The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy
– for thematic elements, action and mild language.
Director: Garth Jennings
Starring: Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Sam Rockwell
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Theatrical Release Date: April 29, 2005
Don’t Panic… Stick out your thumb to join the most ordinary man in the world on an extra-ordinary adventure across the universe in the hilarious comedy, The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Earthman Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) is having a very bad day. His house is about to be bulldozed, he discovers that his best friend is an alien and to top things off, Planet Earth is about to be demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. Arthur’s only chance for survival: hitch a ride on a passing spacecraft. For the novice space traveler, the greatest adventure in the universe begins when the world ends. Arthur sets out on a journey in which he finds that nothing is as it seems: he learns that a towel is just the most useful thing in the universe, finds the meaning of life, and discovers that everything he needs to know can be found in one book: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. (from HitchhikersMovie.com)
You should know the drill by now. This a review for a film based on a book I’ve never read. With that said, let’s take a look at 2005’s sci-fi adventure The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy…
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is a sci-fi comedy like few out there. Stuffed til overflowing with zany humor, bizarre situations, and colorful characters, Hitchhiker’s is the product of a vivid imagination and clever writing. Based on the idea that there’s much more
to life on Earth than what we know of (sort of like a tripped-out concept of the alien universe in Men In Black), Hitchhiker’s removes a solitary British man from the comforts of his home (which is about to be demolished) and places him in some of the strangest situations imaginable. Arthur Dent, performed with the perfect amount of bewilderment by Brit Martin Freeman, is pretty much sharing his experience with the audience. As this new and expansive universe unfolds before him, it does for us too, so Dent is our ideal guide. Ah, and then there’s the film’s quirky little book that the story revolves around — an actual animated book called The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. This is from where some of the film’s most unique ideas and theories are pulled from and from where some potentially offensive material, if taken too seriously, can also be found.
The Hitchhiker’s Guide kind of leaves God out of the picture. While He’s referenced maybe only a few times, it’s really only to kind of acknowledge that what we believe isn’t really what is real. Now, before you go writing Hollywood, Congress, your local cinema, or the film’s director, there’s very little about this film that takes itself seriously (if anything at all). Hitchhiker is a science fiction comedy in every meaning of the term and heavily influenced by British humor (those familiar with British humor, at this point, can sort of nod their heads and pass on any further clarifications). Fans of the humor of Monty Python will most likely appreciate the explanations of the origins of life and the lunacy behind certain plot elements as no more than just silly humor. However, it’s scenes like a sort of church service where many “bless you’s” are attributed to nasal jokes than divine blessings, that will ride the line of offensive material for some. When revelations about mankind’s origins are made, sadly, God is left out of the equation entirely. Finally, many of the aliens go as far as to refer to Arthur as “ape man” because they believe man originated from monkeys.
All potentially offensive lighthearted humor aside, the film’s energy and plot is literally all over the place. It’s mostly a fast-paced, involved story, only occasionally hitting a few slow rough spots once we venture out into space and get the main plot moving forward. Because Hitchhiker’s Guide possesses its own philosophy and interpretation of the universe existing outside planet Earth, every scene
is throwing out so many jokes and new ideas to digest that there’s no way to take it all in in one sitting. And once the film came to somewhat of an abrupt end, I found myself somewhat overwhelmed by what I just saw. Not every joke hits its target, but there’s so much character in Hitchhiker’s presentation, that even if the humor isn’t your taste, you have to appreciate its creativity and strict attention to details.
Only minor language can be found in The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy, with some subtle adult humor and mild violence. Some of the aliens in the film may be a bit intense for the younger viewers while one particular moment of violence involves a “second head” being sawed out of a body and removed (which we only see in a shadow silhouette on a wall, but its remains rather intense nonetheless).
The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy is a fine sci-fi comedy that borders on being a good family film, but remains rough around the edges in certain respects. Imaginative, inventive, and often wonderfully silly (the opening three minutes are brilliant), The Hitchhiker’s Guide may just be one of those films that will just get better with age.
– John DiBiase, (reviewed: 5/2/05)
Parental Guide: Content Summary
Sex/Nudity: We see Zaphod and Trillian in very small shorts (which may end up being underwear when Zaphod asks Trillian if she’s wearing his because he is wearing hers); We see a head and shoulders shot of Trillian taking a shower. All possible nudity is blocked by the shower doors, but nothing sensual is intended by the scene.
Vulgarity/Language: 4 “h*ll,” 1 “a” word, 1 “d*mn,” 3 “G-d”
Alcohol/Drugs: Ford brings a shopping cart of beer to some demolition workers; Ford takes Arthur to a bar when he guzzles a couple glasses of beer, encourages Arthur to drink up due to the world ending in minutes and buys everyone a round of drinks; Some other random drinks are seen being had during the film.
Blood/Gore: When Humma Kavula removes his glasses, we see that his eyes are actually projections on his glasses and creepy, black holes are in place where his eyes should be; We see half of Humma Kavula’s body rise from his chair with little mechanical, robotic legs and arms protrude to carry it across a table; We see a shadowy silhouette of “second head” being sawed out of a body with a large rotary saw, removed (with the shape of hair or some fleshy parts possibly dangling from it), and placed (alive) on a hula doll; Finally, although neither bloody nor gory, a man’s head is almost sawed into by two small buzz saws but it doesn’t happen.
Violence: Mostly cartoonish styled violence.