Follow TV Tropes


Film / The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005)

Go To

"So long and thanks for all the fish, so sad it had to come to this. We tried to warn you all but oh, dear..."

For two decades, a movie adaptation of Douglas Adams's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy rotted in Development Hell. But in 2003, pre-production began, and in 2005, an all-out big-budget feature film rolled out to theaters, directed by Garth Jennings and featuring an All-Star Cast.

The film's plot starts off following the story of the first book/radio series. However like every other adaptation of the material, it diverges sharply not too far in. This time, the divergence is far sharper than any before, but this was done intentionally by Adams himself (who thought of making Humma Kavula the Big Bad, the face-paddling scene, and the POV gun entirely on his own.) This film is also the farthest adaptation to date, even going so far as to have broad humor more akin to family films, and some American sensibilities.

Where the other versions go straight to Magrathea, the movie takes a side-trip to Viltvodle VI, where we meet the guy Zaphod beat to become President, and the quest for the mysterious "POV Ray" is engaged upon. Originally, Zaphod was trying to find the true ruler of the universe, but here he's just as shallow as he seems. There's also the home planet of the Vogons, the focus on Arthur and Trillian as a couple, the location of the ending and the way the good guys win...

So long, and thanks for all the tropes:

  • Achievements in Ignorance: When Zaphod's given manual control to evade the missiles, he somehow manages to brake in space.
  • Adaptation Deviation: The film follows the novel's plot in Broad Strokes, and adds some new scenes.
    • Most notably, The Heart of Gold was described in the first book as "shaped like a sleek running shoe" and is in other adaptations portrayed as such. In the film adaptation its general shape is a massive orb.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The laser blade toaster, point of view gun, Humma Kavula, and the Galactic High Chancellor are introduced.
    • Viltvodle VI is explored further where it was a short description in the book.
    • In addition to calculating the answer, Deep Thought has been spending time watching cartoons.
  • Adaptational Context Change:
    • Arthur remarks that he's already met Zaphod, but here it is not so improbable to the audience as the sequence of events are presented in chronological order.
    • Deep Thought has spent time not only attempting to answer the question, but has also been watching cartoons.
    • Deep Thought is shaped more like a computer monitor, with a structure resembling an arm to support its chin at the base of the monitor. In the book, Deep Thought is more of a straightforward super computer.
    • Ford's name is still associated with the idea that he thought that cars were the native intelligent life on Earth. However, the film never mentions his full name as Ford Prefect, as that reference to an actual Ford model would not be recognizable to modern audiences. And unlike the late 1970s when there were likely still quite a few of these models on the British road, the same could not be said for 2005, and Ford would have been unlikely to have even heard of them in the time that he would have been on Earth.note 
    • Viltvodle VI is described as a culture of small blue beings in the book, but here it is visited by the crew and inhabited by multiple alien life forms, including an entire church inhabited by humanoids who follow the religion of the Great Green Arkleseizure. The crew visits their religious leader, Humma Kavula, who demands they find the Point-of-View gun.
    • Frankie and Benjy the mice are the Deep Thought programmers Lunkwill and Fook in disguise, and are killed by Arthur. In the book, they are not related, have no ulterior motive, and do not attempt to lobotomize Arthur.
    • Zaphod is the Galactic President in the book, but there is no Vice President Questular Rontok in the novel.
    • The Point-of-View gun and toaster knife are exclusive to the movie. The scene with the point of view gun being used on Arthur, Zaphod and Trillian is not in the book.
    • The restaurant at the end of the universe is at the end of the universe in terms of distance, not time.
  • Adaptational Villainy:
    • The inhabitants of Viltvodle VI are benign blue beings in the book. Here, they have a more fanatical religion with a creepy cult leader who may not be the most trustworthy.
    • Lunkwill and Fook are Deep Thought programmers searching for the answer. Here, they are disguised as the mice Frankie and Benjy, and want to remove Arthur's brain.
  • Adaptation Explanation Extrication: Ford approaches Arthur with a shopping trolley filled with cans of beer and packets of peanuts. In the book he explains that these are necessary for combatting Teleportation Sickness. Here, teleportation isn't mentioned, amd we aren't shown how Arthur and Ford got on board the Vogon ship (it could have just been a tractor beam or something); Ford just uses the beer and peanuts to distract Prosser's crew so he can pull Arthur away for a private chat.
  • An Aesop / Author Tract: Something that Douglas Adams said himself is repeated by Slartibartfast. It comes off as the smartest thing stated in the film.
