Discussion in 'Movies' started by ThomasC, Apr 29, 2005.

  1. ThomasC

    ThomasC Lead Actor

    Dec 15, 2001
    Likes Received:
    The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a pleasant, fast-paced (a little too fast-paced at times) movie that leaves you wanting more at the end. I've read 10 or 15 chapters of the book, and I thought that there could have been some more development, particularly in the beginning. I'd definitely go see The Restaurant at the End of the Universe if this makes enough money to warrant another movie entry in Douglas Adams' series.

    2.75 out of 4
  2. Ocean Phoenix

    Ocean Phoenix Supporting Actor

    Feb 10, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I don't think this movie is going to work for any people who haven't read and enjoyed the book. It was a bit uneven, and some of the jokes fell flat, but as someone with affection for the book, I enjoyed it. I think a lot of people will be hard on this movie because it doesn't have as much crossover appeal to people not familiar with its source material as some other movies (ie Sin City), and some fans of the book will be annoyed by how many changes were made to it.

    I think the people who appreciate it most will be those who go into it with an attitude like the one I went in with...I didn't expect a literal translation, I promised myself I wouldn't be nitpicking about the changes made from the book, and I hoped most of all that it would maintain the spirit of the book. I'm happy to say that I believe it did, and it ended up being a nice tribute to creator Douglas Adams.

    I thought the changes made to the story for its movie incarnation were mostly appropriate and natural. The actors all did fine in their roles, and it made me smile to see some of the visuals described in the books creatively and endearingly presented onscreen. Some of the dialogue from the book was just as funny in the movie as it was in the book, and some didn't work so well as movie dialogue, but the special effects were always wonderful. "The Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy" is not for everyone, but it's a fun, innocent, and pleasant movie that I was pleased and satisfied with. As mentioned before, Alan Rickman's vocal performance was great. He and Stephen Fry (as the voice of the guide) were perfectly cast.
  3. George See

    George See Second Unit

    Jul 14, 2002
    Likes Received:
    I loved it, had a big goofy grin on my face the whole time. I don't think they will win over many new converts to the hitchikers universe with this movie however. Wayyyy too many jokes that will just go right over the head of someone not familure with the past incarnations. My only 2 minor complaints would be the love story aspect seemed pretty boring and forced also deep thought was a bit too goofy I think. Overall it exceeded my expectations while it won't win any awards I think it's a must see for fans of the material in fact most fans will want to watch it at least twice to have any hope of picking up all the little "in" jokes and references. Anyone who enjoys movies like the Monty Python movies or other sci-fi comedy like Galaxy Quest, Spaceballs etc should check this one out as well.
  4. RomanSohor

    RomanSohor Second Unit

    Jan 9, 2003
    Likes Received:
    I loved it too, and I think we may be surprised at just how well it plays... it was on 3 screens in the theater I saw it at... 2 small, one huge... they had to move one of the showings from small to huge to hold all the people that wanted to see the movie!
  5. Michael Harris

    Michael Harris Screenwriter

    Jun 4, 2001
    Likes Received:
    I sum up my reaction with "Mostly Harmless".

    It could have been much better but given the source material, it's impossible to have gotten it perfect. As a fan since the first public radio broadcast, my bar is set impossibly high.

    First, the great:

    1. The Vogons were amazing. Love their look, their ships, and their planet. Splendidly realized. Could have made a movie with just them.

    2. Voice work for "the book" and Marvin was well done. Made me forget the original voices. I was really amazed by how much emotion I could see on Marvin given the sparse details on his body.

    3. The look of the film was spot on. The tour of the Magrathea factory floor was eye-opening. The destruction of the Earth was unique.

    4. The opening of the film with the song "Thanks for all the Fish" was a delight.

    5. The in jokes for the fans were a nice touch.

    The not so great:

    1. Some of the classic jokes were either cut or totally missing. The Bable fish being proof of the non-existence of God. Arthur's full conversation while lying in front of the bulldozer. The "shrubbery" incident on the Vogon ship. Etc., etc.

    2. Pacing was sporadic. Not important in a 12 part radio series but vital for a two hour film.

    The audience last night seemed very familiar with the source material. Lines were being completed. Recognizable things were applauded, especially when "The Sorcerer" introduced the first appearance of "the book".

