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It’s not the best of days for Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman): first his house is being bulldozed to make way for a bypass, then it gets worse – the Earth is being blown into oblivion to make way for a hyperspace bypass through the galaxy. Luckily, Arthur’s best friend Ford Prefect (Mos Def) is not really from Guildford, Surrey – but from a small planet near Betelgeuse, he’s reporter for the Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy – and he takes Arthur with him just in time. They hitch a ride on one of the Vogon space-ships that destroyed the earth, get caught and are thrown out through an airlock into space. Space is vast – very vast, and it’s highly improbable they are saved before they die in the vacuum. What could come in more handy than the spaceship Heart Of Gold equipped with the Infinite Improbability Drive, piloted by double- and empty-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell), president of the Galaxy, and Arthur’s love interest Tricia ‘Trillian’ McMillan (Zooey Deschanel), who are on their way to find the Question About Life, The Universe And Everything (to which the answer is 42). A wild ride through the universe is what follows – Arthur wearing his bathrobe throughout the journey, but luckily equipped with one of the most essential items a hitchhiker through the universe needs – a towel.

If the above doesn’t make any sense to you, then you haven’t read Douglas Adam’s cult book The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy nor heard the radio show of the same name from the 1970’s. The essence of the book’s plot is nicely captured in this film version – everything from the Vogons via the Babelfish via Marvin via Slartibartfast (builder of Earth) via Deep Thought via Dolphins up to white mice is there.
But the actors give the impression of being pushed and pulled through the various (and sometimes glorious) sceneries without actually acting, just reacting (which might be intentional – it’s what’s actually happening to them, but it doesn’t work well for a movie), the gags are badly timed and misfire more often than hit the spot, and they didn’t age too well, while the excessive voice-over suggests the makers of the movie didn’t really trust the moving pictures and the actors to get the story across to the audience. The actors clearly do their best, but the script isn’t a great help for them – Martin Freeman mostly stands around looking astonished, Sam Rockwell is appropriately annoying, Zooey Deschanel looks gorgeous in the shower, and Mos Def is quite perfect (pun intended).
DON’T PANIC – this review was written after watching the dubbed German version – might be the Original Version fares better. When you are a fan of Douglas Adams, you might give it a try – but you’ll do that anyway, no matter what the critics say! LOL

One Response to “THE HITCHHIKER’S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY by Garth Jennings”

  1. schwarze fee Says:

    Well, I liked this movie, I found it funny and with a way-out kind of humour. I did see the English version though – and Alan Rickman providing the voice of android Marvin alone is worth the ticket. There also some nice visualizations of Adams’ ideas – like putting the finishing touches to the backup-copy of Earth 🙂

    three and a half stars from me!

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