The movie follows the general plot of previous versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, though as with previous incarnations, there have been changes for this version. It also includes a song called "So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish" that is sang by the departing Dolphins at the beginning of the movie, and then again at the credits.
Arthur Dent is rescued by his friend Ford Prefect when the Earth is unexpectedly demolished to make way for a hyperspace bypass. The duo are captured by the Vogons, read poetry, then thrown out an airlock, where (against all probablity) they are rescued by the Heart of Gold, stolen by Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox, and accompanied by Tricia McMillan/Trillian (whom Arthur once met at a party) and Marvin the Paranoid Android.
It is at this point that the plot diverges from previous versions of the story. In this version, Zaphod is aware already of the Quest for the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything, and this is the reason he visits Magrathea. Also in this version, the Vogons remain in pursuit of the Heart of Gold throughout, at the behest of the Galactic Vice-President who wishes to "rescue" him. The love story between Arthur and Trillian is emphasized and more fully developed in this movie.
The Improbability Drive brings the ship to Viltvodle VI, home of the Jatravartids and Humma Kavula, who was Zaphod's opponent in the election for President of the Galaxy. Kavula has a small red cube that contains the coordinates to Magrathea, and offers them to Zaphod in exchange for a gun that can be found near Deep Thought. Humma requires a 'hostage' in order to ensure that Zaphod will complete the quest, and removes Zaphod's second head.
During their departure from Viltvodle VI, Trillian is captured by the Vogons and brought to their homeworld, Vogsphere. Our heroes go to the Vogon homeworld and try to rescue Trillian. The British bureaucracy is parodied when they are confronted by the amount of red tape that they must forge through to rescue Trillian. As Trillian is processed, she learns of the destruction of the Earth, which Arthur hid from her because of a threat from Zaphod. She also learns that Zaphod was the one who absent-mindedly approved its demolition. Arthur, Zaphod, and Ford manage to fill out the appropriate Presidential Prisoner Release forms to have Trillian released before she is fed to the Ravenous Bugblatter Beast of Traal and the crew escapes Vogsphere. The Vogons are going to pursue, but choose to take an hour for lunch first.
The Heart of Gold heads for Magrathea, where the company is separated - Zaphod, Trillian, and Ford meet Deep Thought, while Arthur meets Slartibartfast, and learns of his planet's origins. Beneath Deep Thought, Zaphod, Trillian, and Ford also find the Point-of-View gun, which is the object sought by Humma Kavula. According to the Guide, it was built by Deep Thought for a council of angry housewives who were tired of ending arguments by complaining to husbands that they "just don't get it, do they?" When fired, the Point-of-View gun exposes the target to the Point-of-View of whoever fired the gun. Trillian uses it to make Zaphod understand her conflicting feelings about their relationsihp.
The mice try to capture Arthur to extract his brain, and in a last-dtch attempt to distract them, Arthur finally manages to express his love of Trillian to her when he is not aware that she is awake. He tells the mice that the only question that matters to him is "Is she The One?" and says that the answer is yes. To this, Trillian replies that it is, "A good answer." However, the mice don't care and continue to try to take his brain away, but Arthur breaks free and destroys the two mice with his teapot, and they all learn the mice were the leaders of the world who asked Deep Thought what the answer to life, the universe, and everything was.
Once the mice are squashed, the heroes leave the recreation of Arthur's house, only to be confronted by a large host of Vogons again. While Zaphod and Ford attempt to operate Arthur's "spaceship" (which is in fact just a caravan), Arthur and Trillian try to retrieve the dropped Point-of-View gun. Marvin, who remarks that Vogons have terrible marksmanship, is hit in the head by a Vogon blast, and collapses.
Just as it seems that they are doomed, however, Marvin regains consciousness and picks up the nearby Point-of-View gun. He shoots all of the Vogons with the gun and they are exposed to his perspective; thus they all instantly become incredibly depressed and collapse.
As the planet is restored to status quo, Slartibartfast asks Arthur if there is anything that the Earth could do without, and Arthur replies, "Yeah, me." The movie ends with Arthur and his companions leaving the newly rebuilt Earth Mark II and reboarding the Heart of Gold, with the intended destination of The Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
- Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent
- Mos Def as Ford Prefect
- Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox
- Zooey Deschanel as Trillian
- Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast
- John Malkovich as Humma Kavula
- Anna Chancellor as Questular Rontok
- Warwick Davis as Marvin
- Alan Rickman as Marvin(voice)
- Stephen Fry as The Book
Official Site The official Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy film site.