    Overall, a fun movie and a suitable tribute to the late Douglas Adams.
  6. Adam_S

    Adam_S Producer

    Feb 8, 2001
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy - [​IMG][​IMG]1/2 out of four - recommended with reservations

    The Dolphins (second smartest species on the planet, behind pan-dimensional beings playing a computer game and ahead of humans) sing a farewell ballad and Arthur Dent wakes up to yellow and soon finds himself lying in front of a rather large bulldozer that has the strange and (to Arthur) unwelcome desire to knock down his house*. Ford Prefect shows up profers beer to the work crew and, oddly, doesn't convince the foreman to take Arthur's place lying in front of the bulldozer while Ford takes Arthur for a last-minute-of-the-world beer and peanuts break. Ford take Arthur for a last-minute-of-the-world beer and peanuts break and Arthur whines a bit about losing a girl with really cute eyes to a badly dressed guy with a spaceship pickup line.

    Then the world ends.

    Damn Vogons.

    But it's all okay because some mice got out with Trishia.

    Anyway Arthur soon leaves the Vogon's hospitality and meets up with kidnapped-President Zaphod, Trishia (now Trillian), and Marvin. They meet Humma Kavala and then go to find Deep Thought. Unfortunately, a fiendish screenwriter (or producer, producer's usually have the least imagination for script development and only three or four programmed responses which include, "we gotta improve that third act," "if we hit those character and story beats it'll really work for the third act," "I'm just not feeling the motivation for this, especially in the third act," and "if we punch up the romance element with a plot point it'll really get that third act going") decided to bring the Vogon's back, despite their usefulness having already been used, but since they fill a villain role and therfore provide MOTIVATION and PLOT PROGRESSION they seem to have returned to interfere with the randomness of the narrative by attempting to bestow some sine of order upon it. The Vogans kidnap Trillian and naturally Arthur drags his friends after her in a rescue attempt that involves a dasterdly manipulation of celebrity and a lot of queueing and forms cross referenced in tripicate signed five times by six different people on seven different locations with 49 approval committees and a 600 year wait for cost and ecological impact analysis to come through. This half-of-second-act plot device taken care of, they progress to Magrathea, meet up with a slightly confused sperm whale and disheartened pot of petunias and then get earth back, set everything right and the Vogons magically reappear to progress the plot to an anticlimatic and lame final-exciting-battle-full-of-special-effects-and-a-humorous -resolution (producers--whose philosophy is too few cooks spoil the movie and any change is a good change, especially their own changes to add plot devices that cause conventional narrative elements to occur--again).

    Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a film that throws a lot of humor at you and most of it sticks, especially the stuff invented for the movie, such as Humma Kavala and the trip through the world building floor, and the idea smashers on Vogsphere. About half the jokes from the book work and the whale of course is perhaps the best element of the entire movie. It's a shame the film is marred by Marvin's visual design and a lack of imagination regarding yellow and a non-three-act-script.

    when it succeeds it does so beautifully, but it's a shame it keeps getting mushed into a conformist narrative presentation, as it never fails to diffuse the entire film everytime someone attempts to squish the plot together**

    Still I think those considerations could be improved by turning off the sound on the plotty bits that don't really matter and have random entries from the guide pop up to explain something that also doesn't really matter but is much funnier than Vogons showing up and pretending to be villainous rather than just terrifyingly officious. Afterall one of the funniest moments of the film comes during the credits and is all guide. This could also alleviate some of the tedious digressions allowed for the guide to try to be funny. The guide shouldn't be funny, it's like a footnote you can't help reading, so its a shame it gets a whole separate shot and scene for every moment it exists instead of simply overriding some of the silly plot developments which are all made up and don't really matter anyways.

    In all a satisfying but disapointing experience, but I wouldn't mind watching it again, because it's fun with friends and that song is damn catchy (wonder what they'll do for oscar night?)


