The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy has long been a favorite of mine. I loved the book on which it was based, I loved the original television series which aired on the BBC back in 1981, and the radio drama was great fun as well. With Alan Rickman’s recent passing, I thought it only appropriate to share one of my favorites of his roles.
Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman), who lives a boring life, finds out one morning that not only is his house scheduled for demolition to make what for a bypass on the Earth, but the Earth is scheduled for demolition that same day to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Rescued at the last moment by his friend, the alien Ford Prefect (Mos Def), he eventually finds himself traveling the galaxy looking for the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything, not to mention the question itself.
Sadly, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy didn’t do as well as the producers had hoped, so no sequels were ever made. This is quite disappointing because the film did an excellent job capturing the spirit of the original book. It is full of crazy dialog and left-field humor. Perhaps this is why: it was too British in many ways. Perhaps the humor didn’t translate well to the minds of the rest of the world (or at least enough of the rest of the world) to encourage the sequels to be made. I guess making twice what it cost to produce it just isn’t enough.
The acting in the film was spot-on. Freeman captured Arthur perfectly, as if he was channeling the spirit of the character directly from the mind of Douglas Adams. I can’t think of anyone who could have done a better job. This is the only film in which I have seen Mos Def, but he did a great job as Ford. I really wish there had been more films in the series because it would have been awesome to see more of him as the series continued.
Zooey Deschanel had such great chemistry with Freeman in her portrayal of Trillian. Even though their relationship started off strangely, you could tell there was something there, even if Trillian didn’t want to see it at first. Seeing her use the Point-of-View Gun on Zaphod was great fun. Speaking of Zaphod, Sam Rockwell nailed the role. I had thought about who could play Zaphod before The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy came out, but could never think of anyone who could pull off such charismatic stupidity so well. Rockwell was an inspired casting choice.
Finally, Alan Rickman was wonderful as Marvin the Paranoid Android. His voice lent itself to the role magnificently, and I could feel the waves of depression simply rolling off the robot. Rickman will be missed. I really liked the design of Marvin, too, and it was fun to see the old television version in the queue on the Vogon homeworld. Nice touch, guys.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy always lifts my spirits (sorry, Marvin). Everything about it was wonderful and delightfully funny. The songs and music created for the film (especially the opening number by the dolphins) brought back very enjoyable memories of reading the books in the series. This film will always be one of my favorites.
Release Date: April 28, 2005 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief pub scene, pan-galactic gargelblasters)
Language: 1 (occasional minor)
Sexuality: 1 (some innuendo)
Violence: 1 (slapstick violence, destruction of the Earth, firefights)