Friday, August 19, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Jennings, 2005)

Given the mixed reviews, I was somewhat surprised at how much I enjoyed this. When this project was first announced, I didn't think there was a chance that Douglas Adam's novel would be adapted into a satisfying film. I'm glad that I was wrong. Although it has moments and even entire characters (Marvin) that simply don't work, let's give the filmmakers credit for just how much they get right. I loved the fact that I was watching a film where the hero was not simply trying to save the world or the universe, but searching for his place in it. Like the recent I Heart Huckabees, the film could be categorized as an existential comedy, or perhaps existential action-comedy, with many of the jokes coming at the expense of the human race and his/her presumed place of superiority in the universe. Unlike heroes in other films that leap into battle guns a'blazing, Arthur Dent is completely unprepared for his task, spending the entire film in his bathrobe. Unlike other films that plow predictably towards an obvious resolution, this film is all about the detours. Either you find this sort of thing funny or you don't, I suppose. Personally, I was laughing an awful lot and arrived at the film's conclusion grateful to have seen a film made with such obvious warmth, goodwill and thoughtfulness. A surprising success. Please vote "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish" for Best Original Song come Oscar time.



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