Thursday, August 7, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy 3D review

In Guardians of the Galaxy, we meet the adult Peter Quill aka Star-Lord (Chris Pratt) on a mission to steal a mysterious orb while dancing to Redbone's "Come and Get Your Love." (Video of Redbone below) It's a joyful scene. This alone makes it impossible to hate this film. I mean you could hate this movie but that would mean you hate puppy dogs. Director and writer James Gunn has taken a lesser known Marvel Comics property and turned it into a goofy but wildly entertaining action comedy.

Guardians of the Galaxy starts out in 1988. At a hospital, a boy Peter Quill is at the bedside of his dying mother. She asks for his hand and he refuses. She dies. Peter, distraught with grief, runs out of the hospital. The hospital sends out a gigantic spaceship to zap Peter since his family doesn't have health insurance. Okay, the hospital doesn't do that. A gigantic space ship does appear out of nowhere and kidnaps him. Okay, it's a little far fetched but this is based on a comic book, folks.

We flash forward twenty six years. Quill is an adult and has grown up to be a thief. He steals the aforementioned orb. Chris Pratt gives Quill a sarcastic, rebellious vibe. He has a nice comic touch. Anyway, Quill travels to Xanadu where he meets up with Olivia Newton John. Um... okay he actually travels to Xandar to sell the orb. Meanwhile, Thanos, the bad guy we saw in the end credits scene of The Avengers (2012) wants Ronan (Lee Pace) to get the orb. He sends Gamora (Zoe Saldana) an assassin who also happens to be Thanos' daughter to retrieve it. Saldana does an admirable job of playing an alien, unfamiliar with human ways. Her green make-up is simply remarkable. It does not look like body paint and the man behind it, David George, deserves an Academy Award.

On Xandar, Gamora and Quill are intercepted by bounty hunters, Rocket who's a genetically altered raccoon and Groot, (voice by Vin Diesel)a kind of walking tree. I'm not kidding about the raccoon and tree bit. Rocket and Groot are CGI creations. Bradley Cooper does the voice of Rocket. It's such a great performance that I forgot that Cooper was a human actor. All four fight over the orb but are captured by the Xandar police. They're thrown in prison where they meet Drax (Dave Bautista) who wants revenge on Ronan for killing his family. Gamora and Quill are able to convince the others that they should escape the prison and sell the orb rather than turn it over to Ronan. You see the orb can destroy planets.

I'm not sure that this film is close to the feel of the original comic. I didn't get a chance to read it. James Gunn has made a comedy with action. It's not a parody or campy. But if fans of the comic were expecting something serious, they're going to be surprised. And I hope they like it. The movie is respectful of its origins and has a lot of heart. It's hard not to cry at the beginning of the movie when Quill's mother dies. Still at its center, Guardians is a comedy and it all works. The seventies and eighties pop culture references, and the inability of the aliens to grasp human behavior makes some hilarious moments.

The film does have some small missteps. Gunn relies way too much on fast cutting in action sequences. At times you will find space battle sequences and other action scenes confusing especially in the last third of the movie. And comic or not, if a film claims to be science fiction, you can't have people floating around space without spacesuits regardless of the lame explanation in the movie. Additionally, Gunn should have reined in Glenn Close's over the top performance of Xandar's president. That byzantine hair style she wore was distracting.

The score for this movie is quite memorable. And compliments for the score of Guardians of the Galaxy must include the seventies and eighties pop songs. Quill runs around with a Sony Walkman, the kind that played cassette tapes. His mother had made a tape of her favorite awesome pop songs for her young son. And awesome, it is. Not only do we get "Come and Get Your Love" but there's Blue Swede's "Hooked On A Feeling" to Jackson Five's "I Want You Back." And don't forget Tyler Bates' score. It's everything you need for a heroic adventure. Bold melody and music that enhances the drama.

As for the 3D version of this movie, skip it. It was converted from 2D to 3D. And all the problems with conversions are here. There's only depth at times but very little pop. But worse is that the movie is too dark. I wanted more light on the screen. You're better off seeing this movie in 2D.

Guardians of the Galaxy is one fun, hilarious action movie. It won't win the Oscar for Best Picture but you'll have a great time. The grade is B Plus.

No comments: