Movie making technology has finally caught up with the fevered imagination of Douglas Adams, and the film adaptation of 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' does an amazingly good job of capturing the magical madness that Adams envisioned. I believe that Adams who co-wrote the screenplay would be happier than a Vogon at poetry slam, if he was alive today.
The 'Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy' started as a BBC radio play which Adams converted into a four book trilogy, has been converted into a low budget television mini series from the eighties and until now, has left most of the spectacular settings up to the audiences imagination. But thanks to an army of computer effects artists, the wild and weird worlds of the Hitchhikers galaxy is actualized and holds onto the bent British humor that Adams embellished in all his work. The side effects of the improbability drive such as the yarn universe the heroes temporarily land in, are hysterical. And this quick quirky pacing is kept up throughout the film. Jim Henson's creature shop bring the bulging bureaucratic Vogon race to life with the look of a living garbage bag that are sticklers for paperwork and won't react unless the correct forms have been filled out.
The human cast embody their characters with Martin Freeman as the hapless Arthur Dent, who with the help of Mos Def as Ford Prefect, is saved from imminent destruction when the earth is destroyed to make way for an intergalactic freeway. Along the way the duo encounter a host of funky freaks but its Alan Rickman voice that provides the memorable lines as Marvin the paranoid android. The only thing that might seem off to some readers would be the semi-contrived love story that emerges between Arthur and Trillian, however it never gets in the way of universe hopping fun.
The movie relies heavily on its source material, sometimes quoting entire paragraphs from the book as the heroes check the Guide for information. The representation of the Hitchhikers guide itself, complete with a stylish Flash graphics and interface and the words Don't Panic clearly printed on the back cover, delivers everything fans could have envisioned. Looking at the Guide, there's also the realization that such a book with a dual screen and touch screen interface could be created with today's technology and I personally hope computer makers take note and develop a working WiFi Hitchhikers guide for planet earth today.
Reserving my table at the 'Restaurant at the end of the Universe', for Movie Magazine, this is Purple.
© 2005 - Purple - Air Date: 4/27/05
TheHitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
USA / UK - 2005