The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

hitchhikersDirector Garth Jennings mimics Ivan Reitman’s style, and sick humor down to every particular inch, and until I read up on this film, I’d convinced myself Reitman directed this. For a film that starts off with a musical number involving fleeing Dolphins singing “So long and thanks for all the fish!”, it’s obvious you’re going to get something new. I thought the dolphins would be CGI and animated, but having the song play while stock footage of Dolphins run on a loop is further proof of that not taking itself too seriously hypotheses. And its hard to hate something that sports a cast like John Malkovich, Sam Rockwell, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel, and Alan Rickman, it’s hard to go wrong, and I had fun.

The world has just ended. A construction team of the intergalactic proportion has decided Earth is in its way, and it has to be demolished. Arthur Dent, a man whose home is about to be demolished, witnesses this horrifying event, and hitches a ride aboard the construction ship with his hobo friend Ford. There, they basically experience giant aliens named the Vorgans intent on making them suffer through bad poetry, and are picked up by the galaxy’s president and his sexy assistant Trillion. And let’s not forget Marvin. It’s really hard to dislike a movie that has the always funny Martin Freeman in it, I mean even “Da Ali G Movie” was still watchable mainly because of Freeman whose comedic timing is just skillful. As Arthur, who spends most of the film in his pajamas and bathrobe, Freeman attacks the character with his usual inept befuddlement that made him such a fan favorite in “The Office” and he’s memorable.

He’s a great reluctant hero, and I just enjoy Mos Def in basically about anything he’s in. But perhaps my favorite was Marvin the Paranoid Android. Alan Rickman is hilarious as the manic depressive robot who’s like an intergalactic incarnation of Eeyore. “Hitchhiker” is a fun, and weird film that I just enjoyed most of the time, and with Fry’s hilarious narration, it’s just an odd movie fit for kids and adults alike. “Hitchhiker” for all it basically promises in terms of potential and stock in comedy, really does manage to fall immensely flat more times than not. As a prospect I was expecting to be my introduction in to the “Hitchhiker” canon, it was basically an underwhelming and utterly bland venture that never impressed me. Even with great special effects and a great cast, it was still an empty, and void experience that I took nothing away from. I–as possibly many newcomers–was left in the end thinking “Is that all there is?”

I never really saw what the big deal was, and sadly, the filmmakers and weak script really don’t seem to do the story justice. “Hitchhiker’s” is never as great as it could be, and throughout the entire lame-brained story, and utterly boring “adventures”, I just didn’t see what all the hullabaloo was concerning this science fiction story. Sure, many of the fans have deemed this an abomination with many liberties taken, and if that’s so, then it’s been taken in to consideration, but that doesn’t excuse its often nonsensical plot line. It rambles on and on with a boring villain, a confusing story, lame characters, and a very weak uninspired romance that just felt immensely tacked on. It’s as if during the reading of the complete screenplay some hack ordered that there be some romance plot within the folds of the journey. For what reason, I’m not sure, but the romance is utterly weak.

Zooey Deschanel and Freeman have zero chemistry, they’re plot comes to mind every so often when the actual action dies down and I could care less what happened between then. I just didn’t care, and why the writers felt they needed to include such a contrived device was tired. Meanwhile, the characters just never go beyond their concepts. They’re one-dimensional and one-dimensional is how they remain long after the film ends. Arthur is an Earthling out of his territory. Prefect is an intergalactic hitchhiker. Marvin is bipolar. Trillion is smart, but sexy, and sassy. That’s really all we need to know, and that’s really all they tell us, and there’s nothing about their personalities that we take away in the end. Though often very limp and weak, and stale in many plot elements, “Hitchhiker’s” can also be pretty funny and pretty clever. And it helps that they have Martin Freeman and other assorted talents on board. While it won’t win any awards, it’s fun as a time killer.