    Slartibartfast: Perhaps I'm old and tired, but I think that the chances of finding out what's actually going on are so absurdly remote that the only thing to do is to say, "Hang the sense of it," and keep yourself busy. I'd much rather be happy than right any day.
    Arthur: And are you?
    Slartibartfast: (self deprecatingly) Ah, no. (snorts a giggle) Well, that's where it all falls down, of course!
  • And the Adventure Continues: The movie ends with the protagonists leaving Earth Mark II to go eat at The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
  • Alien Sky: The sunset on Magrathea is quite pretty, once you put aside how you're freezing while sitting next to a manically depressed robot.
  • Alternate Number System: Vogons write numbers in base 1, meaning 1,000 would be written as a thousand ones.
  • Answer Cut: When Trillian asks who could've signed the order to destroy Earth. Cut to Zaphod grinning like an idiot with a thinking cap.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Trish McMillian shortened her name to "Trillian" because it sounded "spacey". Arthur suggests changing his to "Arthoolian".
  • Ascetic Aesthetic: The Heart Of Gold.
  • Astronomic Zoom: The scene does an astronomic zoom out leading into the Earth-Shattering Kaboom. It does this with camera jumps with every "beat" of the music. All fifty-five of them.
  • Attack of the Political Ad: It's mentioned that Zaphod Beeblebrox became president only after surviving his opponent Humma Kavula's vicious "Don't Vote for Stupid" campaign. Kavula would later claim Beeblebrox only won because people thought they were voting for the "Universe's Worst-Dressed Sentient Being."
  • Audible Sharpness: Ford's towel produces this when pulled out in the scene where they meet Marvin for the first time.
  • Bad People Abuse Animals: The Vogon enjoy fishing Scintillating Jewelled Scuttling Crabs to smash them with mallets.
  • Bad Vibrations: The cup on Arthur's table shakes violently and falls off due to the drilling outside the house.
  • BBC Quarry: Vogsphere.
  • Big Damn Heroes:
    • Marvin has one of these in the movie, in which he wipes out an entire Vogon army with one shot from the P.O.V. Gun, making them all depressed like him. And this was after he was shot in the back of the head with a laser gun.
    • Arthur tries to do this while rescuing Trillian from the Vogons, but he bursts into the wrong building.
  • Bitch Slap: Trillian slaps Zaphod hard on the face after learning that he signed off on the order for the destruction of Earth, believing he was giving an autograph.
  • Body Horror: It's on natural that a film filled a lot of diverse and interesting designs for aliens have a few that are...unsettling. Special mention goes to the Asian Schoolgirl with five torsos and Humma Kavula who appears to some kind of cybernetic organism with sunken in, black eyes who is also just a torso. The film seems to be implying that he doesn't really look as human as he wants people to think he does.
  • Book Ends: The film begins with dolphins leaving the planet (after a musical number) and ends with them returning to the new one.
  • Brown Note: While it just seems to perplex Arthur Dent, judging by Ford's wickedly contorted facial expressions, Vogon poetry seems akin to electric torture.
  • The Cameo:
    • One scene features Simon Jones, the actor who played Arthur Dent in the original radio drama and TV versions of the series, as a pre-recorded Magrathean hologram.
    • The last image of the entire movie is Douglas Adams.
    • There's also Jason Schwartzman in a news report about Zaphod.
    • The old woman who is reading a newspaper at the cafe after the Vogon announcement is played by Douglas Adams' mother.
    • The TV version of Marvin appears in the queue on Vogsphere.
  • Canon Foreigner: Questular.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: Sam Rockwell's over-the-top portrayal of Zaphod. To his credit, he makes it hilarious.
    Zaphod: In the name of people and democracy and, uh, stuff like that... heh heh... I hereby kidnap myself - and I'm taking the ship with me! Woo!
  • Composite Character: Lunkwill and Fook are also the mice Frankie and Benjy.
  • Contrived Coincidence: You can survive in outer space with lungs full of air for 30 seconds. The odds of being picked up within that time are 2 to the power of 2079460347 to 1 against, which by a staggering coincidence is also the telephone number of the Islington flat where Arthur went to a fancy dress party and blew it with Trillian.
    • Arthur and Ford hitchhike onto a spaceship that happens to be run by a woman Arthur met at a party and who ran off with an alien. That alien happens to be Ford's cousin/half-brother AND the president of the galaxy. Coincidences are a huge theme in this franchise.
