tek's rating: ½

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (PG)
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There've been various incarnations of this story. A radio comedy, a series of books, a TV series, comics, etc. My favorite remains the books, though I also quite like the radio play and the series. Anyway, in any incarnation there will be differences, so it's never exactly the same story. The fundamentals, of course, are always the same. Ford Prefect (here played by Mos Def) rescues his friend Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) from Earth just before it is destroyed by a Vogon Constructor Fleet to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Then they get picked up by Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) and Trisha McMillan, aka Trillian (Zooey Deschanel). Eventually they get to the legendary planet of Magrathea, and they learn Earth was just an incredibly complex computer which was designed to calculate the ultimate question of life, the universe, and everything. After another computer, Deep Thought, had come up with "42" as the ultimate answer... and then divulged that it makes no sense unless you know the actual question, which is what the Earth was for. But, of course, there was the small matter of the Earth having been destroyed shortly before it would have completed its 10 million year program. Aside from these basic facts, any number of details of the story can be added, subtracted, or altered.

Well, I liked some of the changes in this movie. And I disliked some of them. Others perhaps I was indifferent about. And then there are the things that weren't changed... the same can perhaps be said: liked some, didn't like some as much as I did in other versions even if it's the same, and indifferent towards some. I'm not sure really what else to say. I think if nothing else, you should absolutely read the book, and its sequels, because they're all bloody brilliant, they're my favorite books ever written. They're much funnier than this movie. Although I do think the movie was reasonably funny, itself. I don't really want to say anything too specific about what's the same and what's different, because part of the fun (or frustration) for longtime fans will be in the comparisons to other versions of the story. So it would suck for me to spoil anything. I will say that I felt the movie was too American, not British enough, but other fans might feel differently, and indeed, Douglas Adams himself might have felt differently for all I know. I will say there are a few bits that sort of make sense of things that always bothered me about other versions, which is nice. And there are other bits that make less sense to me. Whatever, it's not like the story is meant to make sense, it's all very bizarre and surreal, anyway. That's rather the point. And I'm afraid that's about all I can think to say, but I'll rewatch it someday, and maybe I'll see if there's anything I can add/subtract/change about this review. For now, I can just say it's an okay movie, not the best by any means, but not the worst, either. Oh, and I certainly wouldn't mind if they made some sequels, although some of the alterations made to the story here make it difficult for me to see how that could possibly work... but other, not-quite-so-changed things (never actually coming up with the ultimate question; deciding to go to the Restaurant at the End of the Universe) make it seem the possibility is open...

Oh yeah, and I loved the opening credits sequence, with the dolphins singing "So Long and Thanks for all the Fish."


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