Thursday, 7 August 2014
FILM REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
So who needs a review of this movie from me? It's the summer blockbuster. It's been, mostly, glowingly reviewed all over the place. The only people who haven't heard of it are those completely uninterested in new films in the cinema. So what can I say about it that hasn't been said already? Probably nothing.
But that's never stopped me before.
First off, it's got all the depth of a blank sheet of cheap paper. It's a pure popcorn movie. It also happens to be a very well done superior popcorn movie which is pretty much what I expected. Director and co-writer James Gunn hasn't done a lot of stuff but I've seen most of it -Tromeo and Juliet (writer, for Troma, and head honcho Lloyd Kaufman gets a cameo in GOTG), Dawn of the Dead (writer, the surprisingly good remake of the classic George Romero film), Slither (writer/director, excellent horror-comedy), and Super (writer/director, a dark look at an ordinary but obsessed man who dresses up as a superhero to get his wife back)- so I was expecting him to come up with a really good movie and he did. He's now hero of the month just as Joss Whedon was with The Avengers a couple of years back and it's nice to see someone with real talent and a geek sensibility getting some deserved acclaim. But then I would because his stuff touches so many of my cultural and movie bases.
So what's good and what's less good about it?
First let's skip all the action scenes, particularly the space battles, of which there too many, if well done, and also the rather frenetic pace which can be a little hard going at times.
The good guys get all the good dialogue, especially the witty lines. the bad guys are very bad and very humourless. The women tend to get short-changed. While Karen Gillan proves she can be an effective bad guy/girl she's largely wasted. Zoe Saldana is okay but not as interesting as her other heroes. Yes, even less interesting than a walking plant with a three word vocabulary but then it's not what he says as how Groot says it and he delivers the film's most poignant line when he changes a personal pronoun near the end. Rocket, the angry furry experimented-on bipedal creature is great and, like Groot, you forget he's a cgi creation. Wrestler Dave Bautista has won a lot of fans with his portrayal of the revenge-obsessed Drax who completely fails to understand the concept of metaphor. Chris Pratt has vaulted to the status of superstar with his layered witty Peter Quill aka Starlord ("Who calls him that?" "He does.").
All the heroes (except Groot unless I missed it) get their back stories slotted in albeit often rapidly or info-dumped.
The film is also packed with excellent actors in either supporting or cameo roles including Michael Rooker, Benicio Del Toro, British character actor Christopher Fairbank (who's in it for more than the one scene I was expecting) and many more including Nathan Fillion as the voice of a one-scene cgi character who gets two of Groot's fingers up his nose. It's the sort of film that, on DVD, film buffs and geeks (like myself) will be pausing to check the background details for in-jokes, esoteric references, and easter eggs, and replaying scenes.
So I've got minor quibbles but I enjoyed it a lot and I'll probably like it even more when I can follow all the dialogue on the DVD (hooray for subtitles) as, because of the frequencies used for cinema viewing, I tend to miss odd bits.