"All my life I've had this strange feeling that there's something big and sinister going on in the world."
Mere seconds before the Earth is to be demolished by an alien construction crew, journeyman Arthur Dent is swept off the planet by his friend Ford Prefect, a researcher penning a new edition of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."
Arthur Dent, a nondescript Earthman, is suddenly transported to outer-space when the planet Earth is demolished and he is rescued by his friend Ford Prefect, who turns out to be an alien hitch-hiker. The pair meet up with intergalactic president Zaphod Beeblebrox, a fast-talking heel in search of the ancient planet of Magrathea wherein it is rumoured lies the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything ...
Douglas Adams' brilliant, hilarious science-fiction classic has had an odd life-cycle; it was originally a BBC radio-series in 1978, which he then turned into a book and shortly after one of the greatest TV series ever made. He also wrote a film script, which languished for years and has now finally been made, not long after his untimely death. The result is a funny, eye-popping, exciting adaptation of his wonderful idea of a stuffy parochial Englishman adrift in the universe, contrasting a technologically majestic awe-inspiring infinity with officious alien bureaucrats, manic depressive robots and egotistical super-computers. There are so many funny ideas in the story that the film struggles to contain them - cosmic planning permission, death by poetry, improbability physics, customised planet-building, a gun that makes you see someone's point of view, and the Earth as an organic computer-matrix run by mice. Unfortunately, Adams and Karey Kirkpatrick's script suffers in this regard by rushing much of the plot and omitting some great material (such as Vroomfondel and Majikthise, the militant left-wing philosophers). It also adds in new scenes and characters not in the original story - the Vogons feature more prominently, there is a mad prophet called Humma Kavula (Malkovich) and Arthur and Trillian find time to have a romance, all of which I suspect is to make the movie a bit more ordered and palatable. The cast are all good (especially the voice-over actors), and there are some wonderful special-effects, such as Slartibartfast's superfast conveyor-belt transporter. I must confess a prejudice though - whilst this would be a terrific movie by any other standards, check out the 1980 TV series instead, which is a sensational filming of the book and showcases Adams' creative comic genius to perfection. This movie has several nods to it - there is a cameo by actor Jones (who was the original Arthur Dent), the original Marvin robot shows up waiting in a queue, and the theme-music by the Eagles is on the main title. But above all, remember, don't panic !