The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was the phenomenal science fiction drama book series from excellent author Douglas Adams. It conveyed a very British sarcastic look at an ordinary man swept up into the surreal world of space travel. Later translated into a Radio 4 radio series in the 1970s, it then became a brilliant television series, teaching the world that if you are going to write about science fiction, then the British have the most entertaining and earnest way of looking at it. I remember picking up the books as a child, loving them throughout teenage life and that passion resonated loudly today. So you’d think the 2005 cinematic version, like so many, would leave me disappointed.
When in fact, I loved it.
One of the many reasons that this movie works is because of the cast. Martin Freeman, who (though admittedly may dispel the tagline and now, we believe he can) was perfect as “everyman” Arthur Dent. He is able to convey sarcasm, wit and stress at his events while tackling aliens and a jilted love affair. Freeman is always watchable and turns out a different character every time, and this is no different as he is scorned by intergalactic governments and a girl. That girl being Tricia “Trillian” McMillen. Played by Zoey Deschanel, Trillian is a light-hearted character that yearns for a journey she most definitely gets. Yet Deschanel is able to layer her with this utmost visceral journey and the chemistry between her and Freeman is surprising, yet real. Add the always compelling Mos Def and scene-stealer Sam Rockwell to the mix and it is an enthusiastic and fun cast.
While, in some places, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy may lean more into the formulative British comedy that makes it, in some cases, a bit bland, it soars with its narrative and dialogue. After all, a movie about a book voiced by Stephen Fry and featuring a depressed Alan Rickman robot is not one to be dismissed. Though it was released to mixed criticism, it will definitely lighten any mood on any day. It may not be as faithful to the original canon and tales of Adams' books, it still holds it own against the other adaptations.