  • Cool Gate: On Magrathea, Zaphod, Ford, and Trillian go through one to arrive at Deep Thought, while Arthur and Marvin are stranded outside because it shuts off.
  • Cute Machines: This film has given Marvin rounded proportions and an oversized head, making him deceptively cuddly-looking.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Marvin, to the Nth degree.
    Marvin: (grumbling) "Give me a hand." Ha, ha, very funny, how am I supposed to drive this pod with one arm? Stupid human...
  • Deconstructor Fleet: Both in the trope sense - sci-fi standards have no power here! - and also in the very literal sense of having a large fleet of de-constructors.
  • Demoted to Extra: Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz, the leader of the Vogons, has a small role in the film, specifically the destruction of Earth and the Vogon poetry.
  • Denser and Wackier: A lot of the fundamental elements of the first book make it in, but are crowded together to make room for a largely original second act. New arrivals to the franchise may find some scenes sheer randomness - for instance, the Vogon Poetry session has lost pretty much all foreshadowing and explanation.
  • Disney Death: During the climax Marvin gets shot in the back of the head by the Vogons. He collapses onto the ground and his eyelights extinguish, leading everyone to assume he's dead. A few minutes later he reboots and turns the P.O.V. Gun on the Vogons.
  • Diving Save: When Arthur Dent first meets Ford, Ford is standing in the middle of the road trying to greet an approaching car. Arthur runs over and pulls him out of the way, saving his life.
  • Don't Explain the Joke: A variation. Slartibartfast takes a bit too much time trying to explain his threat.
  • Eagleland: Mixed variety. Trillian is American (as she was in the TV version) and Arthur adores her, while Zaphod acts like a Jerkass American stereotype (not surprising considering he's played by Sam Rockwell). Ford, too, is a sympathetic American type of The Stoner variety. As the director commented, the only character who absolutely needed to remain British was Arthur.
    • And really, given that Ford and Zaphod aren't even from Earth...
  • Earth-Shattering Kaboom: Ironically, rather than a "terrible, ghastly noise" (as the book describes), the destruction of the Earth is silent (more like an earth imploding "zip").
  • Emotion Bomb: When Marvin uses the Point of View Gun in the climax, it ends up causing all of the Vogons to keel over in soul crushing depression.
  • Escape Pod: The gang have to fly to Vogsphere in one after mice disable The Heart Of Gold's engines. It looks like a racing car and seems to be capable of Faster-Than-Light Travel.
  • Everything Is an iPod in the Future: Fitting considering Douglas Adams was allegedly the firstnote  man to buy an Apple computer in England.
    • The Starship Heart of Gold.
    • Also, Deep Thought is an Apple product.
    • The film predates itnote , but the Guide itself is basically a tablet.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Lampshaded.
    Book: The Point-Of-View gun, conveniently, does precisely what its name suggests. That is, if you point it at someone and pull the trigger, they instantly see things from your point of view.
  • Extreme Graphical Representation: In the trailer, the Guide fell into this a bit. For the film, its UI was changed to a more minimalist, flat-graphics style.
  • Eye Lights Out: Played straight, then inverted by Marvin.
  • Fake-Out Opening: The film actually has two title sequences. If you excised the entire dolphin musical number, there would be no loss, except for a damned catchy song and a Book Ends moment.
  • Fantastic Firearms: Played for Laughs with the Point-Of-View Gun, which when fired at someone causes that person to see things from the perspective of the person who fired it. When Zaphod attempts to fire it at Trillian, she notes (or perhaps bluffs) that it doesn't work on her because she's "already a woman" and therefore automatically knows what his point of view is. Marvin saves the day at the climax by setting it on wide-shot mode and afflicting all the Vogon soldiers attacking the group with his manic depression.
  • Fed to the Beast: The Vogons try to execute Trillian by feeding her to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal.
  • Fly-at-the-Camera Ending: The movie ends with The Heart of Gold flying at the camera and engaging its Infinite Improbability Drive.
  • Follow the Bouncing Ball: The DVD of the movie includes a sing-along version of the "So Long, and Thanks for All The Fish" song with a bouncing dolphin, naturally.
  • Forced Transformation: The main cast are briefly transformed a couple of times, courtesy of the Infinite Improbability Drive.
    Arthur: Ford... I think I'm a sofa.
    Ford: I know how you feel.
