Film Review: Guardians of the Galaxy

Film

Guardians of the Galaxy

Do you remember when the first Guardians of the Galaxy trailer was released to the masses and the masses balked? This isn’t a Marvel comic book film, were the cries. There was space, and spaceships and people with green skin. Ohh… people.

That trailer totally got me. My knowledge of the Marvel universe is limited. Did not have the remotest clue about Guardians of the Galaxy. Nothing. It was new. It looked different. And after the disappointment of Man of Steel, Thor: The Dark World and, to a lesser extent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, I really needed to see a comic book film that would restore my faith in the genre.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Peter Quill – sly devil.

James Gunn’s Gaurdians of the Galaxy did just that. Guardians takes us out of the well-known universe and plonks us somewhere completely alien, while still building a universe and arc that’s going to be pivotal in Avengers: Age of Ultron. It’s funny, witty, dry and sarcastic. It’s a mainstream James Gunn film. And a good one. A GREAT one.

Guardians of the Galaxy felt very much like The Avengers – putting the band together. But with Guardians the band of misfits really felt like a proper band of misfits. Misfits, outcasts and those who don’t fit in. None of these guys can be classed as “genius, billionaire, playboy philanthropist” – somewhere Peter, Gamora, Drax, Groot and Rocket just fell of a wagon and carved their own paths.

Thoroughly enjoyed the action in the film. It just feels like it’s been forever since there was a good space based film. (Just as I typed that, my brain went to Interstellar. What I mean is a space sci-fi pulp feeling film. K?) The final battle was incredible. It was perfectly done with some actually very emotional moments alongside Gamora and Nebula slogging it out and epic air battle going on around it all.

Guardians of the Galaxy

I am Groot.

The score disappointed. Tyler Bates’ score didn’t shine in the film. It didn’t bring anything to the moments it was backing. Then on listening to it as a standalone album, I can’t remember much of it. Perhaps I’m moving on from the “soundtrack-y” sounding scores. BUT the actual movie soundtrack is fantastic – the awesome mix vol. 1 was the oddly perfect selection of songs for the film.

Chris Pratt knocked it out of the park as Peter. Funny, intelligent, witty – completely sold on Star Lord. Was surprised how attached I got to both Rocket and Groot. Especially Rocket – the film did a brilliant job at not over sentimentalising the shitty situations each of the Guardians were previously in. Or saw themselves as.

Guardians of the Galaxy

An utterly magical moment in the film.

And it’s that that made the film for me. Despite all the glorious space opera going on and the action – the Guardians of the Galaxy themselves were each incredibly relatable characters. At one point in our lives, we’ve all felt some of what these characters have portrayed. And look at them – they’re fucking heroes who still have a long way to go.

100 movies: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

The Hobbit: An Unexpected JourneyThe Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (13/12/12)

A curious Hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, journeys to the Lonely Mountain with a vigorous group of Dwarves to reclaim a treasure stolen from them by the dragon Smaug.

The Hobbit was one of my most anticipated films of the year at the beginning of the year. With a whole year to wait, the anticipation and excitement was only going to rise. And it did. With every production diary video I watched, the more impatient I got. December rolled around and tickets were booked as soon as they were available. Though… in boring old 2D.

While I’m all for pushing the boundaries with technology and all that new stuff, I’m fairly old-fashioned with my cinema viewing. I don’t want to have to wear anything on my face. I don’t want to be told where to look. I just want to enjoy the story and film making.

So this is a non-HFR, non-3D review of The Hobbit.

What of The Hobbit? Well, in a nutshell, I enjoyed it. It was a welcome return to Middle Earth. It felt like going back to an old TV show and already knowing what to expect. But in a good way. That nice familiar feeling watching the camera roll around Hobbiton. It felt like home!

Howard Shore’s score made it all the more familiar with themes from The Fellowship of the Ring creeping in every now and then. I really loved Over the Misty Mountains Cold. Really beautiful bit of music. Solid score. I expected nothing less.

The characters were all brought to life brilliantly. Young Bilbo was a bit more sullen than I expected. Gandalf was as I remembered him. Exactly how I wanted it. Gollum – wow. Sure he was only onscreen for a short amount of time, but he lit up the screen. Loved the riddle scene so very much.

The dwarves were all brilliant, but they came off as more comic relief than anything else. Which was a shame. While watching this troop I couldn’t help but compare to the Fellowship and how they were all such individual characters and, yes at times, comic relief, but they had purpose. The dwarves all blended together a bit for me. Which was a shame.

I’m amazed that from this one film we have only got a portion of The Hobbit. The good sort of amazed. There’s a lot of Middle Earth history, which I appreciate and look forward to seeing more of. I’m not sure how successfully it was intertwined with the story of The Hobbit. I think LOTR did a better job with their pre-title prologues.

The set pieces of the film let me down a little. Not visually. But just that there were quite a few of them. Lots of fighting. Not in the spirit of the book. But guess they have to cater to the mass cinema going audiences.

Overall, I definitely enjoyed The Hobbit. Probably more so because I saw it in 2D. It’s a welcome return to Middle Earth, but it’s not on par with The Lord of the Rings for me. So far. It lacked the heart of Fellowship but hoping that will change with the next two installments.
Rating: 4/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…