On to the movie. Let me start off by saying I am a HUGE HHGTTG fan. I've read the books countless times, have the radio play on audiocassette, the TV series on VHS and DVD, and was lucky enough to meet Douglas Adams in 2000, and have an autographed copy of "So long and thanks for all the fish" I had...well, not HIGH hopes for the movie, but at least some expectations as to what they would leave out and what they would add in.
There was a lot to like about this movie, but there was also quite a bit to dislike. Mos Def did a decent job as Ford Prefect, but he never quire jelled as the universe-weary researcher or savvy traveller (Sorry, Rick Steves, for the trademark infringement) that I pictured in the books. He seemed like more of an accidental tourist (again, copyright infringement of Anne Tyler). The whole subplot of Humma Kavula was contrived and unnecessary, even though the McGuffin they sought helped to move along another subplot. And worst of all, Sam Rockwell as Zaphod Beeblebrox was the worst bit of sci-fi acting I've seen since...well, since the entire cast of Mars Attacks. The whole Elvis - cum - beachbum - cum - conman just was all wrong, and the two heads (one on top of the other) were a complete waste of time, and eliminated on of my favorite insults addressed to him: "Oh, go bang your heads together"
However, even these flaws were not fatal. Martin Freeman was dead-on as Arthur Dent (BTW, he had one the the best quotes in the whole movie, possibly in all of H2G2-dom. When facing a long line at a government office, he stands tall, squares his shoulders, and proclaims "Leave this to me, I'm British. We know how to queue.") Zooey Deschanal was charming and beautiful as Trillian, although I first mistook her for Maggie Gyllenhaal. Stephen Fry as the voice of the guide was a worthly replacement for Peter Jones, and Marvin (voiced by Alan Rickman) was definitley the star of the show. He looks like a bobblehead doll crossed with a stormtrooper's armor. I can't wait to get a wind-up Marvin of my own. The cameos (Simon "Arthur Dent" Jones as the Voice of Magrathea, the original Marvin standing in the government queue) were a welcome surprise, and Bill Nighy as Slartibartfast was appropriately understated (Am I the only one, or would this guy make a GREAT Doctor Who).
I can't say that I was pleased with the use of the Vogons as the vice-president's personal hit squad (speaking which, the actress who played the VP gave the character all the personality of a packet of wet crackers), and the plot made a hard left turn with the Humma Kavula storyline. Fortunately, they manged to get it straightened out before straying too irreparably from the path. I even liked the subplot between Arthur and Trillian, which was never really explored to my satisfacton in the books.
Overall, on a scale of 1 to 42, I'd have to give it a 30. I'm glad I didn't have to pay to see it (Thanks, mother-in-law, for the AMC theater pass), but I'll definitely watch it again on DVD, if for no other reason than to do a freeze-frame just before the credits and get a good long look at the man who started it all.