  • Foreshadowing: Arthur's costume at the party is Dr. Livingstone, the famed explorer.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus: When Arthur is standing in the middle of the wreckage of his house with the Vogon ships above him, you can see a newspaper on the ground with a headline telling us about the dolphins vanishing from the Earth.
  • Funny Background Event: After Ford explains to the barman that the Earth is going to be destroyed, as Ford leaves you can hear the barman call out "last orders, then".
  • Gecko Ending: Earth being rebuilt and restored to its pre-destruction state, which would eventually be revealed to have happened in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish but presumably would have taken much longer. Done despite obvious plans for a sequel, but especially fortunate given that it was cancelled.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: The removal of Zaphod's second head is seen via a shadow on the wall but from what we do see it's pretty graphic. It's left intentionally unclear which of those stringy bits attached to the head were just some of it's luscious hair and what was organically keeping it attached.
  • Hair-Trigger Sound Effect: The Astronomic Zoom from the beginning of the film. FIFTY-FIVE jump cuts. FIFTY-FIVE dramatic stings.
  • Humans Are Morons: We have always assumed that we were the most intelligent species occupying the planet, instead of the third most intelligent, behind mice and dolphins, the latter of whom curiously knew of the impending destruction of the planet Earth.
    • Presumably all species regard humans as this for being so incredibly wrong about how they assume the universe works. It's also probably why they were never noticed as the dominant lifeforms (see Mistook the Dominant Lifeform).
  • Humans Are Special: They're the key part of the planetary computer calculating the Ultimate Question.
  • I Choose to Stay: Arthur is offered the opportunity to return to a re-creation of his home on Earth, exactly like he left it (well, without the imminent demolition by Prosser). He chooses to stay with Ford, Zaphod and Trillian and continue exploring the galaxy.
  • I Told You So: When the portal on Magrathea stops working, preventing Arthur from following the others:
    Marvin: I told you this would all end in tears.
    Arthur: (high pitched Angrish) DID YOU? DID YOU?
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Marvin objects to the order of "freeze" because he assumes he's meant to freeze something.
    Marvin: Freeze? I'm a robot, not a refrigerator.
  • Immune to Mind Control: Marvin isn't attacked by the spade-shaped things on Vogsphere that rise from the ground and smack the other characters in the face whenever they have ideas. Word of God explains that this is a psychic creature that feeds on original thought, which is why the Vogons have evolved to be exceptionally dull, and thus become the bureaucrats of the galaxy. Presumably Marvin isn't affected because of his inorganic brain.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Lampshaded by Marvin. When the group is surrounded by blaster wielding Vogons, everyone takes cover except Marvin, who remarks that Vogons are the "worst marksmen in the galaxy." Then he is immediately shot in the back of the head.
  • In a World…: The trailer was narrated by the titular Guide, and formatted in the style of an official Guide entry on movie trailers, spoken by Stephen Fry in a pleasant BBC-announcer voice, except for when he says that "trailers often employ a deep voice, that sounds like a seven foot tall man who's been smoking cigarettes since childhood. (clears throat as he returns to normal)." It consisted of one continuous Lampshade Hanging and parody of science fiction action movie tropes.
    "Often, this section is preceded by the words, 'In a world' ...[Earth explodes] but sometimes not."
    "The goal is to provide a piece of advertising that is original and exciting, yet intelligent and provocative - in other words: lots of things blowing up." (cue rapid series of clips of explosions from other films)
    "Occasionally interrupted by a girl in a bikini."
  • Inhuman Eye Concealers: Humma Kavula wears very thick glasses with welding goggle-like rims that completely hide his eyes when in profile. In the middle of a conversation with Zaphod, he very casually begins cleaning them, revealing that his "eyes" are actually holograms projected onto the lenses; to Zaphod's shock, Kavula's real eyes are just sunken black pits in his face.
  • Insurmountable Waist-Height Fence: Ford closes a knee-high white picket fence gate on the Vogons, who are so extremely Lawful Stupid that they think they have to go around rather than stepping over or kicking down the fence. Note that he has to reach over to their side of the gate to lock it.
  • Internal Reveal: Trillian learns that Earth was destroyed, and that it was because Zaphod signed the approval for its destruction thinking they wanted his autograph. Arthur was there but kept it a secret from Trillian (partly under threat by Zaphod), then found out the truth from Trillian after they rescued her. Even Zaphod didn't know what he'd done until Trillian called him out.
  • It's All About Me: Zaphod for most of the film.
  • Jerkass Realization: Zaphod thanks to the POV gun. It's telling that his behavior and treatment of the others gets better after he's shot with it.
