Review: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Last night I went with most of the Fools and some other friends to go see Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy on opening night. As any self-respecting geek would, I did bring along a towel. Some of the harder-core geeks even wore a bathrobe, which I thought was a nice touch. My towel did come in handy several times that night. For example, I was able to properly dry my hands after using the restroom, and it makes a reasonable makeshift weapon when some people wouldn’t stop singing the intro song to the movie when leaving.

Oh yeah, the movie. So how was it, you ask?

In short, it’s not as good as the book, but it’s still a pretty good movie in its own right.

For the most part, the spirit of the movie, if not the plot itself, is pretty faithful to the source material; even the parts that weren’t in the book still feel Hitchhiker-ish. However, even if you haven’t read the book (and if you haven’t, why?), you’ll be able to identify where the movie deviates, since those parts don’t fit together as well as the other parts do. Often you can see the seams where they got stiched in to the rest of the story.

Since part of the fun of the book is the descriptions of various things as found in the titular Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy carried around by the characters, you may wonder how the movie handles those. At appropriate times throughout the story, the Guide will come in and narrate its entries for, say, Vogons, or Improbability Drive, with an accompanying animation. It works pretty well, though the introduction of the Guide itself is a bit much, and naturally a narrated Guide entry doesn’t flow into the structure of the movie as well as it does in the book.

Although many of the same scenes and ideas from the book appear in the movie, sometimes things get cut off at odd times. For example, Slartibartfast tells Arthur how lab mice were experimenting on us instead of the other way around, but skips over why that’s the case. Since it’s only another line or two of dialog to finish the idea, it’s odd how the movie doesn’t follow through. There’s a few other instances where some of the “good part” of a scene gets gutted for no apparent reason, even though the setup is left intact. It doesn’t derail the movie or anything, but it is a minor disappointment for fans of the book to have a memorable line inexplicably absent.

Nevertheless, Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy still makes a good movie that’s worth seeing. You probably won’t be disappointed, but do yourself a favor and read the book too.

Which reminds me, I ought to unborrow my copy of it from my sister next time I’m home….

One Response

  1. Hmm…well, I’m currently reading it so you may have to wait to unlend it :)
    I’m almost done with the first book and I’m actually understanding it and liking it. I guess motivation of a bet with my brother helped a little bit too *g*

    That reminds me, when are you coming home so I know when the first book needs to be done by?

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