Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Rating:

Don’t Throw In The Towel!

Main Cast: Martin Freeman, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel

Director: Garth Jennings

I have it on good authority not to panic, even under critical danger. So I kept that in mind as I walked into the theater to watch the latest incarnation of Douglas Adams’ classic sci-fi hit. Fortunately I didn’t have a reason to bolt in fear, although a few pieces of the shoehorned plot left me cold.

The plot? Well, apparently the Earth is in the way of an interstellar bypass and has to be destroyed. Just one of those things. Our “hero”, a human named Arthur Dent (Freeman), is blissfully unaware of the planet’s demise. He has more important matters: the destruction of his own house. To make room for a bypass. As he is lying in front of the bulldozer his friend, Ford Prefect (Def), hurries over and drags him up and away. They are to go to the pub and drink beer and munch peanuts. Arthur does go, and Ford admits he isn’t really from Earth. And the planet is about to be destroyed. At that point Arthur’s house is, and Ford has to rescue him… and hitch a ride. Off Earth.

This is just the beginning of Arthur’s adventures. Unwilling at the best of times, he meets up with the President of the Galaxy, a wacky and clueless Zaphod Beeblebrox (Rockwell). Also a young human female named Trillian (Deschanel), who Arthur knew as “Trish” and tried, and failed, to woo her earlier at a party.

All this moves along at breakneck pace as they zoom from one planet to another, apparently searching for the answer (or is it the question?) to Life, the Universe, and Everything. But that really doesn’t matter: this is a comedy, first and foremost. Situations from the books are lined up and zinged off at a frantic pace. A delight is Marvin (voiced by Alan Rickman), a maniac-depressive robot who trails along behind the group and offers pithy comments.

Bottom line: will some of the purists dismiss this? Sure. But if you are only a casual watcher, or even know nothing of the books, I think you’ll have a good time.

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