The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy


Don’t Panic!


The movie begins with the narrator (voiced by Stephen Fry) quoting the 23rd chapter of the original book, explaining that dolphins, the second most-intelligent mammals on Earth (humans being the third and mice being the first), have been trying to warn mankind about the impending destruction of Earth. Their backflips and swimming patterns, according to the Guide, are their way of communicating with humans. Humans, however, interpreted their warnings as amusing attempts to whistle for tidbits or punch footballs. Considering their mission a failure, the dolphins decide to leave, after passing their final message So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish. (This was misinterpreted as an attempt to do a double-backflip somersault through a hoop while whistling The Star-Spangled Banner.)

One morning, waking to the sound of bulldozers encroaching upon his house, Arthur Dent realizes that his home is going to be destroyed to build a highway bypass. He tries to prevent the destruction of his home by lying in the path of the bulldozers. His attempts are interrupted by his friend Ford Prefect, who persuades Arthur to accompany him to the local pub, where he reveals that he is actually an alien from the region of Betelgeuse (and not from Guildford after all). Arthur nonchalantly comments “Well, that explains the accent.”

When Ford first came to Earth, he thought that cars were the dominant life form (which explains his name, Ford Prefect, a popular British Car) and tried to shake a moving one’s hand. Arthur pulled him out of the road before he was run over. As a favour for saving his life, Ford rescues Arthur from certain death when the Earth is demolished by the Vogons to make way for a hyperspace expressway. They hitchhike aboard a Vogon ship, where they discovered and tortured by being made to listen to Vogon poetry (the third-worst in the universe). Although Ford is visably affected, Arthur expresses his admiration. The Vogons throw them out of the ship anyway.

They are rescued by the Heart of Gold. The ship was stolen by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, accompanied by Tricia McMillan, now calling herself Trillian, and Marvin the Paranoid Android.

Aboard the ship, Zaphod reveals his intention to visit the planet Magrathea using the Heart of Gold, which he stole for this purpose. He introduces the other characters to the story of the Ultimate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, via a Magrathean data archive cube. Long ago, the people of Magrathea built the ultimate supercomputer, Deep Thought, to learn the Ultimate Answer. After seven and a half million years of pondering, the computer declared that the Answer was “forty-two”, and explained that the Ultimate Answer didn’t make sense to them because no one knew exactly what the Ultimate Question was, an even more mysterious truth that even Deep Thought wasn’t powerful enough to figure out. Deep Thought then told the people about an even more advanced computer which could be built which could ask the Ultimate Question. The recording ends, however, before the new computer’s name could be announced.

They take a detour, however, when they encounter the planet of Viltvodle VI, home of the Jatravartids and Humma Kavula, who was Zaphod’s opponent in the election for President of the Galaxy. Kavula has a small red cube that contains the coordinates to Magrathea, and offers it to Zaphod in exchange for a gun (the Point-of-view gun) that can be found near Deep Thought. Kavula requires a “hostage” in order to ensure that Zaphod will complete the quest, and removes Zaphod’s second head (which is turned into a hula dancer bobblehead). Zaphod appears to lose the function of his third arm, suggesting that it was controlled by his second head.

During their departure from Viltvodle VI, Trillian is captured by the Vogons and brought to their homeworld, Vogsphere. Arthur, Ford, and Zaphod go to the Vogon homeworld and try to rescue Trillian. Upon stepping off their ship they briefly encounter subterraneous fauna that attack people who exhibit original thought by slapping them in the face, which they manage to evade once they reach an urban area. The excessive bureaucracy associated with many governing bodies is parodied when they are confronted by the amount of red tape that they must forge through to rescue Trillian.

As Trillian is processed, she learns of the destruction of the Earth, which Arthur had not told her about. She also learns that Zaphod was the one who absent-mindedly signed the demolition order for Earth (thinking it was an autograph request, he signed it “Love & Kisses, Zaphod”). Arthur, Zaphod, and Ford manage to fill out the appropriate Presidential Prisoner Release forms to have Trillian released just before she is fed to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.Then the crew escapes Vogsphere.

