Considering how quickly copies of ‘The Guardians Of The Galaxy’ have vanished off my local supermarket’s shelves in the past week, it won’t be much of a guess what will be opened on Yuletide morning this year for a lot of teens and probably adults. My first reaction while watching it is the next ‘Star Wars’ is going to have to consider this film as its nearest rival to beat for spectacle.
I’m more familiar with the original Guardians Of The Galaxy led by Vance Astro than this team and although I suspect Yondu (actor Michael Rooker) was included to provide that link, he is nothing like the original and I don’t just mean the absence of his red fin and is more thuggish than mystical.
In fact, this team didn’t want to be a team. Brought together by circumstances beyond their control, well unless they were thieving a precious dangerous gem is seen as such, they then find they had to keep it out of the hands of the Kree judge, Ronan the Accuser (actor Lee Pace) and Nebula (actress Karen Gillan). Some of these have only a bare resemblance to the original comicbook versions, although these might have changed by the 90s onward.
Peter Quill (actor Chris Pratt) was kidnapped as a pre-teen by galactic thieves and trained by them rather than eaten and occasionally goes by the moniker Star Lord. A former emissary of Thanos, Gamora (actress Zoe Saldana) is quite close to the original but considering how detailing is more ornate that the originals, I was surprised that she lacked the yellow make-up around her eyes, although I suspect somewhere someone would have thought that would make her look odd (!!). Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) is a little more aggressive than I remembered but is certainly the break-out character and a technology whizz. Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) is a sentient but dim tree who acts first than thinks and more like a giant baby seeking approval. Drax (actor Dave Bautista), sometimes called the Destroyer, who has a single motivation to kill Ronan for murdering his wife and daughter (not Heather Douglas aka Moondragon this time apparently).
The plot is simple. Steal the orb containing the gem, keep it and stop the bad guys, especially Ronan, getting it and in turn, frustrate Thanos who gets a fill on-screen cameo this time. The fact that it high speed will keep your head focused on what is happening. All helped by the fact that the motivations and aims are always kept to the fore with a spice of humour. It’s essentially criminals with consciences and an antithesis of teams like The Avengers.
There are cameos from other Marvel characters, including one of the giant Celestials. Principally, if you’re even slightly familiar with the Marvel Universe, you will recognise various planet names and species even if their appearances are changed slightly. The Nova Empire from Xandar might not all be wearing the uniform familiar with Richard Ryder back in the 80s, will at least recognise the symbol from time to time. About the only ones missing are the Skrulls (are they being reserved for the Fantastic Four reboot?) and the Shi’Ar (perhaps they are too far away) and that nice Brotherhood of Badoon. You’ve always got to have something in reserve.
‘The Guardians Of The Galaxy’ has raised Marvel’s own profile even more in the cosmic direction and does make me wonder if they’ll go in a similar way with other cosmic beings like Adam Warlock, Thanos’ true adversary, and certainly Starhawk has to be considered if not solo then certainly for the sequel. Effects wise, one has to wonder what will be done with Doctor Strange. In the meantime, speculate what this team will do next before a sequel is released.
(region 2 DVD: pub: Marvel/Disney BUA0219201. 1 DVD 116 minute film with minimal extras. Price: about £ 9.99 (UK) although that can vary)
cast: Chis Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace and Karen Gillan
check out website: www.marvel.com