I purposely avoided seeing this movie in the theater because I had never read the book. Also, based on the previews I had seen which were not really too revealing, I just figured I might be better of not spending $10 on this film. I was wrong. While certainly not for everybody and definitely “out there”, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is one of those movies that’s almost too smart for it’s own good. People say that American audiences like their films “dumbed down,” and while I know that this movie didn’t make box office miracles happen, $93 million worldwide against a budget of $45 million certainly isn’t anything to snicker about. Also, when you consider that about half of that money was made in the US, maybe us Yanks should be given a bit more credit than we usually are.
In short this film is the journey of Arthur Dent. A man who is taken from earth just before it is blown up to make way for a new intergalactic express route. Then the journey really begins. For some reason this film reminded me of Time Bandits. I know that these movies really are not anything at all alike, I just got that feeling as I screened this movie. I thought that this film was so cleverly done. The humor so slight yet effective that I really wish they would have shown more of this in the trailers for the film. As it was, until I screened this movie, I had no idea what it was about.
Deleted Scenes, Fake Deleted Scenes and Additional Entry Guide
How can you not love a disc that has real deleted scenes and fake deleted scenes? Honestly, unless these were marked off like how they are on the DVD cover, it would be hard to discern which were which. Although, the fake scene which devolves into Sam Rockwell talking on his cellphone about a car is a little over the top. The Additional Entry Guide (while confusing) could no doubt bring this DVD some controversy, especially in today’s rigid, religious climate. Some folks may not care for the joke.
”So Long & Thanks For All The Fish” Sing Along, “Making Of” and Marvin’s Hangman Game
”So Long & Thanks For All The Fish” is song about the world blowing up, set to a montage of Dolphins with the words to song going across the screen. There is even a dolphin as a pointer so you know where you are in the song at all times. This “Making Of” isn’t typical, only because some of the actors talking don’t give the typical “actor” answers (especially Sam Rockwell). They seem to be having a lot of fun without giving us the “stock” comments so many performers are known for. “Marvin’s Hangman Game” has Marvin come apart if you pick the wrong letter to try and put together a word in this “space aged” game of hangman.
Audio Commentary Tracks
The first commentary track is with Director Garth Jennings, Producer Nick Goldsmith, Actors Martin Freeman and Bill Nighy. This was a lot of fun mainly because there were so many people in the room, and nobody was being too serious actually. I think that since a lot of the actors in the movie are so good with comedy, getting together like this to watch the film had to be sort of a comedic free for all. The second commentary was with Executive Producer Robbie Stamp, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy author Douglas Adams and colleague Sean Solle. This commentary wasn’t as funny. Not that these people acted like stuffed shirts, they just seemed to bring a more serious angle to the screening of this film.
Widescreen - 2.35:1. This movie has very top notch special FX. So much so that they seem almost seamless when integrated into the movie as a whole. In fact, how they made such a big, FX-laden movie with only $45 million dollars in today’s studio economy is beyond me. Yet, here it is, all up on the screen and this movie looks state of the art. Sure, things are wacky and not everything looks amazing, but I don’t think that it’s supposed to. This film seems to take the whole notion of taking anything seriously and seriously turns it on it’s ear.
Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound. THX-Certified - Includes THX Optimizer. French and Spanish Language tracks. French and Spanish subtitles. The audio for this movie was outstanding. Even coming out of my one speaker system, I was really impressed with how good the audio was. In fact, I only had to turn the sound up about halfway on my system in order to achieve the results I did. It makes sense that a movie called The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, would be outfitted with such great sound specs.
Arthur Dent and Marvin walk through space together with the earth on their left and constellations of sorts on their right. With a tiny dolphin put on the front for good measure, this movie looks a little weird. And it is, but the lesson I learned is that maybe in that weirdness is where really interesting things happen. The back features Dent, Ford Prefect, Trillian and Zaphod Beeblebrox. There is a well written description as well (although this doesn’t make the movie seem any less out there), a large bonus features listing, technical specs and a credits list. Fans of the movie will love this. The uninitiated might still stay away. Such is life in the DVD galaxy.
I have seen The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy book since I was a young boy going to computer swap meets. I used to look at the cover book but I never had any clue what it was about. Now I know, but I can’t imagine how it would read. Actually, I have no idea how in the world they were able to get a screenplay from it. This movie was just so different than anything I have ever seen, it was almost jarring at first because I wasn’t really used to this type of humor. Once I settled in and just went with the film, Ford Prefect, Humma Kavula and everything else just started to make sense.
As I said, this movie isn’t for everyone. It isn’t because it’s so “intelligent” it’s just that it’s very freewheeling. A lot of times, this movie had a feel as if it was trying to move in every direction at once. Most of the time, this worked. When it didn’t it wasn’t too noticeable, but I could see how some viewers may not want to take this journey. I didn’t at first, right?
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was released April 28, 2005.