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Another Wild Ride with the Hitchhiker’s Guide

Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent and Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox Zooey Deschanel as Trillian. Mos Def as Ford Prefect and Marvin the Paranoid Android..

I’ve never heard the radio show. I read the first four books in high school, but don’t remember much about them. I watched the BBC series a few times in the 80’s, and might even have it on Betamax somewhere deep in storage. Finally, two days ago, I saw the movie that was 25 years in the making.

For those not familiar with the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, it chronicles the pursuit throughout history of the ultimate question to life, the universe, and everything. The answer comes rather early in the movie, but it does leave things open to interpretation. The quest is taken up by the President of the Galaxy, a journalist from a planet near Betelgeuse, an intensely depressed robot, two humans, and a very special spaceship.

Fans of the radio/book/television versions shouldn’t grasp too tightly to their memories. Being so familiar with the earlier incarnations of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, even minor variations were a little disconcerting at first. But as the movie quickly progressed — and it diverged even further from my expectations — it was actually easier to enjoy.

All of the performances were both true to the spirit of H2G2, and fresh enough to produce a truly unique experience. Coupled with the madcap pace of the script, bizarrely magnificent special effects, and a few new twists on Douglas Adam’s particular brand of insanity, the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy managed reveal Arthur Dent’s misadventures to me again, for the very first time.

Written by in May of 2005. Last edited September 2014.

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