    *Arthur's not the bulldozer's. The bulldozer lived rather happily in a large warehouse-like shed with other dozers. Lately, he had been troubled by a strange desire to approach one of the maredozers and ask them for something--he wasn't quite sure what--but he did wish his da was still around because da had said something about the strange changes and feelings that would come with that awkward stage of growing up when bristles start sprouting on the ends of his shovel and his glass tints up whenever someone looks at him a bit funny--especially the mares. Yes it was not easy being a young bulldozer, and all he wanted was to knock down this house so he could get back home slam the door to his room lay on his parking spot and listen to music for four hours while thinking about how the whole world just wasn't fa---[at this point the world ended and the bulldozer's concerns were rather quickly forgotten].

    **which is about as effective as trying to empty the all-ocean planet of Nioctetcavichter (which is ten times the size of our sun but with a density of 1.0000000000000000001) with only spread-eagled fingers and a thimble to splash the water into, no palms allowed)
  7. Dave Hackman

    Dave Hackman Stunt Coordinator

    Jan 11, 2000
    Likes Received:
    People of earth I regret to inform you that this movie is so absurdly bad and over the top that it becomes enjoyable to watch. I read the book years ago and remember basically nothing about it, I think I had a text based computer game about it too.

    This movie reminded me of a less polished perhaps sillier version of Galaxy Quest. I didn’t like Mos Def playing Ford Prefect and I found his performance to be the worst out of all the actors. Martin Freeman played Arthur Dent and isn’t what I envisioned Ford would be/look like but his acting didn’t distract. Trillian played by Zooey Deschanel was pretty good and handled her-self well with a nearly all male cast. I really liked the two-headed guy Zaphod Beeblebrox (Sam Rockwell) and his crazy personality was the only thing that kept me from walking out. The depressed robot Marvin was ok at first but became stupid the more he moped along.

    There are some funny things here and there and you got to be quick to pick them up because this movie never slows down to allow for digesting. Thank god they embraced their silliness because if they didn’t it would be one of the worst movies of all time and definitely time for those involved to panic.

  8. Tim_C

    Tim_C Stunt Coordinator

    Apr 25, 2004
    Likes Received:
    My random thoughts about the movie:

    It wasn't a masterpiece - there's nothing great about the acting, or the script, or the cinematography - but I found it to be enormously entertaining. The dolphin musical number and the sperm whale scenes are worth the price of admission alone. I was surprised to see how many of jokes from the book remained intact for the movie version - though I was still wanting more by the end. It's fast paced enough that if one joke happened to fall flat you were quickly on to the next one. The middle of the film (involving John Malkovich's character) didn't seem quite as funny as the beginning and end, but fortunately it didn't last long enough to seriously hurt the overall humor of the film.

    Be sure to stay until the end of the credits - there's yet another bit from the book read by the narrator (slightly changed.)

    I'll be buying the DVD (if only to repeatedly watch the dolphin scene.) [​IMG]
  9. Kain_C

    Kain_C Screenwriter

    Nov 17, 2002
    Likes Received:
    Here's my review: (SPOILERS!!!)

    Let me preface this review with a story on how I came to know Douglas Adams and the greatness of the wonderful mix of comedy and science fiction that was his work. It all goes back to when our family got it's first computer. This was well over 15 years ago and there was this very perplexing, completely graphics-less text game called The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on it. I was probably about 10 or so, and this game was super challenging because firstly, I was not at all use to playing a text game where you had to type out exactly what you wanted to do and secondly, I didn't even know there was a book much less was I familiar with it's story which was pretty vital to getting around in the game I thought. I managed to get aboard the Vogon ship which looking back now was rather impressive.

    Flash forward a couple of years I suppose, give or take a little. I'm in middle school at a book fair when I spot a book bearing the same title of that damned frustrating game I have! Of course I buy it and eventually buy the second and fourth novel in the series. Why I didn't buy the third one eludes me, but I imagine it just wasn't there to buy. My very smart friend buys the book as well and we read it at the same time. I mentioned the game to him and strangely enough, when we discussed where we were in the novel, we used first-person, like "now the Vogons are reading poetry to me". Why we did that also eludes me and I cannot really even speculate on why we did it.

    Flash forward to nearly a year or so ago. I hear that they are making a film version of the story. With today's technologies, this film could be great I thought, as excitement began bubbling up inside me.

    Flash forward a little more to this review.

