Guardians of The Galaxy (2014, 2 hrs 1 min)
Be forewarned. I am about to rave about a film.
I wasn’t going to write a review for Guardians of the Galaxy because all I could think was “It was so amazing! I just had an eye-gasm! End of story.”, but after collecting my thoughts, I found there was plenty to comment on, even if I am, as I warned you, going to rave about it, and even though generally, I am not a Marvel Studios movie fan (yeah, you heard me right!). So here it goes…
Taken from the long running comic of the same name, the story brings us our main character, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) a.k.a. Star Lord, who was abducted as a child after his mother’s death by a team of crusty alien “ravagers” lead by Yondu (Michael Rooker). They raise him to be a fast talking, scavenging thief who steals a mysterious orb. This one act throws him into an action packed sci-fi caper with four ragtag criminals, ranging from the foul-tempered Rocket the Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), to the gentle but protective talking tree/human hybrid Groot (Vin Diesel); the beautiful green-skinned assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and a massive muscle-bound alien Drax (Dave Bautista). Backed by a great old school soundtrack, this crew of unlikely heroes weave through many hits and misses to thwart the plans of evil duo of Thanos and Ronan and save the galaxy.
What was so amazing about this film? Let’s start with the script that was written by director James Gunn ( of the cult hit Slither) and Nicole Perlman. I have not heard such funny, snappy dialogue that kept the momentum until the last frame in a long time. Simple language that was put together in clever, witty bursts, mastered by the cast as they kept the comedic energy and mood at a constant, even during some more touching moments.
Next was the visually stunning sets, costumes and characters. It made me think of the last Star Trek movie. Like Star Trek: Into the Darkness, Guardians of the Galaxy was overflowing with beautiful costumes (I really loved Gamora’s outfits), alien life forms with pink, blue and green hued skins and background scenics that pushed your imagination. It also makes me think that this is something to whet the sci-fi appetite for those who yearn for the next Star Wars film. Throw in some well cast stars, such as John C. Reilly as Corpsman Dey, the deadpan officer who catches the motley crew; Glenn Close as Nova Prime the leader of the officers, and hello, Karen Gillan of Dr. Who and Oculus fame as Nebula, Gamora’s evil sister, and Michael Rooker as Yondu the snaggled tooth scavenger with a pet needle, as well as many others to give you great performances no matter how small their role. My personal favourite was Drax. Wrestler turned actor Dave Baustista was really entertaining as the alien who took all things literally, not to mention that he wore only a pair of tight trousers and displayed his incredible torso for the entire movie. And being an animal lover, it’s no surprise that a CGI raccoon named Rocket would steal my heart! Bradley Cooper (who will always remain in my good books for doing The Midnight Meat Train) was just hilarious as the irritable genetically modified Procyon lotor. Wait for the scene when he has tears in his eyes. It will kill you with the cuteness. Rocket was the perfect foil for Chris Pratt’s portrayal of Quill. With his comedy background and boy next door good looks the combo worked like a charm for this seat of his pants character. So glad he was the final choice since rumour has it he had to audition a few times to secure the role. Oh and did I mention the dancing? Quill could bust a move and won me over as I am known to spontaneously jazz hands my way through the day.
Those of you who follow British actors should keep your eye out for Peter Serafinowicz as Denarian Saal, one of the officers under Nova Prime. He had his own bizarre comedy show and was in Shaun of the Dead as well as countless voice acting gigs, and Emmett Scanlan as the head riot guard in the jail where our heroes are held. Scanlan is most recently know for his living dead character Simon from the great Brit zombie series In the Flesh.
Finally, hats off to the incredible team that created the aerial fight scenes in the final act of the film. The amount of hours that went into creating the seamless space crafts as they twisted and blasted each other was well worth it as myself and the rest of the audience in the theatre were just blown away by the spectacle of it all.
I could go on for days about this film, but really, do yourself a favour and just go see it this summer. I didn’t think you could have this much fun at the movies!