Though I do appreciate my Aussie mom’s constant efforts to introduce me to classic literature, I feel a bit left-out with respect to knowledge of the great superheroes portrayed on the pages of comics.
Admittedly, after seeing the trailers for Guardians Of The Galaxy, I thought a gun-toting raccoon and a talking, humanoid tree seemed highly unlikely as superheroes or clever fodder for the science fiction minded. But I was wrong. An evening enjoying the box office hit, left me even more saddened by my missed childhood opportunities with comic books.
A well-done first, to what I hope becomes a franchise, GOTG gives science fiction movie lovers an action packed ride with a lovable superhero team, a story with a beginning, middle, and thank you—a conclusion…all the while asking the question: Who is Peter Quill’s father? The young Quill’s dying mother says that his father has: “the face of an angel”.
A Little Backstory
GOTG, the film, is derived from the 2008 team formed by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and published by Marvel Comics. Abnett and Lanning brought together the modern Guardian team from a variety of unrelated, but existing characters created by other writers and artists. The main five featured in the film are Star-Lord, Rocket Raccoon, Groot, Gamora, and Drax the Destroyer.
The original Guardian team appeared in 1969 and was created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan. The 2014 film’s superhero team has little in common with the original roster. Yondu, a blue-skinned “noble savage” from Centauri-IV, is one exception. (“Face of an angel”? Maybe, although actor Michael Rooker does not bring to mind the face of an angel.)
The acting ensemble embodies the subtle qualities and leadership abilities needed from superheroes without screaming: “I am almighty!” Instead, their acting thunders: We are believable. We make mistakes. We are misfits. We are Groot.
Chris Pratt, portrays Peter Quill and leader of The Guardians. I was a fan of the character Bright Abbott played by Pratt in the short-lived (2002-2006) TV series Everwood, but I was leery about how well he might bring to life the part of Star-Lord. If you foster similar apprehensions, put them to rest. Pratt’s portrayal of Star-Lord is flawless and irresistible. He is the guy next door who is both a best friend and love interest, with that little bit of special that makes you wonder if he is from this world. My concerns for Pratt as Star-Lord vanished in the opening introduction to the older Quill as he rocks the golden oldie Come And Get Your Love by Redbone while dancing with aliens through Morag.
And then he steals the ever-illusive orb—a celebratory resemblance to Indiana Jones in Raiders Of The Lost Ark.
Zoe Saldana brings her fearsome competence to the big screen in techno green this time, instead of blue, as the character Gamora. I loved her in Avatar, and found that same appreciation for her ability to capture otherworldly, mix it with sexy, and give it the kick-ass flavor of a true leading lady.
I couldn’t picture Vin Diesel as a big tree. Again, I was proved wrong. I have been a fan of Diesel’s since his portrayal of Riddick in Pitch Black, and now I become a fan of his as Groot. He uses his acting ability to bring believability and life to an otherwise inanimate object without the representation becoming comical in the silly sense of the word.
A raccoon, really? I asked. But Rocket the Raccoon, as a genetically engineered raccoon, brought tears to my eyes when he describes his torture during genetic alterations. Rocket is played by Bradley Cooper. Don’t let his small stature, big voice, and humor fool you. Many superheroes wear a mask, right? Makes perfect sense as his story is revealed. And of the five Guardians, Rocket may be the best at formulating a plan. At least better than Star-Lord, who gives his own plan only a 12% rating.
WWE professional wrestler, Dave Bautista, is well cast for the character of Drax the Destroyer in both physique and character portrayal. He says he drew from his personal tragedies to create Drax— the superhero team member who lost his wife and daughter to the film’s primary villain, Ronan, played by actor Lee Pace. (Pace originally auditioned for Star-Lord.) Drax’s motivation during the movie is revenge.
Favorite Song: Hooked On A Feeling.
Guardians of the Galaxy’s Awesome Mix Vo1. 1, a soundtrack of the 60s, 70s, and 80s music that keeps the film rocking, is offered on iTunes. https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/guardians-galaxy-awesome-mix/id895283652 . The soundtrack is one of 2014’s best selling.
The Awesome Mix Vo1. 1 tape was the last gift given to Quill by his mom and delivers comic relief in a number of scenes. Hooked On A Feeling sung by the Blue Swede is on the soundtrack, but also check out B.J. Thomas’s rendition of the song. It’s my favorite version. I was never much on the ooga-chaka ooga-chaka background vocals of the Blue Swede, although they do add a certain science fiction quality to the film.
Favorite Scene: Our first introduction to an older Quill as he dances and sings with ETs.
Favorite Character: Star-Lord/PeterQuill (hey, I’m a girl)—Pratt claimed, on a late night variety show, that he obtained the abs from performing an as-seen-on-TV exercise routine.
Favorite novelty: Quill’s walkman—the merger of a defunct piece of electronics into the movie’s central theme brings up the question: In the future, will we cherish our outmoded forms of entertainment and communication?
But The Bigger Question
We find out in one of the final scenes that Star-Lord is part alien. So Quill, Who’s Your Daddy? They never say for sure, but hints are given. Do you have a guess—who is Peter Quill’s alien father?
Sit through the credits for a lively exchange between the character Taneleen Tivan—The Collector who appears in other Marvel Comics—and two of his remaining, living exhibits, a canine cosmonaut and Howard The Duck. It’s a slight dig at the vulnerability of superhero flicks. The movie, Howard The Duck, was considered a box office flop.
Box office numbers for GOTG have been good and so have reviews, for the most part. Due to the positive response, screenwriters James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, confirmed a sequel at the 2014 San Diego Comic-Con. Gunn said he wanted to explore more about Quill’s father.
The official synopsis for Guardians of the Galaxy:
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team – the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits – Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Peter discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand – with the galaxy’s fate in the balance. Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” is presented by Marvel Studios. The film was released August 1, 2014, and is distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. http://collider.com/guardians-of-the-galaxy-trailer-images/
The Probe’s Mission Statement
The Probe is a blog devoted to the exploration of the unexplainable, to finding the truth in occurrences that resemble science fiction, and to researching and reporting on topics that could be flung upon the wall of weird. New posts are featured as often as I can find WiFi, and as often as I have something I think you might find interesting.
Join me here for more close encounters of the alien kind, or ghost kind, or animal kind, or travel kind, and please share your own. Science Fiction or Fact? Doesn’t matter to me. I just like a story that gives me the chills, makes me laugh, makes me think, or makes me imagine.