The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

The film adaptation of Douglas Adam’s classic and humorous sci fi novel, featuring Martin Freeman as the harrassed Arthur Dent, Mos Def as cool customer Ford Prefect, Zooey Deschanel as the brilliant and beautiful Trillian, and Sam Rockwell as the one and only Zaphod Beeblebrox.

Pros: The screen adaptation remains true to the principal characters’ personalities (dual for Zaph) and has the essential elements of Deep Thought, the hideous Vogons, the Babel fish, Slartibartfast and Marvin, complete with a “Genuine People Personality.”  It also includes a cute goodbye in singing style from the dolphins.  It’s been a while since I read all the books, but I think they’ve combined elements from some of the other books, and I know they’ve given it a more upbeat and punchy plot by cutting out the more ironic bits.  They kept a lot of funny lines, many of which have been included in this list of memorable quotes, over at IMDb.

Cons:  It’s not nearly as funny as the books.  They just had to skim and jump around so much that pieces got lost in the shuffle.  Some are just small things, like Ford and Arthur’s attempt to talk the young Vogon of the “resistance is useless” line into seeing their point of view, and the bit about how the Babel fish’s interpretive power *causing* so many wars (because people knew exactly what each other were really saying), and the whole bit about why the bowl of flowers which had formerly been a missile thought ‘oh no, not again!’ upon meeting its death.  But the small but quirky bits of the book is what makes it so funny, and it just didn’t all adapt to screen.

Overall:  It’s still pretty funny, and it’s clean enough the kids can watch it too.  Ours loved it, although they were puzzled and kept piping up with questions most the way through.  I’d give it three and a half, maybe four stars, and recommend it as a good show for the family to watch when the holidays need to slow down. 

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