Book to movie review: Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy

Basically: Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a trilogy of six novels which actually started as a radio drama, then a book, then some vinyls, the more radio, followed by TV show, video game, more books, and finally a movie. If that sounds confusing it’s because it is. There’s 6 books but only 5 of them are actually written by Douglas Adams because he died in 2001 and we all still call it a trilogy because why not. Basically you could kind of just throw darts at a wall shaped like hitchhiker’s and people will vaguely understand what you’re talking about because there’s so much of it.

For the sake of clarity, for this review I’m going to be comparing the movie starring Martin Freeman to the 6 books. Because those are the bits I’m most familiar with, and writing a review which compares the movie to every other bit of source material would be absolute madness.

Basically (part 2): Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a series of comedy science fiction novels written by English author, Douglas Adams. The books follow the adventures of Arthur Dent, a mild mannered Englishman who (Spoiler to the first 2 chapters of this book) is one of the last humans alive, after aliens destroy Earth in order to build a hyperspace expressway. I won’t leave you in suspense, this is my favourite book series. Period. I can’t really say enough nice things about these books so you should just take my word and go read them.

The main selling point is how brilliantly and charmingly funny Douglas Adams is. His writing style mainly consists of making long winded similes and throw away jokes. For example: “You know,” said Arthur, “it’s at times like this, when I’m trapped in a Vogon airlock with a man from Betelgeuse, and about to die of asphyxiation in deep space that I really wish I’d listened to what my mother told me when I was young.”
“Why, what did she tell you?”
“I don’t know, I didn’t listen.”

Hitchhikers is great. Go read it.

How good is the movie? It’s pretty alright I would say. Martin Freeman might be the best casting for any role in any movie ever. “You said the movie is pretty alright then you say that?” Yeah well both can be true. Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent is just so weirdly perfect. If you’ve read the books you know this is true. I can’t really think of much else to say about the movie. It’s quirky. The book relies heavily on being a non-visual medium and uses a lot of abstract ideas. It’s interesting to see their interpretation of how to represent the improbability drive at work among other things. Also! the use of real costumes instead of CGI for the Vogons and Marvin is really cute. It’s a real decent movie what else can I say? Worth a watch

How does it compare to the book(s)? The movie kinda mashes up elements from all 6 books in perfect Hitchhiker’s fashion. How much of the radio series it compares to I have no clue. But I know the movie has the strange opening sequence from book 4, then into the start of book 1 which most of the movie is based on. Then weirdly halfway through it kinda switches to the subplot of book 2-5. Eventually creating an entirely new thing which is based on none of the above for the ending. And finally the last scene of the movie is the start of book 2. So how does it compare? Well much like Scott Pilgrim vs The World, it tackles the issue of having too much source material by just mashing it up and going from there. So it’s hard to compare it laterally. But! I will say the spirit and humour of the source material are preserved even if the plot isn’t. It gets a pass from me.