The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)
My first introduction to Douglas Adams and the Hitchhiker’s Guide came at a pretty young age, probably back in seventh grade when I spent a couple of semesters in the Junior High School Library. I recommend working in your school library as a great way to read a ton of books, but a bad way to avoid getting beaten up. That year I twice ended up lying on the ground outside unconscious… why did they have to force us to wear those damn nerdy “Library Assistant” badges between classes? Still, the head trauma was worth it to discover great books like C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia, or J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit, or yes, the greatness of Douglas Adams in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy.
Now HHG (Which should probably be abbreviated HGG or even HGTTG so why do people insist on HHG as if hitchhiker were more than one word, which it isn’t?) is becoming a movie, though technically not for the first time. There’s still that weird BBC version which I always used to see sitting on the bottom shelf at Blockbuster (before they threw out all their tapes and decided to carry only new release DVDs), a multi-tape set held together with rubber bands and emblazoned with a suspiciously cheap cover, weirdly reminiscent of Monty Python. I never got up the courage to watch it, afraid that it would be as bad as the cover indicated, thus tarnishing my glowing internal vibes for all things HGTTG. I have no such fear of the upcoming 2005 movie, which was written by Douglas Adams (he was putting on the finishing touches right at the moment of his sudden and unexpected death) and has his stamp of approval (posthumously) all over it. You know it has to be good for him to go through all that trouble to send his good wishes from beyond the grave. Psychics aren’t cheap.
The movie is based on the first book in the series, entitled Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, the others being dubbed with confusing and yet incredibly descriptive titles like So Long and Thanks for All the Fish. The first book, as you’ve already figured out by (hopefully) watching the teaser trailer or being mildly literate begins with the end when the Vogans make the Earth go boom. Vogans are these guys from space who build highways. Terra was in the way of their new hyperspace bypass. One Earthling however escapes, and ends up hitchhiking around the galaxy with his trusty towel encountering two-headed aliens with last names like Beeblebrox and incredibly depressed robots named Marvin.
The most heartening thing about the film’s progress in production is their genius casting, in hiring Martin Freeman (The Office) to play our Earthling hero Arthur. The only picture we’ve seen of him in character so far has him in jammies and bathrobe, clutching his trusty towel… and Freeman looks pretty convincing in Arthur’s classic pose. Also on board is Sam Rockwell (Confessions of a Dangerous Mind, Matchstick Men) as the two-headed Zaphod Beeblebrox. No word on whether he’ll be playing both heads, but if there’s anyone with enough energy to play two fast talking, shyster, party-animal heads at once it is definitely him. Better still is the news that Marvin the Robot won’t be yet another boring CGI character. Instead they’ve brought in Warwick Davis and coated him in foam rubber. Foam rubber you say! That’s ridiculous! No, it isn’t, not when you’re hiring Warwick Davis. There’s not a midget in the business who works better in latex than him. With Jim Henson’s Creature Shop on board, he doesn’t need CGI to look good. Better still, he may actually look real instead of like ultra-glossy hyper-real plastic.
Look out for the Garth Jennings (Wait a minute, who the heck is he?) directed Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy to blow the Earth up in 2005 and for more comprehensive (and by that I mean any trailer that shows more than that weird thumbs-up logo) trailers to show up in theaters soon.
MPAA Rating: [ NR ]
Distributor: Buena Vista Pictures, Touchstone Pictures
Release Date: April 29, 2005
Starring: Jerome Blake, John Malkovich, Anna Chancellor, Warwick Davis (Marvin), Mos Def (Ford Prefect), Zooey Deschanel (Trillian), Barry Dowden, Martin Freeman (Arthur), Bill Nighy, Steve Pemberton, Sam Rockwell (Zaphod), Stephen Fry (voice of the guide), Alan Rickman (voice of Marvin), Jason Schwartzman (Gag Halfrunt), Tom Lennon (voice of Eddie the Computer), Kelly Macdonald (reporter), Helen Mirren (voice of Deep Thought)
Directed by: Garth Jennings
Produced by: Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Nick Goldsmith, Jay Roach
Written by: Douglas Adams, Garth Jennings, Karey Kirkpatrick
if you're excited for The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy