Friday, August 22, 2014

Marvel keeps it fun: Guardians of the Galaxy

Since it's announcement, Guardians of the Galaxy has been seen as a huge risk for the currently successful Marvel studios. As the cinematic universe expands, and as the actors who made the universe popular become more famous (ie. Less likely to keep doing Marvel films) , the studio has had to add additional comic book franchises to its tent. Due to the joys of movie copyright, many of the obvious big name books are "stuck" with other studios who are unlikely to release these properties to Marvel/Disney. (X-men, Spider man and the Fantastic Four are all currently off limits) So Marvel took the gamble and have started to produce and plan films based on their less well known lines, after all they made Iron Man a household name when this project started.
The second big risk came from the choice of comic, Marvel's Cosmology is complex and often off-putting to even comic readers. The Guardians of the Galaxy are a basically unknown superhero team set in a weird 1970s sci-fi universe full of aliens and ancient gods. How would that go down?
Well a perfectly timed Hype machine and several well put together trailers later, apparently amazingly well. Once again a Marvel film does the ensemble cast well, something that so many other big budget films get wrong by making the film "the main character and his sidekicks". (It's almost always "his" before you point that out) The Avengers was perfect in this regard, creating solid roles for each of the main and even the minor characters.
The story follows Peter Quill, who nicknames himself "Star Lord", a galactic treasure hunter who was abducted from Earth as a child. While on a job to recover a mysterious ancient Orb for a client (with a good amount of double crossing of his partners) he is set upon by Gamora, daughter of the Mad Titan Thanos who is working for a rogue Kree warlord Ronin the Accuser. In the fight he is also attacked by Rocket and his houseplant/bodyguard Groot, bounty hunters looking to snag a high priced bounty put on Quill by his former allies. (As depicted in the previews) They all go to gaol where they meet a mad man named Drax who swears to kill Ronin for slaughtering his family. The aim is to escape and sell the orb and possibly save the Galaxy along the way.
It's hard to see how that synopsis would go down with a general audience who didn't know who Thanos was, what a Kree was or even may have a hard time accepting a character who is essentially a cybernetic Raccoon. But they do, and it works. Groot is now an internet phenom. Seriously, Groot.
Like all the Marvel titles to date Guardians takes itself exactly as seriously as it needs to, no more no less, it is a super hero movie and it is fun. It is also a great Sci-Fi film of the Space Opera Genre, the worlds it creates are solid and believable and created with some very well constructed mes-en-scene rather than confusing exposition. In fact the most expository parts of the film are quite fun, the now famous line up in gaol was a genius way of explaining just who and what these characters are. The action is also very smooth and has an almost totally absence of annoying cuts or cam shake. In fact these fight scenes are almost totally done straight up, some visual effects but no gimmicks and very good fight choreography. (Better than the choppy flat stuff in the Nolan Batman films and less overly choreographed than the Star Wars prequels)
But it is an ensemble character movie, and that is where it really shines. All of the characters are well fleshed out and have their moments in the spotlight. In fact I found Quill to be probably the most weakly developed character, with most of the development of his background tacked on at the end of the film. I feel a little too heavy handedly as well, his journey from rogue to planet saving hero is organic and works without stuff being awkwardly jammed in at the end.
To this date I don't think there has been a bad film in the Marvel franchise yet, a couple of average films but no bad ones. Guardians is defiantly at the good but not great end of the scale, its not at the heights of Iron Man or Captain America: The Winter Soldier , but it is light years (see what I did) ahead of the majority of Sci-Fi action flicks in terms of pacing, story and characters.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Do you know what day it is?

Today one of the most wonderful movies ever made, possibly the best US attempt at an unconscious  Jerry Cornelius film, "The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai: Across the 8th Dimension" turns 30.
On this hallowed occasion check out this awesome bunch of trivia:
Or go watch the movie, the whole thing is on Youtube so no excuses. (As well as most streaming services in countries that have those... sniff sniff)
Why? Because Jeff Goldblum in chaps that's why.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday once again, some delays expected

You know I coulda been a contender? :P
With life handing me setbacks to me getting this blog to the next stage I wanted it to get to, I thought I was back on track. I had three review/articles outlined to do and two more for "It rolled" and then...
Well then my primary HDD decided it would be awesome to drop dead on me. So currently operating with duct tape, hope and my old Win-7 box.
I hope to see Guardians of the Galaxy shortly, all the cool kids seem to be raving about it and and I am really interested to see the direction they are planning to go in. (Especially seeing how unexpectedly good Captain America: The Winter Soldier was)
Well speak soon!