Now this makes it unique among film that aren’t already direct by Gilliam, but the comparison doesn’t do it any favours. Mostly because the visual styles are so close, from the beautiful Shynola-made guide animations in between scenes, to the rubbery Jim Henson aliens. But also because it’s an exploration of the eternal battle between the English and the British, between a sensible hero and a surreal bureaucracy, through space rather than time or dream, and because it’s about beautiful English cynicism as it spreads through the universe.

This actually explains the most interesting casting. Zaphod is fanstasically annoyed, Ford is permanently hung-over, Alan Rickman hits the one note of Marvin bang on the head, and Trillian is… well, Trillian is a good reference point for Arthur, as in the books. But Martin Freeman basically plays Arthur as a repeat of his role in The Office, the last great examination of modern English/Britishness. And Bill Nighy steals the show as Slartibartfast, happy and excited to be doing work that he is entirely sure is of no use whatsoever.