08/03/2014

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

scanned DVD case
Film: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Release: 2005, theatrical
Starring: Martin Freeman, Zooey Deschanel, Mos Def
Directed by: Garth Jennings
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: 12 minutes before the Earth is destroyed to make way for an hyperspace bypass, Arthur Dent's home is about to be demolished to make way for a bypass of the amazingly incredibly hugely fantastically ginourmously more mundane variety.

Hans' thoughts:

Before Martin Freeman played the role of hapless hero on a fantastical journey in The Hobbit, he played the role of hapless hero on a fantastical journey. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is the story of the somewhat dimwitted but overall very mundane Mr. Arthur Dent, Mr. Dent is unaware of quite a lot of things one of the more important things he's unaware of is that in 12 minutes his home planet and all that he knows will be completely obliterated by a race of unpleasant aliens with a love for bureaucracy and simple facts. Thankfully for the sake of Mr. Dent another fact he's blissfully unaware of is that his best friend isn't from Earth but actually from a small planet somewhere in the vicinity of Betelgeuse and it just so happens that he has knowledge of the impending doom. The way I wrote all that may seem like a bit of a mushy mess but that's the tone of voice that's used by the ever present narrator (voiced by Stephen Fry) throughout the film. The film is of course, based on the book of the same name written by Douglas Adams. 

The best way to experience the film properly is to take it at face value: A lot of information will be thrown at you rapidly at different points of time and you will be forced to simply accept whatever is happening and go along with it. Very much akin to the attitude of the very English Arthur Dent himself. My planet blew up? Well that's a spot of a bother innit? What do I do now? Oh well no need to rush to much about, about it. That may seem very odd and a bit inhumane but to perfectly honest it feels incredibly liberating. We can't do anything about it so let's not worry about it and worry about the next thing instead. Despite both our main character and the main villains being complete caricatures of modern era European society and the people living in it. This is of course helped by both actors and voice cast doing a really good job at delivering their lines none better though than Alan Rickman voicing Marvin the manic-depressive robot with an abnormally large noggin.

Visually, there's some very pretty stuff in there. The special effects team is in tip top shape (as they well should be) as they treat you to incredible panning shots of planets and the universe surrounding them. Entire civilizations believing the universe will be destroyed by a handkerchief, whales popping into existence. All that weird good stuff tied together nicely by our main characters quest to not die and probably get a cup of tea on the way is brought to life by effects that I feel hold up pretty darn well.  The theme seems to be that life moves on, with all the twists and turns that comes with it and it is a nice message, though a little buried beneath all the stuff going on almost constantly. There's no really quiet moments in the film, as there's just too much at stake at all times. What is going on? Why is it going on? Where is it going? You will probably be a little confused a lot of the time but stick with it because there's some truly great moments in it just waiting to be experienced.
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