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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – Movies with Mikey

Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a 1984
text adventure game from Infocom. Wait.
That’s not right. Right? Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a 2005
film directed by GARTH JENNINGS. Wait. He gets a Movies with Mikey songy thingy? Why
does he get a … MwM? What has he done? JACK SHIT.
Other than Hitchhiker, the only thing even worth mentioning was the 2007 Son of Rambow.
But Hitchhiker is a film I would generally call a do-over, insofar that not everything
seemed to go right and this is just kind of the film we’re stuck with, yeah, I said
stuck with. What I mean by this, is Douglas Adams, aka British God, contributed to the
screenplay for this greatly before his death in 2001. There will never be another screenplay
that he personally adapted, nor will there ever be a film that he gave more of himself
of trying to get off the ground. And yes, I understand that he wrote 6 episode of the
BBC show, technically, as they were based on the radio plays and John Lloyd wrote at
least one of those radio shows, but those weren’t much other than pretty direct tellings
of the source material. Which is halfway beside the point because
my actual handy dandy thesis for this film is thus:
We needn’t compare things and choose winners, be they sequel, reboot, prequel or NyQuil,
as the point of art should not be to rank, but to disseminate joy and emotional support,
for those who may need it. Who said that?
Some dumbass. Just now.
I think only a fool would be expecting me to fall over backward proclaiming the brilliance
of a film that is simply too dang short and a mite toothless to warrant my usual fawning
cacophony. And maybe because I’m coming off the high
that the Star Wars episode instilled in me, but there’s a lot of obvious and palpable
joy to divine from this admittedly flawed film. And I think that’s okay because a
lot of people clearly loved making this, in this way that honestly reminded me of some
early Monty Python stuff where they just don’t quite have it together, and they suck sometimes,
but it’s pretty amazing to watch at its best and fascinating at worst.
Given that Adams personally adapted his own book into a radio drama, then re-adapted that
radioplay into a television program, and that was all one contiguous loopy doo—but then
spent years writing his own personal movie adaptation AKA THIS ONE, all the way being
totally upfront and happy with the fact that those adaptations of his own personal source
material, WHICH HE WROTE, sometimes contradict each other.
Some of the biggest deviations from the source material were originated with Adams’ himself,
as each adaptation of HHG2G was something of a reinvention for him. Characters like
Humma Kavula appear only in the film as a foil for Zaphod. I don’t need to defend
this. It’s John Malkovich hammin’ it up like a Hot Pocket Croissant Crust. Just moving
on from … that. Upon its release, Empire Magazine called the
film “Very British,” in their review, and I can’t think of a compliment more just
and befitting of Douglas Adams than that. In fact, if you wanna do something interesting,
without looking at the movie poster, imagine your dream cast for a Hitchhiker’s adaptation.
Watching this again, I couldn’t believe the cast that Jennings managed to assemble.
Practically everyone went on to do bigger and better things.
In particular order: Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent
Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox Mos Def as Ford Prefect
Zooey Deschanal as Tricia Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast
Alan Mother fucking Rickman as clinically-depressed robot, Marvin
Dame Helen Mirren as Deep Thought John Malkovich as Humma Kavula
and Steven Fry as The Guide The film opens with a high-budget musical
number featuring dancing and singing dolphins performing the movie’s adaptation of the
line “So Long and Thanks for all the Fish”. Yup. From the get go, very purposely, the
film is telling you: this is not how you remember it from the book, but it’s okay, this is
going to be an adventure, most ridiculous. And it is.
It’s not quite the adventure you remember from the book, the radio or television dramas.
It’s different. It’s also slightly Americanized, which ultimately, I think does create another
