News, Views, and Reviews
It would be easy for Marvel to play it safe and expand on existing material from their hugely successful Marvel Cinematic Universe. The Iron Man and Avengers movies alone have raked in billions of dollars for Marvel/Disney. Personally, I hold The Avengers movie as one of my most favorite movies of all time, and not just because of it’s cinematic achievement of merging story lines from several movies before. That is a great achievement, but its own merits, the direction, pacing, writing, action, and everything about that movie, is absolutely outstanding. After today, however, I feel it has been dethroned by another amazing Marvel movie: The Guardians of the Galaxy.
What makes this movie that much more special is that it is so original, so unlike anything we’ve seen from the MCU! The characters are from Marvel comics, and there will be connections to that MCU, but the Guardians can’t rely on the success of The Avengers or several movies before it. This is it, the whole package: original, compelling characters starring in an epic sci-fi adventure that will stand up to the movie greats before it! In only two hours, you will fall in love with and cheer for these characters, including a walking tree and a talking Raccoon!
Story: In 1988, Peter Quill is abducted by aliens. Twenty-six years later, we find him scraping by throughout the galaxy as a roguish scavenger, an outlaw called (only by himself) Starlord. His latest heist brings him in contact with other desperate characters, and the object of that heist could prove more dangerous to them – and the rest of the galaxy – than anyone could have anticipated.
Characterization: Chris Pratt leads an unlikely group of actors, (Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, and the voices of Vin Diesel and Bradley Co0per) portraying an unlikely cast of misfits, in a bizarre, unlikely “super-hero” science fiction adventure movie, all directed by James Gunn. As it turns out, everything works so, so well together! Anyone that had any doubts of this movie working at all, let alone being the most intense, funny, heart warming, amazing adventure that it is, should clear their minds, buy a ticket, and enjoy!
To describe the story and characters with any more detail than that will do the movie injustice. Part of the adventure, part of the fun is discovering things about these amazing characters and the galaxy they inhabit. The importance of this review is to convey how well made the GotG movie is. It is a bar raising MASTERPIECE.
Visualization: The desperate reaches of the galaxy are balanced by the idyllic paradise of Xandar. Space ships, vehicles, aliens, and all kinds of gadgets and weaponry are well represented, and some even stand out as pretty unique. Sometimes the action is quick and intense, and other times it is beautifully rendered in slow motion, but it’s usually easy to follow. Of course, all the brilliant acting performances, choreography, art style, and direction of GotG can only go so far – this is a movie that lives or dies by it’s special effects. This might sound like hyperbole, but this move HAS to win awards for the special effects! It has a talking Raccoon!
3D and IMAX: Of course I paid extra for a 3D IMAX ticket, and I can happily say that I do not regret it! The fantastic alien landscapes have to be seen in 3D! The visualization is so strong, however, that the movie will look amazing in any format.
Sound: Anyone that has seen the trailers will know that 80’s music is practically a character of this movie. Peter Quill maybe a scoundrel and a thief that doesn’t take things very seriously, but he’s intensely protective of his Sony Walkman and his one mix tape that reminds him of life on Earth. It may sound corny on paper, but witnessing a prison break out accompanied by the “Pina Colada” song or a breath-taking spaceship dogfight accompanied by David Bowie is just another unlikely aspect of GotG that works so well. When he’s not listening to that mix tape, the audience is treated to some fantastic orchestration (by Tyler Bates) that also works really well. Combined with everything else that is so wonderful about this movie, the sound and visualization help shape the masterpiece that is Guardians of the Galaxy.
Conclusion: Ignoring the naysayers, I had a lot of hope and anticipation for GotG. If anything, I may have set my expectations TOO high for such an unusual, relatively unknown property to be any good. Then, the reviews started pouring in that this wasn’t just a good sci-fi movie or a good Marvel movie, but a really GOOD movie. I am so happy that my anticipation, hopes, and expectations have been blown completely out of this world! I sincerely give a heart felt thanks to everyone involved! Thank you for creating Guardians of the Galaxy, one of my favorite movies of all time!
Guardians of the Galaxy launched into theaters Friday, August 1st, runs 121 minutes, and is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.
Stay tuned through the credits for two extra scenes!