Directed by James Gunn. Written by James Gunn, Nicole Perlman, Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning. Starring Chris Pratt (Peter Quill), Zoe Saldana (Gamora), Dave Bautista (Drax), Groot (Vin Diesel), Bradley Cooper (Rocket)
Bottom line: If you want pretty graphics and comic book, sci-fi action, and tickets are cheap than maybe give it a try, otherwise, I would suggest you pass.
You might wonder why I have the range of 2-3/4 for the star rating for this film. I hesitate to assign a star value to Guardians of the Galaxy. My feelings when leaving the movie theatre were pretty positive; good 3D effects, good action, funny at times, good graphics. These are the things that might lead a movie to have a 3/4 but I distinctly remember feeling this way when leaving the theatre the first (and second) time I saw The Avengers. The thing is, The Avengers does not hold up -at all.
I think the reason I rated it so highly on the initial pass was because I was starved of movies. I hadn’t seen anything in a while, let alone a blockbuster CGI-fest in 3D. Even though my bar was set low, I wanted to be amazed and so I was. I’d like to wait a couple weeks or months before assigning an official star value to Guardians of the Galaxy because I’m curious to see how it holds up. Now, that said, I’d still like to talk about my initial thoughts.
Guardians of the Galaxy’s big selling points are the graphics and action. The graphics are really good and the 3D effects (I saw this in 3D) are well done. Even though I saw this in 3D, I don’t think the experience would be all that different in 2D. The action sequences in 3D movies can sometimes be hard to parse. They can be too choppy. That was a major qualm of mine with The Hobbit. What is the point in shoveling money into the steam engine of CGI if you can’t see anything? Fortunately, the action in Guardians of the Galaxy is, for the most part, easy to watch. A great example of this comes with the opening credits.
Peter Quill (Pratt) is listening to a cassette tape while dancing around ruins on an alien planet. The credits share the screen with him and the tempo matches the music. I’m usually not one to enjoy dancing sequences but it set the stage for the rest of the movie; I just had to relax and have fun.
Now, this credit sequence isn’t quite the introduction to the film. We first see a young Peter Quill in a hospital listening to his cassette tape entitled “Awesome Mix Vol1.” His grandfather tells him to come and see his mother. His mother, dying of cancer, gives him a letter and a
device birthday gift. She tells him to open it when she is gone. She holds
out her hand to him but he can’t look at her let alone hold her hand and she
dies. He runs out of the hospital to a misty field where an alien spacecraft
appears and abducts him. We jump forward in time to see the
The characters, much like the alien worlds, are pretty good overall. First, we have Peter Quill, who reminds me of Chris Pines’ Capt. Kirk. He’s cool, smooth, funny, male, and white. We have Gamora (Saldana), a highly trained/bioengineered assassin/love interest. She’s fine. Rocket (Cooper) is fine too. He’s the spunky, tiny, bombastic, intelligent, Han Solo to the Chewy that is Groot (Diesel). His feistiness is the general source of humor. Was he funny? Sure, at times. The humor overall is sophomoric but, it’s a comic book movie – whadaya expect?
I think the casting of Bautista as the large warrior Brax and Diesel as Groot were marvelous (no pun intended). Groot is a large, strong, tree character whose only vocabulary is “I am Groot.” Brax is more oratorically capable though only to the extent of being another comic relief. Brax’s people, Rocket explains, have no such things as metaphors; they go right over his head. Brax retorts, “Nothing gets over my head…my reflexes are too fast…I’d reach up and catch it.” It’s a simply joke but the timing is right on and they take it one step longer than I expected. Knowing this was a comic goldmine they dig this well until it’s dry.
If you are in the mood for sci-fi graphics and comic book action, The Guardians of the Galaxy, might be worth watching but only for a matinee. I would not recommend paying full price for this.