HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Guardians of the Galaxy
HTS Overall Score:93
“Guardians of the Galaxy” has to be Marvel’s Hail Mary. It was a movie, that by all early inclinations, should NOT have done as well as it did. “Guardians” is a one of Marvel’s lesser known comics, a comic that doesn’t take itself too seriously and features some unknown heroes. I mean, when you see a trailer about a bunch of people that no one in the public Marvel movie universe has heard of, with a talking raccoon and a humanoid tree that says three words, a few eyebrows were raised. I have to admit that I was one of them. I knew who they were, being a lover of print comics, but even I was worried how they would fit into the established universe that had been paved by “Iron Man”, “Hulk”, and “Captain America”. Color me extremely surprised when the theatrical reviews started pouring in with overwhelming praise and support. I had to go out and see it for myself and I was not let down in the slightest.
The movie revolves around a ragtag group of heroes who have to band together to save the galaxy from a fanatic Kree warrior named Ronan (played by an almost unrecognizable Lee Pace under a few gallons of makeup and body armor). The Kree and the Xandar have been at war for years and now that a peace treaty has been agreed upon, Ronan goes mad with anger. Teaming up with Thanos, he plans on destroying all of Xandar and with the help of Thanos’ two adopted daughters, Nebula (Karen Gillan) and Gamora (Zoe Saldana), he will crush the planet once and for all. For his help, Thanos requires only one thing, an orb containing one of the infinity stones which will give him power beyond compar. The only problem, that orb just so happens to be in the hands of a young human thief by the name of Peter Quill, aka Starlord (Chris Pratt). Sending out Gamora, Ronan attempts to retrieve the orb, only to find out that Gamora has plans of her own. In a clash epic proportions, Gamora, Peter, Drax (a vengeful alien who will do anything to avenge his family’s death at the hands of Ronan) and a talking raccoon bounty hunter by the name of Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) with his personal bodyguard Groot (a humanoid tree), are forced into the same boat. That boat being a heap of trouble and a prison sentence.
Breaking out of jail, the unsuspecting and unintentional heroes soon come to realize just what it is they possess. Now their consciences come to the surface as they realize just what sort of pain and suffering Thanos and Ronan will unleash upon the galaxy. These infinity stones just happen to be the power of an entire galaxy’s creation forged into physical being. Much like the Tesseract and the Aether from “Thor 2”, it is a force of unspeakable power and soon to be in the hands of a madman. Realizing that they need to turn this over to the Xandarian government and the Nova Corp (a force of intergalactic police officers with incredible power of their own), they head out to Xandar only to be intercepted by Ronan and Nebula. With the orb gone, and with seemingly no chance at getting it back, they all band together to do the impossible. Take back the orb and kick Ronan’s butt back from whence he came.
As I mentioned earlier, “Guardians” is one of Marvel’s most ambitious projects in more ways than one. It certainly had the odds against it with the unknown angle, but it was also extremely ambitious in the whole world building aspect as it broadened the scope of Marvel movies from Earth and Asgard to an entire GALAXY of beings and planets. Simply put, “Guardians” resembles “Firefly” with aliens. Tons of worlds, the inclusion of the Collector, Thanos himself, Ronan and the Kree, the introduction of the famed Nova Corp (my only gripe with this one being they glossed over the fact that the Nova Corp themselves are INCREDIBLY powerful, something I hope they remedy in “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”). The Ragtag group of social misfits coming together is nothing new, but the types of characters thrown together certainly is. We have a raccoon that was experimented on until he gained sentience, a walking tree that can only say three words, an alien who only speak in literal terms, a cybernetically enhanced assassin and a womanizing smart mouth human. However, that’s what makes the movie special. Each of these characters are given a life and personality all their own. Rocket steals a lot of the show with his wise cracks and humor and this is the only time I think that I have ever been brought to tears by a talking tree that can only say 3 words. I liked Chris Pratt in his portrayal of Starlord and Zoe did a solid job as Gamora. The one that REALLY took me by surprise was Dave Bautista as Drax the Destroyer. I was certain he was going to be the weak link in the cast and he knocked it out of the park! My only real complaints with the cast is Michael Rooker as Starlord’s former boss, Yondu and John C. Reilly as the Nova Corp commander Dey. They both just seemed out of place. I understand that John C. Reilly was chosen for his comedic talents due to the humorous nature of the film, but still, it just felt off.
