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'Guide' remains loyal to book's spirit


Photo
photo courtesy of TOuchstone pictures
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - Based on the popular series of books by Douglas Adams, this interstellar British comedy chronicles everything from towels to the meaning of life. Martin Freeman, of the original British miniseries "The Office," and rapper Mos Def star.
By Celeste Meiffren
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 4, 2005
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"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" opens with a song sung by dolphins. Dolphins. The song is titled "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish." So, I guess what I'm trying to illustrate here is, British people are completely out of control.

The strange sensibility that mixes parody with absurdity that is present throughout the works of Douglas Adams is successfully transferred to the screen.

Arthur Dent is an average man, played by Martin Freeman of "The Office" fame. Minutes before the end of the world, Arthur's house is about to be destroyed to make room for a highway. Little does he know that at that same moment, Earth is going to be destroyed to make room for a highway in the galaxy.

Arthur is saved by his alien friend Ford Prefect, played by Mos Def. Prefect knows that the Earth is about to be blown up, so they find a way to hitch a ride with the alien ships sent to destroy earth - hence the title.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

6 out of 10

The story from that point on becomes somewhat irreverent. And by somewhat, I mean extremely. To be honest, it wasn't difficult to follow so much as difficult to care enough to follow.

Arthur, Prefect and Arthur's love interest Trillian hitchhike throughout the galaxy with the company of a manic-depressive robot voiced by Alan Rickman and the president of the galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell). They have the answer to the meaning of life, but visit different planets and species in search of "the right question."

The computerized portions of the film were truly astonishing. The final sequence of the film is especially amazing to watch, just because of the impressive computer graphics and brilliant use of color.

There are a lot of cheap laughs and slapstick humor in the same vein as Monty Python. It is so British feeling, in fact, that a cup of tea is a major character motivation. Fucking Brits with their fucking tea.

Photo
photo courtesy of TOUCHSTONE PICTURES
"The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" - Any future featuring Zooey Deschanel in short shorts and giant Mousers is a future I want a big piece of.

There are some outstanding performances. Some bring the funny more than others. Mos Def and Rockwell play well off of each other. Rickman, although just a voice, carries a good portion of the film's humor.

Also, John Malkovich plays Humma Kavula, a character created entirely for the screen. This performance brings a lot of laughs.

"Hitchhiker's Guide" is a fun film. It takes a great piece of literature and transfers it to the silver screen with relatively high effectiveness. People who have not read the books could potentially be lost at times. I'm not going to lecture everyone about how you should read books before seeing the movie. But, seriously, read the book.

This film is not as great as the book, nor is it an especially great movie, but it gets the job done.



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