    Zaphod: (sadly) Oh, babydoll...
  • Karma Houdini: Zaphod was responsible for the destruction of Earth just because he's so mindblowingly dumb that he didn't bother reading a destruction permit before signing it. Besides a couple of slaps from Trillian and a Jerkass Realization, he had absolutely no repercussions for it, and got a happy ending.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Ford is played by American actor Mos Def and speaks with an American accent; his mentioning having come "not from Guildford after all" (albeit from Brooklyn, rather than a small planet in the vicinity of Betelgeuse) takes on a slightly surreal edge presumably unintended by Adams. Later, Arthur mentions wondering about Ford's atypical accent.
  • Laser Cutter: For slicing and toasting bread at the same time. With Star Wars lightsaber effects. They actually got royalties from Lucas to use them.
  • Lightbulb Joke: One of the questions Arthur proposes to the answer 42 is "How many Vogons does it take to screw in a lightbulb?"
  • The Load: Zaphod spends the latter half of the movie somewhere between this, The Millstone, and vaguely useful, because he's missing one of his heads. Ford actually has to drag him around in one or two scenes. Also, when they're getting shot at, he apparently thinks it's a dance party. Fortunately, Vogon soldiers make even the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy look good by comparison.
  • Love Triangle: Arthur, Trillian, and Zaphod; this was a background element in other versions, but is pushed to the forefront here.
  • Lyrical Dissonance: The last ever dolphin message was misinterpreted as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt to do a double backward somersault through a hoop while whistling the Star-Spangled Banner, when in fact the message was this: "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish." Cue a very upbeat and catchy tune with a choir singing about the impending destruction of the Earth. "The world's about to be destroyed / There's no point getting all annoyed / Lie back and let the planet dissolve around you"
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl: Trillian, as played by Zooey Deschanel. Deconstructed later when she realizes that the "boring" Arthur cares far more for her than the spontaneous Zaphod.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": "Um, people of Earth, this is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you are probably aware, plans for the development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy involve the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system. And your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition." We are shown shots of various locations around the world that show that every single person is screaming in terror, except for one serene woman who sips her tea.
    Jeltz: There’s no point in acting all surprised about it. The plans and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty Earth years. If you can’t be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that’s your own lookout. Apathetic bloody planet. I've no sympathy at all.
  • Matching Bad Guy Vehicles: The Vogon fleet is composed of identical dark grey ships. They're yellow in the novel.
  • Matter Replicator: As well as the infamous Nutrimat, Trillian shows Arthur a machine you can stick your face into and it will instantly create whatever food you're craving.
  • Medium-Shift Gag: After the Infinite Improbability Drive is used to jump to Viltvodle VI, everything is animated in stop motion yarn for a few seconds. Arthur gets nauseated, and the art cuts back to live action just as he vomits a yarn ball, leaving him with a yarn thread sticking out of his teeth.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Zaphod unwittingly signs the order to destroy the Earth, thinking he was signing an autograph.
  • Million to One Chance: The S.S. Heart of Gold has an Infinite Improbability Drive which causes Million to One Chance events to occur all the time. Not just Million to One, infinity to one, hence the name of the drive. Of course, which extremely improbable outcome you get... It was a plot device Adams conceived when he realized he'd worked the original story into a point where he was stuck and needed a quick resolution.
  • Mistook the Dominant Lifeform: In reference to the original stories, we see a flashback of how Arthur first met Ford: he pushed him out of the way as he tried to shake hands with an oncoming car (an actual Ford Prefect), having thought cars were the dominant life form on Earth.
  • Modesty Towel: Trillian is about to emerge from a shower when she asks Arthur for a towel, adding to the already well-established Most Versatile Object in the Universe gag.
  • Multiple Head Case: Zaphod Beeblebrox's second head.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Using "Journey of the Sorcerer" (the original radio/TV Instrumental Theme Tune) in the film; casting Simon Jones (Arthur Dent from the TV series) as the voice — and face — of the Magrathean security system; Zaphod accidentally referring to Ford as "Ix"; the Vogons sitting on fawns and smashing crabs.
    • In the Flashback Cut of Arthur and Ford's first meeting, we see Ford stepping out into the street to "shake hands" with an oncoming car, having assumed that they're the dominant species on Earth. The car is a Ford Prefect, from which Ford got his name (a joke that was infamously Lost in Translation, as the Prefect was sold only in England).