    I just recently read the books again, listened a little to the radio play, and saw the 1981 BBC TV series version so the whole magical world of Hitchhiker's is still fresh in my mind. With that being said, it must also be said that the movie utterly fails to capture this world. The world it creates instead is almost entirely, but not completely, unlike the world I know and love from the past incarnations.

    The biggest complaint for me was how much it strayed from the books. I am fully aware of the fact that the brilliant Douglas Adams intentionally changed plot points, events, characters and other things with each new subsequent version, but not changes nearly as drastic as the ones present in this film. It starts off pretty loyal while omitting some minor stuff, but as the plot gets going, things start to diverge rather dismally.

    The biggest change is the overblown romance between Arthur Dent and Trillian. Did they decide that the material in the books was not strong enough so they had to throw in a hackneyed and cliched love story? Yes, later on in the books, there is that type of story, but here it is way too rushed and generic in comparison. I cringed at the new addition. Here are just some of the other changes I can recall: (note this is completely from memory so I may slip up with a detail or bit of chronology)

    - Arthur awakes and checks his NOKIA CELL PHONE to see if a particular character has called him which she hasn't because of something that is revealed later on.
    - The dialogue between Mr. Prosser and Arthur going into detail about just how hidden the plans that called for the demolition of his house are has been tragically reduced. A part of the gag is there, but on it's lonesome totally ineffective and worthless.
    - Instead of Mr. Prosser lying in front of the bulldozer in Arthur's stead, Ford Prefect shows up with beer (!!!) to bribe the construction workers not to knock his house down. That whole dialogue of getting Prosser to take Arthur's place in the book is terrific and a terrible loss.
    - The great line about Ford asking if Arthur is busy while he lies in front of the bulldozer has been omitted.
    - Ford takes Arthur to the pub for some pints despite the fact that Ford, as mentioned, already had beer.
    - The Vogon Prostetnic Jeltz's announcement has been shortened. In the books, there is almost a back and forth dialogue between him and someone on Earth about them not having seen the plans for Earth's demolition located in some other galaxy. The funny parallel between this event and the whole thing with Arthur's house and those plans has been all but eliminated.
    - The Guide's entry (and newly revised entry) on Earth has been eliminated. Shame really, because that was one of my favorite things in the book. Not a "harmless" loss by any means.
    - While on the Vogon Constructor ship, the dialogue between Ford, Arthur, and the guard about trying to persuade the guard to consider a career change has been omitted, also tragically.
    - The part about someone tampering with Zaphod's brain is omitted.
    - During the missile attack on the ship, the whole little tidbit about someone injuring their elbow and the dramatic effect of keeping the 'victim' secret until later on is gone.
    - In the film but definitely not in the books, Trillian gets captured and taken to the Vogon homeworld after the group stops off at the planet home to Humma Kavula, a character created just for this film. Turns out Humma was a running mate of Zaphod who then proceeds to take Zaphod's second head to hold for ransom until they can recover a POV gun. This new addition is not only uninteresting, it's worthless as the plot point is never resolved! Zaphod never gets his second head back and Humma never gets his gun! While the Vogon homeworld (the group goes there to rescue Trillian) is interesting and neatly expounds the whole bureacracy aspect of their race, it was time that could have been used to more accurately translate the book.
    - In the books, there is no portal to whisk them away to somewhere on Magrathea. Arthur and Marvin stay behind to guard the ship and later meet up with Slartibartfast while Ford, Zaphod, and Trillian venture on to eventually meet up with the mice.
    - Vroomfondel and Magikthise are not in this book. That is a shame as well, as the whole bit about "demanding" this and that was very funny.
    - Arthur and Slartibartfast do not ride through Magrathea in some weird cherry-picker thing in the books. It's supposed to be a small "bubble" ship. I don't really have much to complain about here because it's a minor thing.
    - The trigger happy cops that were so humorous in the books are completely gone because the scene where the group runs from the mice is completely altered.
    - In the film, Arthur comes up with what will be used as the ultimate "Question" to the "Answer of Life".
    - The ending is completely different as the group all meets back up on the Earth Mark 2 where the Vogons show up and start shooting. Marvin gets killed, comes back to life, and saves the day when he shoots ALL of the Vogons with the POV gun. In the later books, only Arthur and Ford go to Earth Mark 2 after the spaceship they're on crashes onto it and the only people on it at that time are a form of early man, the survivors of the ship, and Arthur and Ford.

