something years after it first appeared as a radio series, and after
various incarnations as a globally best selling trilogy (in five parts)
and a television serial as well as inspiring a host of imitators (ie.
Red Dwarf), Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers’ Guide to the Galaxy has finally
reached the big screen.Less Star Trek and more Galaxy Quest
with its decidedly low-key special effects, the Guide is a very British
sci-fi flick.  This is despite its trio of American actors, Zooey
Deschanel, Sam Rockwell and Mos Def, who turn in fairly credible
performances even though their accents are somewhat out of place.Martin
Freeman, of The Office fame, and our Everyman of the Moment, is Arthur
Dent, Adams’ befuddled hero and our touchstone in Adam’s odd and
cosmically balanced universe.  Interestingly, Hugh Grant was
apparently considered for the part in what, I supposed, would have been
a toffier version of the whole thing.  One morning,
Arthur wakes up to find that his house has been slated for destruction
by local planners to make way for a highway bypass.  His friend
Ford Prefect arrives and announces that the Earth has been slated for
destruction by the local Vogon Constructor Fleet to make way for an
interplanetary bypass.  And the rest, as they say, is history.

fans of the books are likely to be disappointed.  The movie steals
parts from the latter books and altogether new plotlines are
developed.  Zaphod Beeblebrox’ second head only appears
sporadically and various minutiae which made Adams’ books so quirky and
inventive are missing.  However, Adams had been consulted as a
scriptwriter until his untimely death a few years ago and in any case,
it was unlikely that a two hour movie could fully capture all the
book’s intricacies. (Refer to Peter Jackson’s 200 minute Return of the
King for case in point).As a standalone movie, it provides a
bellyful of laughs.  The casting of Alan Rickman as Marvin, the
Depressive robot, Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast, planetary designer
(‘fjords a speciality’), and Bill Bailey as the Whale is
inspired.  And the Guide itself, reinvented as a retro-coloured
diagram spinning post-Apple iMac notebook voiced by Stephen Fry, is a
delight.But, if you haven’t read the books and want to laugh
until you turn red for lack of air, beating your chest baboon-style
whilst howling like a garrotted marmoset because that seems the only
apt way of expressing your hilarity, pick up the books.