layer of dissonance with the material, though though though TRIPLE THOUGH, the movie wouldn’t
have been made at all, certainly not at this budget, without Americanizing a bit so the
USA would pick up the check. Peculiar conundrum!
Even upon announcing I was doing this (on Twitter, the only place to find out which
film won the vote long before everyone else, THAT’S A ME PLUG, but seriously follow that
twitter account I’m adorable) lots of people immediately began to tell me that they preferred
the BBC television program to the film. Which is fine because it’s an awesome adaptation,
BUT, it’s certainly not a hot sweep because I don’t think there’s even a contest between
David Dixon and Mos Def for who brought the most to the character of Ford Prefect.
Oh, fightin’ words? Break it down NEUMANN
For a character based on an actual English car manufactured between the years of 1938
and 1961, in Douglas Adams own words Ford had: “simply mistaken the dominant life
form on earth,” … for cars, specifically, that one, though, he chose the car that was
“nicely inconspicuous.” That says a lot about Ford as a confused person, manically
crashing into every scene much like the cars he thought were people, and while on Earth,
looking entirely out of place at all times, as opposed to the BBC version where he’s
just kinda like … adele hello NOW And if I may place a nail in one seemingly
innocuous and ultimately pointless coffin, this is worth pointing out because, though
it did not take me long to find people decrying that Mos Def aka Dante Smith was a person
of color playing Mr. Prefect, and that it simply “just doesn’t make any sense, realistically.”
Ignoring the obviously overlooked aspect of the book being a space fantasy starring a
two-headed alien and the savior of mankind being armed with a towel, I will remind you
how this character THIS CHARACTER RIGHT HERE got his author-given namesake from this car
and kindly inform you that the original manufactured vehicle in 1936
B-b-b-b-b-b-did you know Only came in one color: black
Mos Def is the best performance in this movie. He does the absolute most with his character
and goes out of his way to add dimension and nuance to someone that is there mostly to
serve exposition to our clueless protagonist. He’s worth going and watching the movie
again just for his singular performance. But lucky for you, the performances are awesome
from start to finish in this movie and most have become the quintessential version of
these characters in my mind. I mean, you’re not going to beat Martin Freeman as Arthur
Dent. It’s funny how not a deal his casting was in the film originally because it was
far before his global star-making turn on the BBC’s glorious modern retelling of Sherlock.
(Yes, I am aware he was on The REAL Office) Also, if you watch the Hobbit films and just
imagine that Bilbo is just more Arthur Dent, all of his manic worrying and flailing make
a lot more sense. Just add a towel.
Sam Rockwell, who at this point was known for Galaxy Quest, Confessions of a Dangerous
Mind, and Matchstick Men, puts in a 2005 time capsule of a performance because, and this
is true, his entire performance is a combination of Elvis and George W. Bush. Which, for the
Galactic President, kinda makes a lot of sense when you think about it.
And Zaphod is a character that is consistently translated differently to engender confusion
in the audience. As a character, he has a huge following, so the difference in the text,
the radio and television dramas, the computer game, and the film, are a jumping off point
for a lot of arguments. Is it Zahphod or Zayphod? Cool, thanks for keeping that debate alive,
movie. He has anywhere from two to four arms, depending on the adaptation. He certainly
has two heads, but in some versions thJESUS CHRIST WHAT THE FUCK
No. No.
No. In the Infocom game, his second head is obscured
from view by a birdcage and a towel wrapped around it.
Yeah, okay. Other homeruns in the film adaptation?
Considering that Sam Rockwell appeared back in the very first episode of Movies with Mikey
spewing forth with delicious musings about the veritable chasm of subtle differences
between smoking regular and menthol cigarettes, it seems only fitting to connect these episodes
even more so. The work by Jim Henson’s creature shop on
the Vogons in this film is absolutely breathtaking. This race of bewilderingly docile yet entirely
xenophobic universal view and rakish appearance are taken to 11 in the movie. I don’t even
