Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA/United Kingdom, 2005. Touchstone Pictures, Spyglass Entertainment, Everyman Pictures, Hammer & Tongs. Screenplay by Douglas Adams, Karey Kirkpatrick, based on the novel by Douglas Adams. Cinematography by Igor Jadue-Lillo. Produced by Gary Barber, Roger Birnbaum, Jonathan Glickman, Nick Goldsmith, Jay Roach. Music by Joby Talbot. Production Design by Joel Collins. Costume Design by Sammy Sheldon. Film Editing by Niven Howie.
The perfect combination: the British dream it up and the Americans pay for it, and all movies should be made this way. Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) wakes up to discover that bulldozers are preparing to demolish his house to make way for a road bypass. Minutes later, the earth itself is on the verge of destruction because an alien race plans to destroy it in order to create an intergalatic bypass. The human race was supposed to know that this would happen, but unfortunately we mistook the warnings we were receiving from dolphins as simply a desire to do back flips in a Sea World pool. Thankfully, Arthur’s best friend (Mos Def, in a scene-stealing performance) is an alien who helps the two of them escape before the world comes to a complete end. Hitching a ride with some very surly aliens, they wander through space and into the ship of the President of the Galaxy (Sam Rockwell) and his girlfriend (Zooey Deschanel), the only other remaining human besides Arthur who is still alive. The journey they go on through the universe, with Arthur still in his bathrobe and jammies, is one peppered with clever commentary about bureaucratic, soulless governments and the fruitless quest for the meaning of human existence. It’s also incredibly witty, wonderfully acted and brightly lit with beautiful visual effects and memorable dialogue. Based on the novel by Douglas Adams, which has become a major cult favourite since its publication in 1978, this Guide probably won’t please all fans of the book, but it will at least remind them of the spirit of the work that they loved so much in the first place.