Uugh. Get prepared for a rave, there I said it straight off the bat I love this film! It appears I’m also not alone in this complete devotion to Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy; with the stunning comic hero adaptation raking in millions of box office takings worldwide and catapulting semi-unknown Chris Pratt into mega stardom. I say semi-unknown as Pratt has been a staple in ‘Parks & Recreation’ for some time; he was my shining light in ‘Her’ and also my favourite character from my rom-com guilty pleasure – ‘What’s Your Number’ in which he stars alongside his wife, Anna Faris. Pratt really; and I mean really steps up in his role as Peter Quill aka Star-Lord; he’s smooth and undeniably charismatic yet there’s a real likability and nice-guy factor that he brings to his performance that leaves the viewer feeling justified in there utter loyalty to the character and the actor.
It also helps that Quill is a child of the 80s, anchoring his pop culture references of troll dolls and Alf trading cards firmly in the loves of today’s 30-somethings (ahem…cough, cough). Plus, I’m going to call it now…Chris Pratt NEEDS to be cast in any sort of Indiana Jones reboot. You hear me Lucas & Spielberg? Seriously now, I’d watch Pratt crack the whip all day long; ok look it’s getting a bit Freudian now but you know what I mean – there’s a very pointed reference to ‘Indy’ that sets the perfect tone; Pratt’s the perfect mix of cheeky, down to earth fella and intriguingly attractive dude – definite prerequisites to become everyone’s favourite archaeologist.
Now that the Chris Pratt appreciation portion of this film review is out of the way; Guardians of the Galaxy works so well because it’s a romp; it’s a pure, fun ride with emotional pops that truly hit you in the guts, sat alongside what is essentially a comedy. I was crying both with choked up emotion, sure; but on the whole my tears were more from riotous belly laughs delivered by each of the main Guardian characters and also from the fringe players, which enriches the whole fabric of the film’s magic. Zoe Saldana has mastered the sci-fi roles in recent years’; see Neytiri from Avatar or Uhura from Star Trek, and yet she creates another, fresh, kick-ass, intelligent female character that just is – she’s not a super goody two-shoes nor is she a foul temptress – she’s just a regular green girl trying to get by in life! Dave Bautista nearly steals every scene he’s in and does a stellar job as Drax the Destroyer delivering some of the best lines – it’s perfectly measured, dry comedy that was an unexpected highlight for me. I felt very sympathetic to Rocket Racoon; I won’t say why, but geez, that little guy has a lot of heart and most certainly needed the acting chops of someone like Bradley Cooper in the recording booth lending his voice to this CG characterization. And Groot, well Groot is just lovely – everything about him is just pure love and wonderment with not a sniff of the Jar Jar Binks about him, which I’ll admit was a concern for me going into this flick; Vin Diesel does a great job at providing a pretty broad palette of emotion considering he’s got three words to work with. GOTG has a timeless quality to it, thanks in part to some wisely snaffled up 70s classics for the soundtrack.
I’ve been playing it non-stop since I’ve seen the film, with each perfectly selected track zapping me right back to the moment, feeling & scene from the film. David Bowie, The Jackson 5, 10cc…swoon. For a film I’ve seen only once, I’m delighted by how much of the narrative, cinematic shots and jokes that are bubbling up to the front of my mind to delight me, days after viewing. Which to me is the landmark of a truly well-made blockbuster, I’ve fallen in love and I want to go back again and again to this faultless, seamless world created by James Gunn (Slither, Dawn of the Dead, Lollipop Chainsaw), who helmed directing & screenplay writing duties. Don’t wonder if you should see Guardians of the Galaxy, just get up and go see it before it finishes it’s cinematic run. I was fortunate enough to go to Hoyts Wairau Park Cinemas to see GOTG, where they have the serious equipment bells & whistles to deliver the full experience I was after – like; a state of the art Christie digital projector, 5.1 digital surround sound and big cushy seats with loads of leg room. Yes, a film nerd needs to know these things. You seriously will not be disappointed by Guardians of the Galaxy; this is the neo-block buster, the shape of things to come – built on the cinematic classics of the past.
Academic Area: Ever wonder why you get so swept up and carried away by a story, simply because a song you know has been woven into the film? You perhaps never liked the song before, but now you can’t stop thinking about it; like me you’ve probably even found yourself scouring YouTube for links to some particular song, just because it was at ‘that’ moment in the movie you just watched? This is the film theory known as synaesthesia. Synaesthesia is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. Used properly, popular songs can be of great use to extend the narrative, have a listen to the lyrics when you’re watching & enjoy the waves of emotion that the perfect song & lyrics delivers to the overall viewing experience and your investment in the characters. Think about the use of ‘You Love Keeps Lifting Me’ by Jackie Wilson during Ghostbusters 2 as the boys walk the Statue of Liberty down main street New York; or how about when ‘Fortunate Son’ by Creedence Clearwater Revival blasts out as Forrest Gump lands into Vietnam for his tour of duty? These are just two popular and most likely widely seen examples of synaesthesia; but next time you’re watching a film see if you can pick out a synaesthesia moment of your own or let me know your favourite movie song in the comments section.
Have you seen Guardians of the Galaxy? What did you think of it? Comment below to share your favourite parts of GOTG.