have a follow up there. They just look rad as shit.
Oh, and bonus points to Phil Sims, no not that one, for his work as one of the art directors
on the film because check out this rez … ume. He was the Art Director on Guardians of the
Galaxy, The Martian, Age of Ultron, Captain America, Elizabeth: The Golden Age, which
sucked. In fact, Hitchhiker was the first film he was an art director on.
Yeah, the film could be longer, hell, it could have been an HBO miniseries with the same
cast and probably become one of the greatest adaptations of anything … ever.
But it wasn’t. This is the film Douglas Adams tried so hard for so long to get off
the ground, and without question, compromises and changes happened at every turn. But he
wanted a film. He wanted a bit of a cliff’s notes version of the story out there, hopefully
reaching a wider audience, probably among them younger people who don’t read good,
who probably on the whole want a more streamlined, light and breezy version of the material starring
Manic Pixie Mermaid Chihuahua-cabra Zooey Deschanel. – That’s the Chihuahua version
of the chupacabra. It’s a charming as hell film and one that’s
entirely worth revisiting. Resistance is useless guy
How can you not love it? Resistance is useless guy is like my favorite thing.
There’s so many exceptionally well-crafted scenes in the film. Arthur and Ford await
the among klaxons for the airlock to blast them into space … only to be dropped through
the floor. Arthur and Ford are talking … couches. The scene with the orchestra hits that goes
on far, FAR longer than it ever should …. And then keeps going all the way into space, pausing,
and destroying the earth. Every scene with the Vogons. EVERY SCENE WITH THE VOGONS. GARGEBLASTERS.
The stop-motion yarn dimension. The set and costume design in the Humma Kavula scenes.
The faceswatter scene and the absolutely beautiful location they secured to shoot it in. The
falling whale scene. Douglas Adams really quite enjoyed rebooting
his own story into different mediums, and as he wanted to happen, each translation is
just a little bit different. You can choose a favorite, but you really don’t have to.
Isn’t a story you enjoy, told by the person you enjoy it from, translated into different
media … shouldn’t be taken collectively instead of comparatively?
This brings me back to where I started. When we score and rank things, instead of just
enjoying them, it creates dissonance between us and the entertainment and the artistry
of it all. Lemme put it a different way.
I adore the book. Actually, I adore all the books for loads of reasons, but even if its
my favorite version of the story (by a long shot) I don’t really want to live in a world
without the cheering crab from the movie. I mean, look how happy that little crab is.
Can he have his own spin off? Also, it’s really funny if you do this.
Rap music. Plus, you know what’s fun to watch? Even
if each of these actors isn’t your favorite version of the characters, it’s kinda awesome
to watch Mos Def, Martin Freeman, and Sam Rockwell, “just hanging out”.
What is normal? At the end of the day, this is just one more
version of the story, one that Douglas Adams wanted to make, and they did their best to
respect those wishes. One that puts a stronger focus on the story
of a man, twice down on his luck because both of his homes were destroyed, in the span of
ten minutes. Both his house and earth. And this man is so terrified of danger and risk,
despite it surrounding him all the time—but this very scared, non-committal man manages
to meet the creator of earth, I mean, he basically meets god in Slartibartfast-form, which is
only did because he’s a weiny. But Godibartfast said something very important
to this entire film. I’d rather be happy than right.
Which is astonishing because god then reunites him with his friends, on a planet exactly
like the one he used to live on, right down to his house being rebuilt so perfectly.
Commence Arthur freak out. Mouse rubbish line.
In this moment Arthur becomes as smart as god, and certainly smarter than the mice / people
that have been chasing their entire multi-million-year spanning lives. Instead of trying to live
their lives, they wasted them trying to find an answer to a question they didn’t need.
What’s the ultimate truth of existence? Who cares? I’d rather be happy.
And this movie makes me happy as shit.

