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The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Movie Review

Updated: Feb 18, 2021

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy movie came out in 2005, based off of Douglas Adams' book, and was directed by Garth Jennings. In the opening of the movie, we learn that despite popular belief, humans are not the most intelligent animals on Earth. Rather, they rank 3rd in intelligence. Dolphins being the 2nd most intelligent, and the most intelligent animal to be revealed later.

According to the Narrator, the main character, Arthur Dent, is an unremarkable human... or rather "An Earth man to be precise, who no more knows his destiny than a tea left knows the history of the East India Company." One day at a costume party he meets a woman, later to be known as Trillian, who wants to spontaneously go to Madagascar. Not tomorrow or next week, but right then and there. Arthur makes up excuses not to go, e.g. work, his home, etc., and before we know it, Zaphod Beeblebrox, president of the galaxy, sweeps her away with promises of space travel.

Not long afterwards... Arthur learns his friend Ford Prefect is not from Earth, together Arthur and Ford hitchhike into space while the Earth is destroyed. Eventually the pair ends up on the spaceship that Zaphod and Trillian are on; plus, the addition of a depressed robot named Marvin. In a quest for answers, Zaphod shows a tape of hyperintelligent beings attempting to find the answers to life.

As per the Narrator, "Many millions of years ago, a race of hyperintelligent, pan-dimensional beings got so fed up with the bickering about the meaning of life, that they commissioned two of their brightest and best to design and build a stupendous super-computer to calculate the answer to life, the universe and everything." All the hyperintelligent beings have to do is to wait 7.5 million years for the super-computer named Deep Thought to finish the calculation... time flies and 7.5 million years later leads to the following conversation.

Hyperintelligent Beings: Deep Thought, do you have...

Deep Thought: An answer for you? Yes, but you're not going to like it.

Hyperintelligent Beings: It doesn't matter. We must know it.

Deep Thought: All right. The answer to the ultimate question... of life, the universe and everything... is... 42.

Random Person: 42?

Deep Thought: Yes, yes, I thought it over quite thoroughly. It's 42. It would've been simpler to know what the question was.

Hyperintelligent Beings: But it was the question. The ultimate question. Of everything!

Deep Thought: That's not a question. Only when you know the question you will know what the answer means.

Hyperintelligent Beings: Give us the ultimate question then.

Deep Thought: I can't. But there is one who can. A computer that will calculate the ultimate question. A computer of such infinite complexity, that life itself will form part of its operational matrix. And you yourselves shall take on new, more primitive forms, and go down into the computer to navigate its 10-million-year program. I shall design this computer for you, and it shall be called... (tape cuts out)

So yeah, due to a poorly posed question, the hyperintelligent beings now have to wait another 10 million years to find the ultimate question. In the meantime, Zaphod and the crew is searching for the planet Magrathea in which Deep Thought resides. Eventually in a round about way they arrive to Magrathea only to be told that the planet is closed. Resilient, they proceed toward the planet anyway, only to find that two nuclear bombs have been launched towards the ship. Desperation sets in, and Arthur hits the button to engage the Infinite Probability Drive. Against all odds, the ship doesn't move, but the two nuclear bombs turn into: 1) a whale, and 2) a bowl of petunias.

The whale who is conscious of its new existence and is plunging unbeknownst to it, to its death, thinks to itself, "Ah, whoa, what's happening? Who am I? Why am I here? What's my purpose in life? What do I mean by who am I?..." Shortly after... splat! No more whale.

The bowl of petunias thought only "Oh, no, not again." According to the Narrator, many have speculated that if only we knew why the bowl of petunias thought that, we'd know much more about the nature of the universe.

So the whale dies, and the fate of the petunias was probably the same. Nevertheless, the crew makes it to the planet safely and split up. Eventually, Zaphod, Trillion, and Ford find Deep Thought, who reveals that the computer calculating the ultimate question was actually Earth... which was unfortunately destroyed by order of Zaphod himself (who was too stupid to realize what he was signing). Thus, no one got to know the ultimate question after all.

At the end of the movie, we find out that mice were the most intelligent beings on Earth, and that they commissioned the creation of the planet in order to calculate the ultimate question. In actuality, the mice were really the hyperintelligent beings who created Deep Thought. Wanting a return on their investment, the mice press Arthur for answers. Arthur at threat of having his brain cut out by the mice exclaims, "My head is filled with questions, and no answer to any one of them has ever brought me one iota of happiness. Except for one. The one. The only question I've ever wanted an answer to. Is she the one?" The question "Is she the one?" is in reference to Trillion. Thus, it all comes down to love... which of course the hyperintelligent beings think is a rubbish answer and proceed with attempting to cut out his brain. But, Don't Panic! Everything everything turns out to be okay.

With that said, what did you think? Is our life like the whale? Is love the meaning of it all? Is everything meaningless as Marvin thought? Is the answer simply 42... or are we just not asking the right question?

We rate the movie:

Overall - 7

Meaning of Life Relevance - 8

Uniqueness – 8

If you saw the movie, tell us what you thought.

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