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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Move Review:Guardians Of The Galaxy

Premise:A group of misfit aliens team up and steal a powerful artifact while also trying to keep it away from a villain planning genocide.

Cast:Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Starlord, Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Vin Diesel as Groot, Dave Bautista as Drax, Lee Pace as Ronan the Accuser, Karen Gillan as Nebula, Michael Rooker as Yondu Udonta, John C. Reilly as Rhomann Dey, Glenn Close as Nova Prime, Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill, Josh Brolin as Thanos, Benicio Del Toro as the Collector, Peter Serafinowicz as Denarian Saal, Ophelia Lovibond as Carina

Director:James Gunn

MPAA Rating:PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language

Genres:Sci-fi/fantasy, action

Notes:Takes place during Marvel's MCU phase 2. Images taken from IMP Awards and Rotten Tomatoes.

Pros:Rocket and Groot are fun. Some funny or tender moments.

Cons:Doesn't explain things well or smoothly. Derivative. A lot of characters who don't have any depth or importance. Failure to research details. Crappy-looking fight scenes.

Marvel is pretty strong in the movie department right now. While they had some issues with films like Iron Man 3 and Thor:The Dark World, they didn't lose their commercial success. They even have people raving about a movie about obscure and downright bizarre characters.

You know that when I talk about how much hype a movie gets, it usually means I'm about to say "I don't get it". I'm all for Marvel using characters that we haven't seen 5 billion times already, but I have some problems with the execution.

First, we have Peter Quill (he prefers Star-lord), a cocky womanizer and reckless daredevil who along the way becomes a hero. First, we have already seen a hero like this (with more charm to boot) before, some of whose scenes and lines they copied for this movie. We're also expected to believe that Peter remembers pop culture references that he hasn't heard or experienced since he was a kid, 26 years ago. Then come a few jokes that base their humor on the aliens' lack of Earth pop-culture understanding and then make the human look smarter. Why in a movie full of interesting aliens must the main focus be on the supposedly cool human character?

Then there's Gamora. I don't mind her, but we've already seen a female assassin with a tortuous childhood, a high body count, quite a reputation, and hand-to-hand combat skills in this universe (who was better developed as well). Drax was both a reckless brawler and a clichéd character with his dead family revenge story, and rather like Thor in his first movie. Rocket and Groot were the most interesting of the main cast, largely because they're funny, unusual species, and aren't irritating or too similar to previous characters.

The majority of the characters that weren't a member of the team got little to no depth, including the main villain. Don't know anything about Ronan the Accuser? This movie isn't going to help at all. And from his cameo at the end of Thor:The Dark World, you'd think the Collector plays a major role. Instead, he's there for one scene before he stops mattering (if he ever did). Thanos also gets a cameo, but his ultimate effect on the story is so insignificant that the only point of having him in the movie is to get the fans excited about seeing him again. Besides, he's losing his credibility as a villain because all he has done in this universe so far is threaten other villains if they don't bring him an Infinity Stone.

On the minor yet annoying bits, the tape Peter's mom made him more than 20 years ago not only still works, but has great sound quality. I'm not sure any music-playing device or analog recording would work well for that long, especially one that gets used constantly. And Peter still has batteries for the Walkman somehow. Plus, he goes out in space without wearing any kind of protective suit and he still survives. How? There are also a bunch of info dumps that when you think about them, are rather cringeworthy.

Overall, there was a lot this movie could (and should) have done better. Definitely not something I want to watch again and again.

Sex:As mentioned, Starlord is a playboy who has had some very close encounters with alien women. According to him, if you were to shine a black light around his ship, it would look like a Jackson Pollock painting. When he tries to escape in his ship, a woman he'd forgotten was there crawls out. He shows off scars he got from various female aliens, one of whom attacked him for cheating on her (he claims he was doing it for information because the particular species was undesirable). He ogles Gamora's butt and clumsily tries to hit on her. She tells him she won't fall for his pelvic sorcery.
Women wear tight-fitting and/or low-cut outfits. Men go shirtless. Several of the songs on Peter's mix-tape contain suggestive lyrics. A naked man is shown in a fetal position. It's suggested an old man is both married and unfaithful. A male prisoner makes a suggestive remark to Peter and strokes his face. Rocket suggests Gamora go seduce some people.

Violence:As with most movies of this sort, you'll see physical battles, gun play, dog fights, chase scenes, explosions, implied and referenced torture, and plenty of people ending up dead. Characters are stranded in space and nearly die. And the villain's plan will destroy an entire species if he succeeds. Touching the Infinity Stone causes extreme pain, if not death by disintegration. There are glimpses of the destruction the Infinity Stones have caused.
At a prison, nearly every inmate threatens Gamora and drag her off to kill her (they're stopped). Ronan kills a man with his hammer, the blood pouring out on some stones. Groot runs through a bunch of guys with a branch and swings it back and forth between two walls. Then he looks at his allies and smiles. He also forces branches up a guys nose and breaks a few bones. An arrow pierces and kills multiple people. Weapons electrocute people.
Peter's mom dies from cancer while he's just a kid. According to his rescuer, the alien crew that took him wanted to eat him. Drax tries to fight Ronan, only to be unceremoniously beaten. The Collector's slave girl is warned what will happen to her if she fails him, showing her tortured predecessor. People bet on what amounts to an alien cockfight. A couple of characters lose their (non-flesh) limbs. Drax mentions roasting and eaten raccoons. Rocket says he just might kill the whole team once they finish a job.

Drugs/Alcohol:While at a stop, both Drax and Rocket have a little too much to drink and get into a fight. Songs reference alcohol and drugs. Characters drink in celebration and once during a moment of stress.

Language/Insults:One or two uses each of "b**ch", "p*ss", "bas**rd", "wench", "wh*re", "b*gger", an implied "f**k", and "pr**k". Words like "G*d", "sh*t", "h*ll", "d**m", "vermin", "fricking" "d**k", "a**", and "crap" are also said. Quill flips the bird. Characters frequently call each other "idi*ts".

Spiritual:It's said that before the universe was created, there were the Infinity Stones. Some time after that, the universe "exploded into existence". (Anyone else find that a little confusing?) A major location is inside a celestial being's severed head. Peter's mom calls his father an angel composed of pure light. Ronan is called a zealot and a fanatic. He tells inhabitants of a planet to renounce their gods because salvation is at hand.
Rocket sarcastically wonders if Peter is some kind of saint. Gamora calls Star-Lord faithless. Someone comments he'll see his dead family again. A guy says just because he's as beautiful as an angel doesn't mean he is one.

So what was your opinion?

© 2015 by M.R.R.

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