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100 thoughts on “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy (2005) – Movies with Mikey

  1. I'm kind of glad I saw this movie before I ever heard of the books. I love the movie and it didn't suffer reading the books later, and seeing the show much later.

  2. Compare and contrast Hitchhiker's and Titan AE – how does a /s/human/being deal with having no home (planet)?

  3. I disliked Zooey as Trillian and the return of the dolphins at the end (because it destroys any connection to the source material's sequels) but other than that it was a fun flick. Also, how the hell do I get a copy of the game?

  4. I think the biggest success of this movie is in its ability to get people interested in the source material. I went through the entire series on Audible after loving this movie.

  5. I completely agree. I never understood the backlash to the film among fans of the book. But the film was also, admittedly, my introduction to the series. I was also a teenager when I first watched it. I suppose I was at an age where I was old enough to read the book, but I hadn't really heard of it before. I saw the movie and I loved it, and I still do now. Maybe for some people to enjoy a movie like this you need to go in without any preconceived notions of what it's going to be as compared to its source materials. I thought that the comparison of this movie to Monty Python was pretty spot on. It's pretty reminiscent to me of The Holy Grail (but in space and with a bigger budget. and yes, there's kind of a shoehorned love story in this one, but hey, it wasn't terrible). And guess what, I bought the book shortly after watching the movie, so the movie made me a fan of the book.

  6. Okay, you know what made me subscribe? The MOMENT that made me want to subscribe to you, just now: You said you both appreciate having access to the tools you get when more people are subscribed, and also you love the sense of childlike joy whenever you get to see your numbers go up. Let me just say… that is one of the purest, most beautifully honest expressions of hope and ambition I have ever heard. You're not after power or influence, just the feeling of relevance and I totally dig that, and dig you FOR that. Good on you man. <3 I am but a drop in the ocean right now, but it's an ocean I can get behind :3

  7. oh my. this video is so good I feel like I just rewatched it, one of my most favorite movies of all times, with my best friend of something. daaamn. I am so happy I have discovered this channel thru MovieWins.

  8. I love that quote. Lists and rankings are the enemies of art. There is no perfect pasta sauce…only perfect pasta sauces.

  9. In my opinion the movie showed a lot of potential, but didn't deliver on any of it. I think any lines used from the book/show/series almost died on delivery, being in the completely wrong context and thereby no longer funny; I did not like the deviations from the story; I really enjoyed the nihilism of the proper adaptions which was completely lost in this film; I thought the interpretation of Ford was stupid, part of his character was that he wasn't from Earth, had been misinformed about the planet and didn't understand humans, but he was never near as stupid as in this film. I thought most of the derivations from the source material were unnecessary and off point. Zaphod Beeblebrox looks stupid with his two heads, but that's part of the point. Things I did like; the visualisation of the Earth being rebuilt, the casting of the book, Marvin and Slartibartfast, and I really liked the adaption and expansion of the Vogons, but that's about it.

  10. You being happy about the cheering crab cured my depression for a minute. That was fantastic. Thank you, you beautiful soul.

  11. Slartibartfast’s speech about the nature of the universe, both in the book and movie, are probably the most influence any piece of media has had on my development as a person.

  12. The answer isn't 42 (fourty two) its 42 (four two). When the universe was created it was created 42, somebody to share it with.

  13. Adams wrote the radio play first, and then he converted the play into a book, not the other way around. I know it's a strange way to work, but this is how it went down.

  14. The Only issue I've ever had with the Movie over the Books is the Romance between Trillian and Arthur Dent. But thats mainly cos I'm a huge Fenchurch fan, and Like the Random Dent story in the Books, but we'll never see it done in film, so I can't argue too much.

  15. I didn't know this movie was so maligned. Besides the love story that was shoehorned into the movie, I really enjoyed the flick. Douglas Adams' work is so fascinating and dense, I'm not sure you could really make a movie that captures it. I do like the idea of a modern tv series though.

  16. I was under the really strong impression that the radio show was the original medium in which it was written which was then adapted to a novel later.

  17. This is likely to be a didn't watch th w hole video before commenting trap unto myself…..

    I had no issue with Ford Prefect being black. I never heard the radio show, I had seen the Tv series, but my first introduction was the book. And as far as I can remember, they didn't mention skin colour through out it. (at least in my defence, for ford). So I had absoluetely no issue with this.

    Caveat. I might have issue with a non white guy playing arthur as I had always seen him being the person you see thigns from, and me being a white man, may have had issue, though I can also see thhat if he was being played by an equally useless non white guy (Who was most definelty british) I probably (though can't say defineively because no visual adaptation so far has done so) would have accepted this.

  18. Not gonna lie, I love the way that you managed to use the finale of the film, the argument between being right and smart over being happy as a great excuse for your opinion of which version of the story you enjoy.

    I first saw the film and I still love it, but I'll admit that the book has much more to offer in terms of content. If you enjoyed the movie, at least try the audio book if you want more.

  19. I just realized Mos Def kind of turns Ford into Doctor Who, then I realized, Mos Def should definitely be the next Doctor

  20. I was one of those a younger people who don't read good when I watched this movie. I loved this movie and its how I got into sci-fi as a kid, and I still love it now.

  21. Having read all of the books several times, listened to the radio show several times, and watched the tv series…several times and also being a generally fawning Douglas Adams fan, I have to say that the best part of the movie was the casting. Especially Mos Def. Ford Prefect was never so thoroughly fleshed out. He was brilliant. They were all great, though. I'd much rather happy than right. (42)

  22. Mikey! You are an amazing orator de film. I must respectfully request that you do an episode on Avengers: Age of Ultron. It is in my humble opinion, one of the better and more underrated entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I would love to hear an in-depth take from you on the subject.

  23. Simon Jones was better. Douglas Adams actually wrote Arthur as Simon Jones, because they had worked together before.

  24. "Right now we're pretty close to 20k"

    Congrats on recently hitting 200k by the time I watched this one. I just subscribed yesterday or the day before at 199k.

  25. The problem with the film was not the actors it was with the cut price special effects and a large number of jokes that have been removed.

  26. I'm really happy to see all the love for Mos Def as Ford Prefect. I guess it's naive of me, but I didn't realize that a lot of the issue people had with him in that role was because he's black. I hate to break it to those folks, but black people exist in the UK. Surprise!

  27. I thought Zooey was kind of awful in this movie. I liked it overall. Martin Freeman, Mos Def, Alan Rickman, and Sam Rockwell were great. I had just read the book again before discovering the movie is on Netflix. I haven't seen any of the other adaptations though gasp

  28. The animation for the "hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy" in the title scene is SO good and SO NSYNC with the music I watch it probably once a day

  29. I'm surprised there's so little mention of how perfect Alan Rickman is as Marvin. His line delivery is perfect. For some reason, the way he says "Now I've got a headache…" always stuck with me.

    It's a fun movie that does a great job of presenting the IP to a new audience, especially capturing the overall style. It doesn't have the complexity of the book, but that's because it's not a book. It does a pretty good job changing out the more text-based elements for things that work better in a visual medium. Flawed? Certainly, but a delightful distillation of the source.

  30. sorry you got all twisted pushing out this edit…

    BUT.. Somebody has now (thank the good lord on earth) commented on how wonderful this cast is especially MOSDEF.. Its one of my favorite little gems that I don't get to share with most people. Its not the book, but its DA, so yeah find the parts that work for you & tuck them away for a rainy day.

    Thanks Mikey & FJ,

    Listen to some House music while you edit next time:

  31. Having collected all the versions of this story, and loving the fact that the story ALWAYS changed, I wanted to like this. The "Americanisation" (unfortunately) of the story delivered the only version of the story where I laughed only once (an early scene from the guide that involved cows). Still liked your review though 🙂

  32. Mos Def was fantastic as Ford. Great choice. I don't think race should ever be taken into consideration when casting a piece of fiction unless it has a historic setting. I don't think anybody should have a role given to them or taken away due to their race.

  33. "Elvis and George Bush"… I will never be able to not think that every time I watch this movie now lol. Perfect comparison

  34. I grew up with the movie. Then the books than the radio show. Kinda in reverse order. And so far my personal ranking goes 1. Book 2. Movie 3. Radio show

  35. 1) the Hitchhiker's film is delightful and I always forget that until I go back to watch it
    2) I rly wish the fact that Hitchhiker's had been such a big part of nerd culture(TM) had led to people not rly caring about the concept of 'canon' as much as they do not. It's a playground, not a prison!

