“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a science-fiction/comedy book by the late Douglas Adams. In said book, we get a funny look at the origins of the universe and an adventure through outer space. The book was adapted into a 1981 TV miniseries done by the BBC, as well as forming a radio show that aired around the same time. Then in 2005, Touchstone decided to make an American version of “Hitchhiker” which became a huge success. Unfortunately, the end result is somewhat of a mixed bag. On the one hand, we get a very clever science fiction movie that sticks close to the source material and providing some great special effects. On the other hand, we have some miscasting and an absurd run time. “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a nice sci-fi film that could have improved greatly.
The story centers around Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), an Englishman who just missed out on the opportunity to spend some time with the woman of his dreams, Trisha (Zooey Deschanel). Unfortunately, Arthur learns from his best friend Ford (Mos Def) that the planet Earth is going to be destroyed for an intergalactic space highway. So, Ford sticks out his thumb and catches a ride on a spaceship led by Zaphod Beeblebox (Sam Rockwell) as well as Trisha. Arthur and his new friends, along with a maniacally depressed robot named Marvin (acted by Warwick Davis, voiced by Alan Rickman) search the galaxy to find the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything.
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a great science fiction film that excels in two areas: the story and the special effects. First, the story follows the book from beginning to end. This is because Douglas Adams was an executive producer and co-writer on the film. Next and most importantly, the special effects are pretty good. The sets look great and the alien creatures are cleverly designed, thanks to Jim Henson’s Workshop. There are also Guide entries that are provided with extraordinary animation that needs to be seen. Finally, we have scenes that use CGI to its fullest. Especially near the end of the movie.
Unfortunately, the film does suffer in two areas: the pacing and the casting. At almost two hours, the movie tends to take its time getting to the end. If the film had been shortened by 10 minutes, then it would have been perfect. But my main problem with the film is with the cast. Both the book and the movie take place in Great Britain, and for the most part, most of the actors are British. Yet the main cast is mostly American. If the film kept with tradition by allowing an all-star British cast, then it would have been acceptable.
Overall, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” is a good sci-fi film that is both fun and exciting to watch, but could have been improved so much better.