Throughout the film, the Vogons remain in pursuit of Zaphod and the Heart of Gold, at the behest of the Galactic Vice-President Questular Rontok who wishes to “rescue” the President from his abductor (Zaphod abducted himself when he stole the Heart of Gold). The Heart of Goldheads for Magrathea. Zaphod, Trillian, and Ford meet Deep Thought and learn that the computer which could tell the Ultimate Question was in fact Earth itself, with the actions of all the creatures upon it part of the calculation. Arthur, having lost the others, meets a man named Slartibartfast, and learns of Earth’s true origin and how Slartibartfast worked for a company where planets like Earth were custom made, and even won an award for building the coasts of Norway. While touring the Magrathean Planet Factory Floor, Arthur is introduced to the Earth Mark II, a backup copy. He is eventually led to a perfect recreation of his home in England.

Meanwhile, beneath Deep Thought, Zaphod, Trillian, and Ford find the Point-of-view gun, the object sought by Humma Kavula. According to the Guide, it was built by Deep Thought for a council of angry housewives who were tired of ending arguments by complaining to husbands that “you just don’t get it, do you?” When fired, the Point-of-view gun causes the target to experience the point of view of the wielder. Trillian uses it to make Zaphod understand her conflicting feelings about their relationship.

Back at Arthur’s house, Arthur is reunited with Ford, Zaphod and Trillian, who are busy enjoying a lavish meal provided by the mice. But it is a trap to enable the mice to restrain Arthur and extract his brain, as it was one of the only components left from the Earth after its demolition, and is believed to have the Ultimate Question in it. Faced with his demise, Arthur finally expresses his love for Trillian, breaks free from his restraints, and squishes the mice with a teapot. The flattened mice morph back into the representatives of the builders of Deep Thought before fading out of Earth’s dimension.

The heroes exit Arthur’s house, only to find themselves surrounded by a battalion of Vogon soldiers, who try to kill them. While Zaphod attempts to operate Arthur’s “spaceship” (which is in fact just a caravan), Arthur and Trillian try to retrieve the dropped Point-of-view gun, but are forced to use the caravan as cover from the wild hail of fire the Vogons direct at them. Being the worst shots in the universe though, they don’t hit a thing. Marvin goes to catch up with the rest, but he is hit in the back of the head by a Vogon blast. Just as it seems that they are doomed, Marvin reactivates and picks up the nearby Point-of-view gun. He fires, hitting all of the Vogons and exposing them to his perspective on life; they all instantly become incredibly depressed and collapse.

As the depressed Vogons are taken away and the final touches are applied to Earth Mark II, Slartibartfast asks Arthur if there is anything that the new Earth could do without; Arthur replies, “Yeah, me.” Earth’s life cycle is restarted just as it was before the Vogons demolished it, and the movie ends with Arthur and his companions, Rontok in tow, reboarding the Heart of Gold, bound for The Restaurant at the End of the Universe, briefly heading towards the other end, which results in the ship making the sound of screeching brakes and turning around. This is a minor flaw, for Marvin states, “the restaurant is at the other end of the universe,” while the restaurant is at the end of time, not the end of space.


This is my kind of movie. Nothing serious about it, just pure fun. Zooey Deschanel doesn’t hurt things either!

The film is based on a series of books. I’ve read them a few times. As with most movies based on literature, there are a few differences, some which should not have been changed, but I think, as a whole they did a good job.

My only complaint with the film is that a sequel has yet to be made, especially with all the actors already signed, but Hollywood is all about how much money a movie makes, not pleasing the fans.

So long, and thanks for all the fish!

5 out of 5 stars


One Response to “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”

  1. […] again, no matter what mood they are in or how good or bad the film is. One of these films for me is The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. I loved the book and the film, while a bit of a departure from the source is ranked among my all […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: