1978 marks the age of a modern big bang. In a galaxy very very near creator, Douglas Adams introduced us to the last human being alive on his small comedy radio show. This idea was on a collision course to start a universe of its own; a galaxy even. Spanning into different mediums, from novels and comics, to a TV series, and even a computer game in the mid 80's, The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy finally came to us in film form in 2005. Like the very planet Adams destroyed, his creation holds a sweet spot for intelligence and absurdity.
Comedy is hard to make because of the subjectivity of what is funny. Science fiction is also hard to sell to an audience especially in a time where Neil Degrasse Tyson is allowed to shred movie logic via Twitter. To mix both genres AND make it work is nothing short of a miracle. And thats what we have in The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. Written by creator Douglas Adams, this story follows Arthur Dent, who becomes the last human alive after being saved from Earths destruction by his odd friend Ford Prefect. Ironically enough, Ford is a researcher from space who is writing a new edition of the book "The Hitchhikers Guide to The Galaxy". While trying to escape death from an alien bureaucratic race, the unlikely duo hitches a ride on the spaceship the Universal President stole and kidnapped himself in. After meeting his crew of of 2, a human lady, Trillion and a depressed robot, Marvin, this uncanny bunch set off to find the answer to life. Adams work behind the pen is seemless as he weaves in philosophy with comedy and a bit of optimistic-pessimism. The way director, Garth Jennings shot this film, he captured the grandness of a space opera with the charm of a Seinfeld episode. Choosing to opt for minimal CGI, Jennings choices in direction feels organically fresh and familiar to the viewer while taking us to a brand new place.
Arthur Dent played by Martin Freeman, is at the the center of the main cast. Freeman perfectly captures the awkward uneasiness of a man who recently has become the last of his species. As confused and disconnected as Dent is, his pairing with the intelligent and hyper-aware Ford Prefect played by Mos Def is a delight. The contrast between the two characters is a good look at the yin and yang of most of our thought process. On one side we have the knowledge and assurance of what is while the other side is the absolute terror of whats personally unknown. Watching Freeman and Def banter back and forth is a fun time that also inspires a bit if thought from the audience. When these two get picked up by President Beeblebrox we get into another dimension of funny. Sam Rockwell really brings it to the role of the dual headed eccentric leader of the universe. As the movie rolls on this character really develops from being an annoying ego maniac into a driving force with out changing the character, just out perception of him.
It may be a planet with a slew of aliens or an intergalactic DMV, the Henson Puppets and the sets pieces bring the vision of Adams' galaxy to life; The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a fun journey through space and time. Grab your towels and hitch a ride.