Movie Review: Guardians Of The Galaxy
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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.

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.


I am Groot!

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