Critical Consensus: Long Awaited "Hitchhiker's Guide" Gets Mixed Reaction

by Senh Duong | Thursday, Apr. 28 2005

This weekend, two big-budget, special effects extravaganzas will battle for the love of the Tomatometer. In one corner, opening in over 3000 theaters, is a film adaptation of Douglas Adams' beloved novel "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." In the other corner, opening in over 3300 theaters, is "XXX: State of the Union," the sequel to the 2002 Vin Diesel hit "XXX." Which one will win the battle of the Tomatometer?

A movie said to be "twenty years in the making," author Douglas Adams' much anticipated sci-fi, action-comedy "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" will finally make its big screen debut this Friday. Adams was closely involved with the project until his tragic death due to a heart attack. With a cast of mostly unknowns, the cinematic version follows the adventure Earthman Arthur Dent (Martin Freeman) embarks on when he escapes a soon-to-be demolished Earth by hitching a ride on a passing spacecraft. During his galactic journey, he discovers that nothing is as it seems, and everything he needs to know to survive can be found in a book -- "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." As of this writing, critics' reactions to this mixture of science fiction, comedy, adventure and philosophy are mixed. While this lavish, visually magnificent and action-packed film captures the whimsical fun of the novel, critics think the movie will leave people who haven't read the novel wondering what all the fuss is about. It has a Tomatometer of 54%.

Vin Diesel didn't return for "XXX: State of the Union," the sequel 2002's $141M hit "XXX," but he is replaced by the always reliable box office performer, Ice Cube. Samuel L. Jackson reprises his role as NSA agent Augustus Gibbons who recruits Ice Cube to track down a dangerous military splinter group that is conspiring to overthrow the U.S. Government in the nation's capital. With a Tomatometer of 45%, the original didn't capture the hearts of many critics, but the sequel is far worst. They think the sequel is even more brainless and preposterous than the original. The explosive sequel scored an imploding 20% on the Tomatometer. That's less than half of Ice Cube's average Tomatometer of 44%.

Unsurprisingly, the film to win this week's Tomatometer battle is the eagerly awaited, if slightly bruised, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy."

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