    While Arthur, Ford, Trillian and Marvin are all pretty accurate to their previous incarnations and well acted by the cast, the vital role of Zaphod has been gravely mucked with. With the loss of his second head and therefore one half of his brain which by the way never happens in the books, he has been reduced to a drunken idiot that must be pretty much guided by hand throughout the film. While I really like Sam Rockwell and thought he would be perfect in the role, sadly, a combination of bad writing and overacting ruin the character. He was much closer to the character in Confessions of a Dangerous Mind than this one. All of his charm, wit, and bravado are gone, replaced by a dancing, rambling buffoon prone to pratfalls and other comic idiocies. The newly created Humma Kavula (supposedly created by Adams just for John Malkovich) is a terribly uninteresting character and is a dreadful substitution for the many, more dynamic (and entertaining!) characters left out of this film version.

    Now the film isn't totally terrible. In fact, I don't hate it. Some things they nail, such as the beginning of the film while still on Earth prior to it's destruction. I also like the nods to the BBC series with the magnificent Journey of the Sorcerer theme by The Eagles at the reveal of the Guide, which frankly gave me chills, and the old version of Marvin (from the BBC series) present in the DMV-like area on the Vogon homeworld. The rest of the music is a bit overdone, especially during the scene on the planet where anyone who comes up with an idea gets slapped in the face by some mysterious flyswatter beast that resides in the ground. The film's strongpoint, with a few exceptions, is that it looks magnificent and is wonderfully shot. I liked the design of the giant supercomputer Deep Thought. The 'showroom floor' on Magrathea is magnificent and almost breathtaking. The Vogon homeworld looks like it should and is one of the very few things I liked about the new material. On the other hand, I did not like the design of the Heart of Gold which was described in the books as look like a very sleek shoe. In this, it's a giant ball. While Marvin looks pretty neat, he moves like a small guy in a very plastic costume. Oh wait...

    Most of the "jokes" in the new material are not funny. The whole thread about Humma Kavula and his 'cult' is a good example of that. Some of the jokes in the old material are not really that funny because of the way they're 'told'. Like the part about Zaphod's brain specialist (played by Jason Schwartzman) saying, "Zaphod's just zis guy, you know?" is included, but it's been relegated to almost the background where it drastically loses it's effect. Other jokes are only half told which either diminish their effect or completely kill it. On the otherhand, some jokes, old or new, DID work. I did really like the scene where the group, after the Infinite Probability Drive does it's usual thing, becomes yarn puppets. And the whale scene, one of the most famous scenes in the books, was done with great care, attention, and affection for the material. The graphics for the actual Guide were very well done and humorous as well.

    I think the movie is spot on when it sticks to the books. When it strays, it mostly becomes a muddled unfunny mess. Why they came up with these new ideas instead of using the time it occupies to better adapt the book and portray more of the events in it is something that eludes common sense and decency. The ending is also completely unsatisfying because it is not only vastly different, it doesn't look like it can decide whether to wrap the movie up completely or leave room for a sequel. I think that's the idea. They mention the titular location from the second book, The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, but I don't see any purpose of what it would serve seeing as to how things seem to already be wrapped up by how far they skipped ahead in regards to the ending.

    For a movie, it isn't bad. For a movie about The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, it's pretty bad.

    This is from by blog entry, which can be read in it's entirety here.
  10. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator

    Dec 9, 1998
    Likes Received:
    Real Name:
    This thread is now the Official Review Thread for "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Please post all HTF member reviews in this thread.

    Any other comments, links to other reviews, or discussion items will be deleted from this thread without warning!

    If you need to discuss those type of issues then I have designated an Official Discussion Thread.

  11. JoSAN

    JoSAN Second Unit

    Aug 8, 2004
    Likes Received:
    Short entry: "Mostly crap."

    Somewhat longer entry...

    Okay, the best thing about it was that I had gift certificates so it didn't cost me anything and it only felt like I wasted about an hour watching a mindless TV show.

