Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

This movie is a colossal inside joke. If you've never read the book(s) your eyes will enjoy the flashy flashy, and you might get a few yuks but it will be *really* difficult to appreciate the full spectrum of Douglas Adams' wackiness. For example, about a third of the way through my better half announced "I don't get it" and set off to bed. He's not a sci-fi geek and so a sci-fi spoof was a reach for him.

The Guide centers around a sad sack British guy named Arthur Dent who is rescued from certain death by a friend he didn't know was an extraterrestrial named Ford Prefect. Ford does so by hitching a ride on a space freighter just seconds before earth is destroyed. (Since everyone has read the book this is not a spoiler, I hope). Arthur, Ford and shipmates Trillian, Zaphod Beeblebrox and Marvin the Robot begin having adventures in a spaceship named The Heart of Gold.

The Hitchhiker's Guide provides useful tips in the spirit of The Lonely Planet guides - geared towards the worn-heeled traveler using less well-beaten paths. For example, the guide recommends that a towel is an immensely useful item to keep with you while traveling. I admit I had one stuffed in my backpack at all times when I was an exchange student. It makes a nice pillow on a rattling train to Portugal and a nice beach blanket once you get there. But most of the tips are just plain kooky and hysterical.

I knew I would find this movie funny but my laugh out loud moments really surprised me. Mos Def played Ford and he was so straight - just spot on with the humor it killed me. And Sam Rockwell as Zaphod just about put me away. He had the whole Vince Neil rockstar thing going on - bleached blond rock and roll hair, and an "I'm fabulous," groupies welcome, ditzy personality. I cracked up.

Super hardcore Hitchhiker fans were shaking in their boots about this film worried that it would get screwed up. But it did not disappoint and I could see the franchise easily continuing. I hope they keep getting it right.

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