Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

By Murray Bourne, 21 Feb 2007

Summary Review

I enjoyed the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV series in the 1980s. My favourite character was Marvin, the manic-depressed robot. I missed the movie when it was in the theatres and I managed to see it on DVD recently.

Hitch Hiker’s cover

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy began life as a radio series, then a series of books, was adapted for TV and then was released as a movie in 2005.

The promise of an "answer to the meaning of life, the universe and everything" pressed a button for me. I recall the buildup leading to the revelation of the answer:

42

was better in the TV series. It was over too early in the movie. In fact, much of the story seemed to be chopped out of the movie, making it a bit disjointed.

Anyway, the "So long, and thanks for all the fish" chorus (by the dolphins early on in the movie) was very funny.

Several of the effects were good, especially John Malkovich’s torso-only scene where he moves the length of a dining table and steps off, all on tiny mechanical feet.

Marvin was not as genuinely depressed in the movie, compared to the TV version, but he was still a great character.

Like all good science fiction, it encourages the viewer to reflect on our own society (the officious and bureaucratic Vogons, for whom following the rules is the only important daily activity; the destruction of homes for the sake of progress; animal intelligence and welfare; the Big Picture; where we come from; who is really in charge; and so on.)

The story includes the Babel Fish, which is a small fish that you can place in your ear and you can then understand what everyone (and every animal) is saying to you. The online translation service Babelfish adopted this name.

Overall, H2G2 is a clever piece of intelligent British comedy, and it was enjoyable to experience the inanity of it again.

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