Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
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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, Laura Haddock, Sean Gunn, Peter Serafinowicz, Christopher Fairbank, Gregg Henry, Tom Proctor, Nick Holmes, Max Wrottesley, Stan Lee, Nicole Alexandra Shipley, Brendan Fehr, Tomas Arana, Mikaela Hoover, Spencer Wilding, Alexis Rodney, Nathan Fillion, Alexis Denisof, Enzo Cilenti, Richard Katz, Enoch Frost, Ronan Summers, Ophelia Lovibond, Laura Ortiz, Marama Corlett, Stephen Blackehart, Bruce Mackinnon, Ralph Ineson, Rob Zombie, John Brotherton, Graham Shiels, James Gunn, Miriam Lucia, Habib Anibaba, Josh Brolin, Lee Edward Jones, Lloyd Kaufman, Joelle Koissi, Matthew David McCarthy, Stephen McDade, Serhat Metin, Diezel Ramos, Deborah Rosan, Gordon Round, Julian Seager, Leila Wong, Yusei
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It Doesn't get Any Better Than This!
Favorite Movie Quote: "We're just like Kevin Bacon."
A scavenger, abducted by aliens when he was just a child. A revenge-driven, articulate brute (at least HE thinks so!). A Heartless assassin. A foul-tempered weapons wizard. And a tree. Together, they must band together to save the galaxy from total destruction at the hands of a servant of Thanos.
The Merry Marvel Marching Society they ain't.
James Gunn's GUARDIAN of the GALAXY is a non-stop adrenaline rush, that starts at Warp Five, then gets REALLY interesting. Peter Quill, aka "Star Lord" (Chris Pratt) is thrown into an unholy mess when he steals an orb, not knowing its terrible and frightening power, and is sought after by (roll call!): Yondu Udonta, sans trademark mohawk ("The Walking Dead's" Michael Rooker), Ronan, the Accuser (Lee Pace), Gamora, Ronan's daughter (AVATAR's Zoe Saldana), and none other than Thanos himself (voiced by MIB 3's Josh Brolin), whom we met at the end credits of The AVENGERS. Also thrown into this fracas is Rocket Raccoon (voiced by The HANGOVER'S Bradley Cooper), whose foul temperament is equal only to his technical prowess; Drax the Destroyer (MMA Champ and EXPENDABLES star Dave Bautista), and the nearly-indestructible Groot (voiced by FAST and FURIOUS' Vin Diesel), a living tree and protector of Rocket, whose "linguistic skills" belie his very special talents (his only lines are, "I am Groot," whom Rocket can decipher, much like Timmy can understand Lassie's barking.)
The plot itself is paper-thin simple - keep the orb from the bad guys, who intend the destroy the galaxy. The real fun, however, is the interaction between the five principles. Though superior in every way, the gang follow Quill into the fray, risking life and limb, always against their better judgement. But don't for a second that this is just an engaging story. With fourteen Special Effects companies, over a dozen animators and an army of nearly a thousand FX artists, if there is a bigger film this year, this reviewer has not seen it. (side note: when offered the job of helming GUARDIANS, Gunn was told that he was being offered the lowest budget for a Marvel film, he mistakenly took his budget to be $140,000, not realizing that there were several more zeroes attached to that budget). However to his credit, Gunn put every single penny into the film, not wasting a cent on frivolous effects or extraneous gimmicks (except one). Coming from the humble beginnings of working for Troma Studios and helming the moderately successful cult film SUPER, Gunn squeezed every single penny of his $140,000,000 budget to give this reviewer the biggest "WOW" factor this reviewer has seen this year. The other delight was the storyline. This reviewer stopped reading comic books around the same time Jack Kirby and Stan Lee invented the "Guardians of the Galaxy," so, only knowing the barest of the character's canons, every invention was a delightful surprise. It was also a treat to see the characters known to this reviewer in the flesh. Characters such as Drax, Ronan, Thanos, the Kree, the Nova Corps with Nova Prime (Glenn Close), and The Collector (Benicio Del Toro), who was introduced in X-MEN: DAYS of FUTURE PAST, all looking exactly as this reviewer remembered them, those many decades past.
There will not be a more fun film this year.
On my personal rating scale of with "5" being drop everything and see the video now; if you're female, bear the producers' children and "0" being burn down the theater, murder the staff, and violate their dog, this movie earns a whopping "5.75!!!" GUARDIANS of the GALAXY has everything a blockbuster should have: a story then can be easily followed, likable characters, even the bad guys, big, BIG Special Effects, and most important, humor in all the right places. And explosions - don't' forget the explosions. Yet, GUARDIANS may not be considered for a Flicker Award for Most Wanton Destruction, a first for a comic book movie. Look (or listen) for cameos by Seth Green, Nathan Fillion, Rob Zombie, the obligatory Stan Lee cameo, and even an appearance by co-writer and director Gunn himself.
The film is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.
GUARDIANS of the GALAXY stars 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. Co-Written by James Gunn, Nicole Perlman, Dan Abnett, and Andy Lanning, and directed by Gunn, the film is in theaters now, in 2D, 3D, and 3D IMAX, which, for once, this reviewer recommends strongly.
And, true to the Marvel Business Model, stay for the End Credits, where this reviewer cannot determine whether it was a nod to the alternate Marvel Universe, or a thumb to the nose to George Lucas.
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