    • There's a Hyper-intelligent shade of Blue present in the first Deep Thought scene. Look to the left of the gates when they're opened.
    • When he finds his friends under fire on Viltvodle VI, Ford Prefect lets rip with "Belgium", which As You Know is widely regarded as the rudest word in the galaxy.
    • Ford mutters "Belgium" as a curse in a few other scenes as well.
    • The teaser trailer features the song "What A Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong, which was used in the closing credits of the last episode of the radio broadcast and the TV series.
    • There is a Restaurant at the End of the Universe - if you're feeling peckish. Make sure you travel in the right direction, though. In one direction is that restaurant, in the other is the Big Bang Burger Bar.
    • Arthur asking Trillian if Zaphod "has two more of anything else?" is a reference to the Zaphod costume from the TV series being designed to look like he has just that.
    • Marvin from the original TV series can be seen at the Vogsphere queue; Arthur even takes a Double Take while passing him.
    • The Guide's advice on what to do when you have no hope of rescue from being eaten by a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal is the same advice it gives when you're stuck under a boulder from the radio series.
    • The commentary on the DVD claims that one of the actresses who played Trillian prior to the film appears in place of the usual boozehound during the scene in the Bar and Groom. Whether this is Susan Sheridan or Sandra Dickinson is not made clear.
    • At the very end, when the Heart Of Gold flashes through several shapes via its Infinite Improbability Drive, the very last shape it assumes is that of Douglas Adams's face.
  • The Name Is Bond, James Bond: Arthur introduces himself several times as, "Dent. Arthur Dent." Which leads Slartibartfast to comment, "Late, as in the late Dentarthurdent."
  • Never Trust a Trailer: One of the trailers is set up as the Guide's entry on movie trailers, detailing tricks such as the inclusion of shots of violent explosions and scantily clad women which do not appear in the actual movie, implying the movie would be more clever.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: "Vogons are one of the most unpleasant races in the Galaxy. Not evil, but bad-tempered, bureaucratic, officious and callous. They wouldn't even lift a finger to save their own grandmothers from the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal without orders - signed in triplicate, sent in, sent back, queried, lost, found, subjected to public inquiry, lost again, and finally buried in soft peat for three months and recycled as firelighters. On no account should you allow a Vogon to read poetry at you."
  • Off with His Head!: Surgical variant when Humma Kavula takes one of Zaphod Beeblebrox's heads as collateral before their trip to Magrathea.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • "Oh, bollocks!"
    • Questular when she sees Marvin aiming the P.O.V. gun in her direction. Then he fires it at the Vogons, defeating them by giving them all his depressed views.
  • Ominous Floating Spaceship: The Vogon Constructor Fleet from Arthur's POV, depicted in all its megalophobia-inducing glory.
  • Overly-Long Gag:
    • Right before the Earth is destroyed by the Vogons, we get an Astronomic Zoom that goes from ground level to seeing the entire Earth in a dramatic series of fifty-five jump-cuts. With a musical beat for every single one.
    • Also the sequence on-board the first Vogon constructor when a microphone is dropped down to Jeltz that comes from the ceiling of the shaft in the middle of the ship, EXTREMELY high up.
  • Planet of Hats: Vogsphere, homeworld of the Vogons, who are a race of Obstructive Bureaucrats.
  • The Pollyanna: Eddie, the Heart of Gold's shipboard computer. He speaks with a consistently overly cheerful voice, even when the ship and its crew are in danger.
  • Poor Communication Kills: The dolphins made many attempts to alert mankind to the impending destruction of the planet Earth, but most of these attempts were misinterpreted as amusing attempts to punch footballs or whistle for tidbits. So they eventually decided that they would leave Earth by their own means. The last ever dolphin message was seen as a surprisingly sophisticated attempt at a double backwards somersault through a hoop while whistling the Star Spangled Banner, when in fact the message was this: "So Long, and Thanks For All the Fish."
  • The Power of Love: Subverted:
    Lunkwill: Rubbish, we don't want to be happy, we want to be famous!
    Fook: Yeah! What is all this "is she the one" tripe?
    Lunkwill: Take his brain!
    • However, Trillian disagrees. Even in a deep haze, she manages to mumble, "That's a good answer."
  • Pragmatic Adaptation: Zaphod's second head and third arm are made discreet until he chooses to reveal them, so that Zaphod could visit Earth without anyone taking a second glance. Also, it would look too goofy in practice otherwise, and allowed Sam Rockwell to act without having to deal with extra prosthetics.
