1 April 2013

Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 2005
  • Director: Garth Jennings
  • Based on books by Douglas Adams
  • Cast: Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Sam Rockwell, Zooey Deschanel, Bill Nighy, Warwick Davis, Anna Chancellor, Alan Rickman’s voice, Helen Mirren’s voice, Stephen Fry’s voice, John Malkovich, Kelly Macdonald
  • Personal “oh yeah him/her” reaction, i.e. have seen this actor/actress in:
    • Martin Freeman  Breaking and Entering, Shaun of the Dead, Love Actually
    • Mos Def  Cadillac Records, Be Kind Rewind, Monster’s Ball, NYPD Blue
    • Sam Rockwell – Moon, Frost/Nixon, Matchstick Men, Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, The Green Mile, A Midsummer Night’s Dream
    • Zooey Deschanel – Almost Famous, The Happening, The Good Girl
    • Anna Chancellor – Breaking and Entering, Longitude, Cold Lazarus, Four Weddings and a Funeral
    • Warwick Davis – Star Wars, Harry Potter, Life’s Too Short, Extras
    • John Malkovich – Burn After Reading, Me Myself and Kubrick, The Libertine, Being John Malkovich, Mary Reilly, Heart of Darkness, Of Mice and Men
    • Kelly Macdonald – No Country for Old Men, Harry Potter, Nanny McPhee, Tristram Shandy, The Girl in the Café,  Finding Neverland, Gosford Park, My Life So Far, Elizabeth, Trainspotting
    • The others I’ll include when it’s more than their voices
  • Why bought: the books
  • Seen: 2008 and January 11, 2013

This movie has a lot to live up to. Douglas Adams’ book and its follow-ups are among my top-ten all-time favorites. And Adams was behind the movie too so that’s a reassuring guarantee. Sadly he died before the movie was made; the movie is dedicated to his memory.  He was far too young; the loss of his brilliant wit is something the world can ill afford.
The movie is in fact a delight.  Jam packed with some of the funniest one-liners from the books, it follows the story of Earth in the process of being bulldozed out of existence to make way for an intergalactic motorway. Luckily our hero Earthling Arthur and his romantic interest Trillian are rescued by aliens, Arthur’s good friend Ford Prefect and the President of the Galaxy.  And that’s just the beginning.
The cast couldn’t be better. Mos Def is one of my favorite actors as are Bill Nighy (although he’s not completely recognizable here…) and John Malkovich. Hearing the voices of Stephen Fry, Helen Mirren and the hilariously mournful voice of Alan Rickman speaking for the depressed robot Marvin, played by Warwick Davis, is always something to look forward to.
Visually it’s colorful and funny and captures the zaniness of the book very well.
So why not a 10 of 10? I don’t know.  It’s just…not the book. Totally unfair, I know. I like the movie very much and will watch it more than a few times more. But in this case the book is just too overpowering.  See the movie absolutely. But read the book. You can’t live without it.

4 * of 5.

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