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Movie Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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guardians of the galaxy movie review by Adam Frazier

Guardians of the Galaxy
Director: James Gunn
Screenwriters: James Gunn and Nicole Perlman
Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio del Toro
Marvel Studios | Walt Disney Studios
Rated PG-13 | 121 Minutes
Release Date: August 1, 2014

I’m a space invader, I’ll be a rock ‘n’ rollin’ bitch for you.” – David Bowie

James Gunn just saved an entire generation of children from having shitty, uncool childhoods. Guardians of the Galaxy is an epic, action-packed space adventure – a freewheeling, infinitely charming film destined for cult status.

Directed by Gunn (Super, Slither), Guardians of the Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) is the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by genocidal extremist Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).

Pratt’s Quill is a mix of Han Solo, Marty McFly, and Peter Venkman. Motivated by fortune and glory, he is a brash scoundrel – a sarcastic, world-weary bandit who is secretly sweet-natured. Abducted as a kid in the ’80s and raised by intergalactic smugglers, Quill is a stranger in a strange land universe. All he has left to remind him of Earth is a Troll® doll, a Sony Walkman, and Awesome Mix Vol. 1 – a cassette of ’70s pop hits handpicked by his mother.

To evade the ruthless Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of criminals: Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a gun-toting raccoon; Groot (Vin Diesel), a sentient tree creature; the enigmatic assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), and the vengeful Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). When Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the threat it poses, the self-proclaimed Star-Lord and his team of misfits must make a stand against Ronan and save the galaxy from complete and total annihilation.

Pure. Joy. That’s the only way I can describe Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy. I am absolutely jubilant after seeing this film. Great characters, inspired space fantasy action, a tight, fast-paced script, an amazing soundtrack – it’s the most fun I’ve had at the movies in my adult life.

Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) in Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy is part Roger Corman and part George Lucas – a weird, irreverent amalgam of ’80’s gems like The Ice Pirates, Masters of the Universe, and The Last Starfighter. How I envy the preteens of 2014, that they get to experience a movie every bit as entertaining and emotionally satisfying as Star Wars – those lucky, selfie-taking bastards!

Sometimes we watch a film that reminds us of the power and potential of cinema – what movies can be. Other times, we see a film that reminds us of what movies used to be – what they meant to us as kids – and the sense of pure, unadulterated bliss and awe that made us fall in love with them in the first place. That’s Guardians – a Moonage Daydream that exudes charm and swagger while delivering big laughs with a huge heart.

I was truly transported – taken away from the mundanities of life and shot into space, aboard a spaceship with a talking raccoon and an anthropomorphic tree creature, and for 130 minutes I was smiling ear-to-ear, my eyes welling up with sweet geeky tears.

When Gunn’s Guardians and Whedon’s Avengers eventually cross paths, it’s going to be a mind-blowing experience. I can already picture Quill and Stark quipping while Gamora and Black Widow lay waste to hundreds of bad guys, all while Rocket and Groot are gleefully raising hell with a rampaging Hulk. It’s the stuff dreams are made of; character-driven storytelling that makes no apologies for being out-and-out fun.

Gunn chose wisely when he selected Pratt to take on the role of Star-Lord. His comedic timing fits perfectly with the film’s devil-may-care tone. He handles the heartfelt, dramatic moments with ease too – and those moments resonate with us because Pratt is just so charming and (pardon the pun) down-to-earth.

Equally impressive are turns from Saldana as the deadly-but-compassionate Gamora and Bautista as the literal-minded Drax. If we’re talking about scene-stealers though, it’s all about Rocket and Groot. Watching these two bounty hunters interact with Quill and the rest of the Guardians is pure movie magic. Groot – who can only say “I am Groot” – trades barbs with Cooper’s street-smart raccoon and we never miss a beat – just like Han and Chewie. Diesel’s talking tree is a complex, sweet, and totally bad-ass character that will win over even the coldest, most cynical hearts.

Optimistic, infectious, and entirely eccentric, Guardians of the Galaxy is a total blast. I can’t stop thinking about this movie. I just want to give James Gunn a big, awkward, lasts-too-long hug for bringing this strange, delightful universe to life. I’m hooked on a feeling. I’m high on believing.

Trailer

I am Groot!

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