    With all the flaws throughout - and that awful Disney-fied ending - I find it hard to believe that the producers of this bland endeavor have read the first book. Furthermore, I severely doubt they have even opened books 2, 3 and 4.

    If they had read them they would know that Arthur's soulmate is Fenchurch. Trillian is just someone he barely knew and had failed to pick up in a bar.

    They would know that the Restaurant at the End of the Universe is at the end of time and not at the "other end of the universe".

    They would also know that Earth Mark II was not remade up to the time that it was destroyed. And that Arthur is not the kind of person who would say "Let's have fun and adventure roaming around the galaxy." He roams because he thinks he has no home. The Earth Mark II is still being made and he doesn't know that
    the dolphins saved the Earth

    - as revealed in book 4 - and
    the planet the Vogons blew up was a fake.

    If Slartibartfast plucks a ready-made Earth in its spot, how
    can the real Earth be put back by the dolphins


    They don't even know how to make a movie that is engaging and funny. This movie had zero laughs and one chuckle.

    (Aside: My chuckle was for the scene in which the camera keeps pulling back, ad nauseum, from the Earth just before it is blown up in a parody of Star Wars/Aliens, etc with the "dum-dum dum dum dum" music that always precedes the destruction of something big. The rest of the audience's chuckle was for the whale hitting the ground. Go figure.)

    The producers looked like they were trying to imitate the BBC series more than the book. What with the music from the original show and the cameos of the original Marvin and Arthur. But the movie does such a piss-poor job of it that I intend to go out and buy the series on DVD. It was done infinitely better. The actors could act for one thing. Act and make you laugh. They were so in character. Mos Def didn't capture Ford AT ALL and you'd need a Babel fish in your ear to translate his mumbled lines. And the Humma Kavula character is COMPLETELY POINTLESS and that plot diversion GOES NOWHERE.

    The visuals for the guide in the TV show were perfect and hilarious. The FX of the guide in this movie were pathetic -- they looked like some kid playing around with a colorforms set and a time-lapse camera. Again, the guide entries from the eighties - done nearly a quarter of a century ago - look supremely better.

    The theatre I saw this at advertised: "Don't forget to bring your towel!" I wish I had. Then I could have wrapped it around my head and shielded my senses from this mind-numbingly bad movie.

    And people mention that the opening scene with the dolphins is the best part? That may be so, but you can thank the dolphins for that. Their grace and beauty would help anything, but for a movie the scene it was overly long. (And what are they going to do for the fourth movie, which is called "So Long and Thanks for All the Fish"? What am I saying?? There will never be a fourth movie or any sequels after this!) And Monty Pyhton-like? This movie has been Americanized. All the British wit has been leached out of it. It's like watching the failed pilot "Red Dwarf: USA". Dreadful.

    Rent the BBC show if you want to see the Hitchhiker's Guide. At least that Zaphod has two heads and three arms! (Question: How can Sam Rockwell be brilliant in Galaxy Quest and revoltingly bad in this? Answer: 42. Doesn't work? Well how about -- blame the director and the writers!)

    If you haven't done so already, I recommend you read the books. Except the 5th one, which is crap and non-canonical so you can skip that one. Adams himself admitted to being in a bad mood when he wrote it. He didn't like being known only for Hitchhikers and so killed off all the characters in a ludicrous rage. (Funny, Arthur Conan Doyle tried to do the same to Sherlock Holmes).

    But books 1 to 4 are very good. The first Dirk Gently, too.
  12. David Hill

    David Hill Agent

    Feb 1, 2000
    Likes Received:
    Count me in as someone who disliked the film. So much so, I left after 45 minutes or so.

    The problem for me was the BBC TV series nailed the books so perfectly. Brilliant lines disappeared, or were altered beyond recognition. Others have mentioned some, but I'll repeat the lines about the plans for the bypass being available on some planet. Why was that lost?

    Then the voices - when I heard Alan Rickman was going to be Marvin, I was certain he was going to be perfect. I could hear AR saying 'life, don't talk to me about life' in my head - but what voice/accent did AR choose for the movie? Some nasal whine? And the visual for Marvin - quite why a robot with 'a brain the size of a planet' should translate into a ballooned head was beyond me.

    So a resounding thumbs down - see the TV series.


Share This Page