  36. Movie is the best version, but yeah, the movie could've been better. AMAZING CAST. Alan Rickman? Come on man!

  37. The different iterations are on purpose, because…Douglas Addams=british God and This. Is. The. Bible. You're welcome! 😉

  38. I love this movie. I hate the John Malkovich thread, and was not a great fan of Zaphod(though it grew on me slightly on multiple viewings), and it's rushing a lot. But it's really funny and charming most of the time. And anyone anyone whining about Mos Def are just wrong for one, he's awesome, and two Trillian should be dark skinned and kinda-Arabic if we wanted to be that true to the souce material, so… And he's a space alien, it doesn't really matter in the context of things.

  39. The whale scene was the monologue I did for my University interview for acting. And got me an unconditional offer.

  40. The content of this video is great but the volume needs to be normalized. Your sound effects are way louder than your speech which is louder than the clips

  41. This MWM is so good. I just rewatched because YouTube put it on the top of the suggested video list (or whatever they call that sidebar). I'm so glad they did. Love what you did with the little crab.

  42. And then Sam Rockwell went on playing the real George Bush in Vice.

    I like to imagine McKay's decison to cast him was based on this performance.

  43. Anyone who loves the multiple versions of Hitchhikers…seek out the WONDERFUL song Marvin, I Love You (it’s on YouTube)…You’ll thank me…

  44. The fifth rewatch and you taught my friend, life partner, and attempt at marriage to not judge media based on how exact like the source material it is.

    Thank you, again, Mikey Face

  45. It's funny I just recently started watching this channel and this video was 20k and now your at 233k subs this is a great series

  46. I'll admit it. I was tilting my head at the casting of Mos Def for Ford Prefect too. But then… isn't the POINT of Ford's character that there's just something intangibly OFF about him? Yeah, okay. It works. lol I loved how Def used his towel at pretty much EVERY opportunity he could. For all of The Guide's talk about the practical and psychological value that the towel has to the galactic hitchhiker, you'd think Ford would use it a bit more in OTHER media.

    Also, Zaphod having a second HIDDEN head to hide away all of his subversion that was supposed to be his motivation for running for president? GENIUS. lol

  47. The film was great, but there was just enough bits missed out to spoil it for me. Not irreparably, but spoilt it was.
    Zaphod's second head, missed the mark.
    Zaphod's casting. I've come to like Mr. Rockwell's work, but he's not Zaphod. Zaphod is cool. He's hip. He's also dumb. Rockwell was almost there, but too zany for my taste. If I could pick my ideal actor to play the Galactic President, you couldn't go far wrong with a two headed Jeff Goldblum.

    Trillian, Zooey Deschanel was a fair choice, but she only seems capable of playing Zooey Deschanel. Trillian needed more substance. But for the life of me I can't think of a different actress. Maybe Natalie Dormer?
    I cannot forgive the fact that somebody left out the philosopher's argument. Even if it was Mr. Adams himself, he made a mistake there.
    The Vogon constructor ships, were not yellow. They however did float in the air, exactly the same way that bricks don't. (I really missed Mr. Fry narrating that line about the huge, yellow, slab like somethings).
    I'm not sure I like the fact the Vogons were co-opted into being the galactic police. Officers Shooty and Bang Bang did a fine job.
    Mos Def's Ford Prefect saved the whole movie for me and John Malkovich's Humma Kavula was the cherry on the cake.

  48. FACTS:
    The radio show, NOT the book, was the original form of the story. That Mikey states otherwise ends up undercutting a fair bit of his commentary.

    Simon Jones, the original Arthur Dent (both in the radio show and the tv show) is, objectively, the best Arthur Dent, as the role was written SPECIFICALLY FOR HIM.

  49. …and then Arthur says "But are you happy?" and Slartibartfast says something like "No… that's where it all falls down, really…"

  50. What problems does he have with the movie? He keeps referring to it as flawed but I'm still not sure what those flaws are… (I'm of course madly in love with the film and highly biased)

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