  • Profane Last Words: The Mice, after Arthur gets free of his restraints, manage to utter, "Oh, boll-"
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Trillian, aka Trish McMillan.
  • Punch-Clock Villain: Invoked literally by the Vogons as Zaphod and crew escape the Vogsphere, and the Vogon President takes a bit of crab to the face. He then decides to lead the hunt for Zaphod "personally", but is interrupted by the whistles announcing lunch. All the Vogons immediately stop working, giving the heroes at least an hour headstart. The Vogons may be all about revenge for slights, but won't work through lunch!
  • Race Lift:
    • Ford Prefect is now played by a black American. The director/producers figured since Ford is an alien it doesn't really matter what his race is. It makes Arthur's comment "So, you're not from Guildford", and remarking that Ford's accent was sort of off, even funnier.
    • Trillian, who was Ambiguously Brown in the books, is white in the film.
  • Really 700 Years Old: Lunkwill and Fook are at least 17.5 million years old.
  • Retractable Appendages: Zaphod has a second head that retracts from his chest once in awhile. He also has a third arm that doesn't quite retract, but which he holds across his body so it looks like he's wearing a sash most of the time.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The Scintillating Jewelled Scuttling Crabs, which the Vogons enjoy smashing to bits with mallets. When Zaphod, Marvin, Ford and Arthur crash-land on Vogsphere, one crab starts running towards them, jumping and saying "yeah!", perhaps hoping to be taken away from the planet of abusers, but it gets crushed by the dropship's door.
  • Right on Queue: "I'm British; I know how to queue."
  • Robot Buddy: As usual, Marvin is a Deconstructive Parody of this trope.
  • Saved for the Sequel: Attempted with Humma Kavula. The Point of View Gun was clearly setting up a plot where he tries to brainwash everyone in the galaxy and take Zaphod's place. Too bad there won't be a second movie to make these things worthwhile.
  • Scenery Porn: The Magratheans' planet factory floor.
  • Sedgwick Speech:
    Marvin: I don't know what all the fuss is about, Vogons are the worst marksmen in the galaxy. [Zap] Ow. Now I've got a headache.
  • Seven Minute Lull: Arthur suffers one during the flashback to the party where Arthur and Trillian met. Arthur is criticizing the other party-goers for not recognizing her costume (Charles Darwin), and ends up blurting out "All these people are idiots!" when the record player gets bumped.
  • Sexy Shirt Switch: The first time we see Trillian (outside of the party flashback) is aboard the Heart of Gold where she's wearing a shirt with an extra sleeve draped around the neck, obviously one of Zaphod's.
  • Shackle Seat Trap: The mice trap Arthur in one when he meets them and the others in his house on Earth Mk. 2.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The lightsabre toasters, complete with authentic Lucas sound effects.
    • 2001: A Space Odyssey: The Heart of Gold resembles the Aries 1B Lunar Carrier and the frontal section of the Discovery with its dropships. According to the DVD commentary, the slapping creatures in Vogsphere are also meant to be anti-Monoliths; instead of inspiring evolution, they made the Vogons unimaginative.
    • On Vogsphere there's a vast alignment of giant and tall grey buildings without windows (which also double as the Vogon's spaceships) that looks very similar to the more nightmarish landscape of Sam Lowry's dream in Brazil, which is fitting as it's another story with Obstructive Bureaucrat antagonists.
    • The Vogon guard who grabs Ford and Arthur telling them "Resistance is useless."
  • Shout-Out to Shakespeare: Zaphod wants to "trip the light fantastic" with Questular.
  • Shower Scene: Trillian has a (notably chaste, from-the-shoulders-up) one after she was spattered with the saliva of a Ravenous Bugblatter Beast.
  • Sinister Geometry: The ships of the Vogon Constructor Fleet are rectilinear, riffing off the line about how "they hung in the air the way bricks didn't."
  • Spheroid Dropship: The movie has a lot of fun with this trope.
  • Spider Limbs: Humma Kavula.
  • Staggered Zoom: The movie used this as the camera zooms out past the Vogon ships at the beginning. And zooms. And zooms. And zooms...
  • Stiff Upper Lip: You can see Douglas Adams' mother sitting outside a cafe reading a paper even as the world ends. And is equally stoic when the world is remade— as if expecting it would be a minor inconvenience at best.
