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THE HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (WIDESCREEN EDITION) (2005)

 



The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Widescreen Edition) (2005)

Starring: Bill Bailey, Anna Chancellor, Warwick Davis, Mos Def, Zooey Deschanel
Director: Garth Jennings
Region: 1 (U.S. and Canada only)
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Number of discs: 1
Run Time:
109 minutes

DVD Features:

  • Available Subtitles: Spanish, French
  • Available Audio Tracks: English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), French, Spanish
  • Commentary by: Executive producer and Douglas Adams' Colleague Sean Solle
  • Commentary by: producer and actors
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Fake Deleted Scenes (Way, way too-far-out outtakes)
  • "The Making of The Hitchiker's Guide to the Galaxy"
  • Additional Guide Entry
  • Sing-Along
  • Set-top game: Marvin's Hangman


Movie:
Disc:


One day the Earth is destroyed by aliens to make way for a new hyperspace bypass. The only survivor is an ordinary Brit by the name of Arthur Dent, who ten minutes before the planet gets blown up, discovers that his best friend is in fact an undercover alien.

Together - armed with only their towels and a multimedia book named the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy which has the words Don't Panic written on it in large friendly letters - they hitch an intergalactic ride and embark on a whacky adventure involving everything from uber-intelligent white mice to the answer to Life, the Universe and Everything.

The story is of course Douglas Adams' the Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy. It started off as a radio show on the BBC in the late 1970s and went on to a huge cult popularity (isn't that an oxymoron?) with Adams' novelization of the script and the four books that followed.

If you, like me, have overdosed on the whole Hitchhikers' Guide to the Galaxy phenomenon over the decades: you've seen the BBC TV series, you've read the novelizations, you've listened to the original radio show, bought the coffee table books, etc; then you'll probably be wondering why exactly you should go see this big screen Hollywood adaptation. After all, what's the point of hearing a joke if you already know the punch-line?

Anyway, I'm happy to report that the big screen version of Hitchhikers' Guide has enough to offer even the most jaded Douglas Adams junkie. It retells the story with enough creativity and imagination to make one feel that one is watching something unique and fresh.

The designs - from the spaceships to the Gerald Scarfe-inspired aliens - are all done quite interestingly and clever. Also, some of the storytelling angles are quite novel. The movie also structures Adams' tale better by trying to enforce a plot onto the proceedings (to be honest the novelizations have always felt like a clothesline onto which Adams can peg his jokes and one-liners). It also takes a few subplot detours not found in any of the novels too.

These attempts to freshen up the plot aren't always successful (some subplots are never resolved - I suppose one has to wait for the sequels then), but for the die-hard Hitchhikers' fan there is enough going on to warrant checking it out. Besides, that theme song ("So long and thanks for all the fish") is just a hoot!

THE DISC: In the comic spirit of the original source material, the disc has some cute extra features - some simply weird and others quite fun, like the "fake" deleted scenes which restores some of Adams' more risqué metaphysical jokes.

WORTH IT? For the Hitchhikers' Guide newbie, the movie might not be the ideal place to start. If you're new to the whole cult phenomenon, then reading the novels beforehand would be preferable. For the newcomer the movie would probably be too bewildering. The movie's comic mistiming also blows some of the better one-liners while some of Adams' more controversial stuff (usually of a religious nature) is simply left out.

RECOMMENDATION: A good attempt at adapting the novels to the full-length movie format. Fans should check it out.


 



 

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