November 28, 2014

Guardians of the Galaxy

James Gunn, 2014
A group of space criminals team up to defeat Ronan the Accusor (Lee Pace) from destroying the galaxy with a small orb that he is in pursuit of.

Guardians provides some star-gazey visuals on a scale not really seen since Ridley Scott's Blade Runner. In fact, the movie itself has some of the workings of a modern day Star Wars (mostly due to the brisk battle scenes and diabolical antagonist), but because of the elementary dialogue - it ultimately becomes a not-as-funny version of Spaceballs starring the Blue Man Group. Much of the jokes fall flat, almost as if the closest punch-up writer was literally in another galaxy. To be fair it's a movie clearly written for 12 year old boys. Chris Pratt continues his 2014 campaign of being the Seth Rogen of 2010, or the Zach Galifianakis of 2012. His success is understandable, he has the sort of every-man charm that puts an audience behind it's hero. But on-screen charisma is not given the right amount of fuel to really take it far, like he did in 2014's great/much-more-compelling The Lego Movie. Instead, Guardians becomes mostly masturbation fodder for boys that have grown sick of seeing Zoe Saldana in Avatar blue and now warmly welcoming the idea to see her in green. But while the dialogue weighs the movie down, the cosmic scenery and incredible visuals are probably enough to justify a single viewing. There is a scene in which the ship is cruising through the remains of an old giant which has turned into a mining capital. David Bowie plays in the background as they glide through the glittering metropolis, and the scene is quite spectacular. The movie explores the tired trope of a bunch of characters in pursuit or defending a single item. We've seen it many times: in Men in Black, The Fifth Element, The Lord of the Rings. Guardians will probably expose a new generation of kids to songs that would be better heard while watching Reservoir Dogs, but they will discover that later on in life. But for the adults of the world who endured the two hour watch, it's disappointing that the massive $170M budget was spent on CGI and music licensing and not on better writing.

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