  • Stuff Blowing Up: The trailer, framed as the Hitchhiker's Guide entry on movie trailers, notes "the goal is to create a piece of advertising that is original and exciting, yet intelligent and provocative. In other words: lots of things blowing up, [cue montage of movie explosions] occasionally interrupted by a girl in a bikini."
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial: Zaphod's ad campaign:
    Zaphod Beeblebrox for President, building bridges between the stars
    In no way is he stupid, in no way is his brain impaired
    It's just not true, he's smarter than you - and he's better looking too
  • The Stoner: Ford, though subtle.
  • Tempting Fate: The moment Marvin remarks that Vogons are "the worst marksmen in the Universe", Boom, Headshot!.
    Marvin: Oof. {Beat} Now I have a headache. (collapses)
  • Thought-Aversion Failure: Arthur Dent, Ford Prefect, and Zaphod Beeblebrox have finally caught on to the fact that while they're on the plains of Vogsphere, paddle creatures stick up and hit you in the face every time you think something. Ford declares "Okay, don't think. Nobody think. No ideas, no theories, no nothing." Beat and then everyone is swatted simultaneously.
  • Thrown Out the Airlock: Lampshaded when the airlock door opens up from underneath them, instead of the opposing wall like it does with every other airlock scene like this.
  • Tricked into Signing: The President of the Galaxy (the vain Zaphod Beeblebrox) signed the document authorizing the destruction of Earth while thinking he was giving an autograph— though it's unclear whether someone deliberately tricked him, or if he's just that dim and just assumed it was an autograph.
  • Ungrateful Bitch: Trillian, after the rest came to rescue her. Though this is justified, since she found out that Zaphod is the reason Earth was destroyed. Although she's also angry at Arthur for not telling her about it, and becomes exasperated by his spinelessness when he explains that Zaphod threatened him if he told her.
  • Unusual Euphemism:
    • In-universe, Arthur thinks Zaphod's exclamations of "Humma Kavula!" are a strange curse word, until they actually meet him.
    • In the party flashback, Arthur also thinks that Zaphod wanting to show Trillian his spaceship is sexy innuendo.
    • While not explained in the film, "Belgium" is the most offensive word in the entire galaxy. Ford uses it as a curse a few times.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Done very cleverly after they use the Infinite Improbability Drive while they are all knit figures. Knit Arthur goes over to a trash can and lets loose a giant load of multicolored yarn. Once they go back to normal, you can see him pulling out more yarn.
  • Wham Line: When Slartibartfast announces they're going to start up Earth 2.0.
    Slartibartfast: Is... you know... anything you want to change? Something... you think your planet... could do without?
    (Arthur gazes out over the restored English countryside.)
    Arthur: Yeah. Me.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Zaphod has his third hand and second head surgically removed as collateral before going on the search for the POV Gun, but he never goes to get them back. See Saved for the Sequel.
  • What Is This Thing You Call "Love"?: The Encyclopedia Galactica, in its chapter on love, states that it is far too complicated to define. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has this to say on the subject of love: "Avoid, if at all possible." Unfortunately, Arthur Dent has never read the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
  • Where It All Began: The climax of the film takes place in Arthur's (reconstructed) home on Earth (2.0).
  • While Rome Burns: When the Earth is demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass, an old lady can be seen calmly reading a newspaper while everyone around her panics. The old lady is Douglas Adams's mother making a cameo appearance. Director Garth Jennings did not feel comfortable in giving her direction and, with no specific instructions on how to act in the scene, she just kept doing what she was doing while everyone panicked around her.
  • Withholding Their Name: Played for Laughs when Slartibartfast initially refuses to give his name because it's embarrassing.
  • Wiper Start: On an escape pod for a space ship.
  • Women Are Wiser: The Point of View Gun won't work on Trillian because she is "already a woman" and therefore naturally considerate. A subversion is hinted at in the same scene when the POV gun forces Zaphod to think about how poorly Trillian treated Arthur for seeming "boring."
  • The World Is Just Awesome: At the end when Earth Mk. II's lifecycle is starting back up. This is in stark contrast to Douglas' earlier opinion on things. Ultimately subverted when it ends on a Koyaanisqatsi-like view of society. Nature is awesome. People are... less awesome.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy


Love and Kisses, Zaphod

In the film of "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy," Zaphod Beeblebrox's stock with Tricia McMillan, a.k.a. "Trillian," tanks rather severely when she learns that he signed off on the order for the destruction of the planet Earth, thinking he was signing an autograph.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / TrickedIntoSigning

Media sources: