Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galxy (2005)
Based on Doglas Adam’s book of the same title, Hitchhiker’s Guide is a loosely assembled tale of Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) and his journeys through space. His best friend, Ford Perfect (Mos Def) rescues him right before the destruction of the Earth to make way for an intergalactic bypass. From there, they encounter several strange and wonderfully colorful inhabitants of the galaxy. The journey gains some purpose when Arthur Ford end up with the president of the Galaxy, Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) decides to try and find the ultimate question of the universe. It all ends with a happy ending that only makes sense because of how little sense the rest of the film makes.
I haven’t read the book so I don’t know how accurate the story is to the book but in spite of it’s wandering nature, the story in the film holds together nice enough for me.
I was very impressed to see that Jim Henson’s Muppet Workshop is still working in film. It was quite refreshing to see totally non-humanoid creatures that were not simply crated in a computer program. Seeing actual objects being photographed was incredibly refreshing. That is not to say that there were little to no CGI in this film, in fact it was full of CGI. However, it seems that director Garth Jennings really chose to use his special effects tools wisely. This perfect combination of models, muppets, CGI and live action makes this film the perfect answer to Star Wars Episode III.
Some viewers have been critical of the films apparent lack of focus and wandering nature. I imagine that the books are quite similar and I think that it really worked for this particular story. The whole film is full of small items that make little to no sense (the importance of a bath towel) but because of the specific story being told, they don’t have to make sense. They just are.
I appreciated the narration and use of the actual guide as a, well guide to the film. Some of the most comic moments of the film came directly from the guide itself. Adapting a book to film is always a challenge and nearly impossible to please fans of both. The written word is so different from motion picture that some things just can’t make the transition to screen. There will always be those who don’t feel that any film will do justice to a book, particularly one as large scoped and insane as I am sure Hitchhiker’s is.