Marvel's 'Guardians of the Galaxy' a fun flick for any moviegoer
Marvel's newest entry into the comic book-to-movie genre puts writer turned director James Gunn ("Slither," "Super") at the helm of "Guardians of the Galaxy."
Although I'm not a nerd, I am not totally ignorant to the World of Geeks, but, quite honestly, I had never heard of this comic book.
It did not help that the Powers That Be have cast a relative unknown (at least to me) in the lead role. Chris Pratt ("Parks & Recreation," "Everwood," "Moneyball") does a very good job as Peter Quill, yet the movie would probably benefit from a more well-known actor.
Then again, Harrison Ford and Carrie Fisher were not exactly A-listers when the first "Star Wars" movie arrived.
The casting also suffered when Zoe Saldana ("Avatar," "Star Trek") was given way too little to do as Gamora. Hollywood rules usually state that the second banana (even sexy, jumpsuit clad hotties) be more than just an eye candy Sancho Panza to the show's Don Quixote. Not a big fan of Saldana, I still felt bad that she was delegated to background furniture.
The other stars were not physically seen (as such) as Vin Diesel ("Riddick," "Fast & Furious") was merely the voice of Groot, a rather cute tree with ten times more charm than Gamora, and Bradley Cooper ("Silver Linings Playbook," "The Hangover") who was cast as the voice of Rocket, the homicidal raccoon. Professional wrestler Dave Bautista, who I also had never heard of, was cast as Drax, the muscle bound Igor of the group.
One decent second-tier role went to Michael Rooker ("The Walking Dead," "Cliffhanger") as Yondu Udonta, scavenger/villain who stole a few of the scenes that he appeared in.
John C. Reilly ("Step Brothers," "Talladega Nights") appeared as Corpsman Dey for the Nova Corps, which was led well by an over-the-top Glenn Close ("World According to Garp," "Mars Attacks") as Nova Prime.
Benicio Del Toro ("Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas," "Traffic") also flitted through as The Collector, a small humorous bit, with hardly any connection to the main plot.
But in truth, the actors could have been anyone, as the true star of "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the action sequences. Everything about the visuals screamed graphic novel, and it was all done with awesome CGI work.
The fact that the ending credits listed about two million CGI artists and their related craftsmen attests to the fact that this was darn near an animated film.
Yes, the plot was stable and the dialogue was very well written (by Gunn and Nicole Perlman), but the wham and the pow stole the show.
For all of the faithful watching it was total A+ material, and for those of us who were unfamiliar, it still became a fun ride through a fantasy world of death and destruction.
Gunn did not bore us with a huge backstory, but just enough details to bring us up to speed (as well as a teaser for more unexpected backstory in the next episode, which is due out in 2017), and then let us ride the ride.
The 3-D was dark (as usual) but seamless enough to make us believe that what was happening was for real, and the humor throughout was excellent, with so many 1980s references that it would be hard to sit and list them all.
After two viewings I still found cute little barbs from decades past and smiled with every one.
If you were born after 1985, you may not enjoy this movie as much, but you will still enjoy it. By itself, it is a very good space opera, but if you are a comic nerd, a sci-fi geek or a fan of just plain "fun movies," this is a solid pick.
Billy Summers is a freelance photographer who also reviews films for the Putnam Herald. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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