hitchhiker's Guide '05' in a nutshell, I think: it's still sort of British, but it's lost its accent.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=11932&reviewer=416
originally posted: 01/24/07 10:43:02
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User Comments

7/31/14 rivhrwcne USA 5 stars
7/15/14 kcvujmdzsp USA 4 stars
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!
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USA
  29-Apr-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 13-Sep-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  28-Apr-2005




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