This brings me to my last piece of admiration for “Guardians”, the humor. Marvel super hero films have always had a solid mix of humor in them, some more than others, but “Guardians of the Galaxy” is in a different class. Much like the comics, this is a movie that just doesn’t take itself too seriously. From the opening scene with adult Peter stealing the Orb you know that there’s a lighthearted air that just won’t go away as Peter dances his way across the screen, listening to his old Walkman. Drax’s confusion over euphemisms, Gamora’s poor use of Earth colloquialisms and Rocket and Peter’s wisecracking the whole time and the grin never leaves your face. While some Marvel movies have suffered with the overabundance of humor, director James Gunn embraces the goofy feel of the comics and makes it work. It feels very much a part of the Marvel Cinematic universe, but at the same time has a feel and tone all its own. All I can say is, I can’t wait for “Guardians of the Galaxy 2”.
Rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34601[/img]I feel like I’m a broken record right now. It’s a new Marvel movie, and I’m going to say the same thing I’ve said for the last few of theirs. Amazing picture, just simply awe inspiring in every way. Just like the movie itself, it broadens the scope of the Marvel universe and takes us out in to space and beyond. We have whole new worlds, with new textures and shining colors mixed with inky black worlds of gloom and despair. The detail displayed with the digital film making makes my JVC projector really shine, allowing us to see every nick on a piece of armor, the bristles on Michael Rooker’s face and even the texture and detailing on Drax’s tattooed body. The wide angle space shots look just as amazing as shiny space ships flicker from one side of the screen to the other, blasting each other with pinpoint precision and all the little pieces of debris clouding the screen are in perfect focus. Digital cameras have their downsides, but if used properly they can deliver spectacular results. Black levels are deep and inky as can be, without ever once causing a decrease in shadow detail or have a problem rendering something. To put it simply. Flawless.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=34609[/img]There’s only one thing that a home theater buff like myself loves more than a pretty picture. That just so happens to be a perfect audio track, and Disney has delivered the goods here. The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track is superb in every aspect of the word. The dialogue is perfect as can be, never getting lost amongst the action and always locked up front. There’s some exceptional detail in the front 3 speakers, with great directionality and some solid panning effects. The action shifts from one end of the theater to the other, with laser blasts coming from the front, whistling past your shoulder and then exploding on impact in the rear channels. The Bass in the film isn’t a overcooked as some action tracks, but still will rock you on your heels with the ferocity of Thanos himself. I was extremely impressed with the dynamics of the LFE channel. Instead of a heavy one not action track, you can feel and hear the subtle differences as the power and intensity shifts, giving a distinct texture to the low end in different scenes. Again, like the picture, absolutely flawless.
• Guide to the Galaxy with James Gunn
• The intergalactic visual effects of Guardians of the Galaxy
• Exclusive look at Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron
• 5 deleted scenes with optional director commentary
• Gag Reel
“The Guardians of the Galaxy” is easily one of Marvel’s more ambitious projects and it thankfully worked out in their favor (and the favor of us, the fans). It’s got stunning cinematography, a likeable cast, and the previous Marvel movies have paved the way for its success with fantastic world building. The humor, the tone, the characters, the scope, it’s all much different than the previous Earth based films, but it opens up doors into the galaxy that leave Marvel with unlimited opportunities to succeed and dazzle us with new and exciting adventures. The audio and video are stunning (not exactly surprised), and the only thing that really keeps this from being a Crème De la Crème release is the lack of extras. Still, this is easily one of the year’s most FUN releases, and stands head and shoulders over many of its brethren, almost rivaling this year’s hit, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Must Buy.
Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Bradley Cooper
Directed By: James Gunn
Written By: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish, French DD 5.1
Studio: Disney/Buena Vista
Runtime: 121 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: December 9th 2014
Buy Guardians of the Galaxy 3D Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy Guardians of the Galaxy 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It
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