Saturday, April 30, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (***)

Douglas Adams's beloved cult novel has finally been adapted into a feature length movie, and for all those fans thinking the filmmakers would screw it up, DON'T PANIC. Adams co-wrote the movie himself, and director Garth Jennings does a fine job of nailing the right absurdly comic tone. Right from the start, the movie establishes itself as an off-kilter comedic joy with a wonderful musical montage called "So long, and thanks for all the fish" involving dolphins, the second-smartest creature in the universe, and their escape from the soon-to-be-destroyed planet Earth. The cast is littered with cool actors, not really "movie stars" in the sense of the word, but cool nevertheless. The Office's Martin Freeman is our Everyman Arthur Dent, Mos Def is Ford, and, in the film's funniest performance, Sam Rockwell is Zaphod, President of the Galaxy. Rockwell is clearly having a grand time here, and it shows. Alan Rickman also lends his immediately recognizable voice to Marvin, the depressed robot. The movie is imaginative and funny throughout, if not "laugh at loud" funny, then at least "put a smile on your face" funny. The visual effects strike the perfect balance between realistic and surreal--the movie is great eye candy. I also enjoyed the fact that the aliens were not CGI-created creatures, but rather, the work of Jim Henson's Creature Shop. Aside from some disjointed editing, scenes kind of stop and start abruptly at times, this is a great adaptation: Star Wars meets Monty Python.


At 10:34 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

I like the fact that you are setting out your reviews individually now, John. It's easier for me to keep up with.

I suppose I agree with your review here, but I was a little short of attention last night and a lot of the movie didn't register on my brain (maybe "Palindromes" exhausted my attention span). I probably need to see this again to enjoy it better.

At 8:38 AM, Blogger KLE said...

or just read the books. mmmm Douglass Adams

At 9:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's "Douglas" with one "s". You're not a real fan.


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