Movie review: The Guardians of the Galaxy

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I’m a huge fan of the Marvel movies. When I heard Joss Whedon was on board for The Avengers, I pretty much died of excitement – and I have yet to be disappointed by a single one.

The latest instalment is the new Guardians of the Galaxy and if you haven’t been yet, do yourself a favour and make a movie date asap! It’s directed by James Gunn who I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard of and had to IMDB his bio where I discovered he’s relatively new to the directing scene although he has a more extensive history as a writer and was involved in the screenplay for Dawn of the Dead and that Scooby-Doo movie with SMG and Freddie Prinze Jr. Random, I know. Luckily, I believe we’re going to be seeing a lot more of him and he’s already signed on for Guardians of the Galaxy 2 – whoot!

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But back to the movie. It’s your typical Marvel movie – fabulous costumes, brilliant special effects, a fast-paced and witty dialog and a star-studded cast. If you self-identify as a geek or nerd in any way, you’ll love this. If you’re not, you’ll love it too. We’ve got Chris Pratt as Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), who’s been around since Everwood days and finally gets a role in which we actually get to see what he’s made of – awesome, he’s made of awesome. He’s like a younger Nathan Fillion which is the highest praise I can give. Then there’s the beautiful Zoe Saldana as Gamora, Dave Bautista as Drax, Bradley Cooper as the voice of Rocket and Vin Diesel as the voice of Groot. And then it gets even better! Whovians have been waiting MONTHS for Karen Gillan’s performance as Nebula (you almost forget it’s our beloved fiery but funny Amy) and Lee Pace as Ronan makes me want to forgive him for Twilight. Read through the cast list and we’ve got supporting roles from Actors of Note Glen Close, John C Reilly and Benecio del Toro. There are even appearances by Brendan Fehr (remember Roswell?), the voice of Nathan Fillion (*swoon*) and Alexis Denisof! James Gunn pulls a Stan Lee (who also does his typical drive-by appearance) and plays a Maskless Sakaaran. So, really, when I said star-studded, I wasn’t being cliched. 

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For that reason alone you should go see it. But then there are the costumes and make-up, a soundtrack I wish was the soundtrack to my life and the brilliant one liners and writing quips thrown in for good measure. It’s a pop culture reference frenzy and eagle-eyed Marvel fans will love the way it brings in and ties up previous Marvel easter egg endings. I’m heading off to see it again as soon as I can and this is one I will actually add to the DVD collection (old fashioned, I know, but I’m a hoarder like that).

GuardiansOfTheGalaxy_GenericPayoff_small copyFun facts

  • Finding the perfect cassette player to use in the film was a challenge. Despite searching all over the Internet for four months, prop master Barry Gibbs’ team was able to find only 16 cassette players in various states of repair that were suitable to use in the film.
  • James Gunn had composer Tyler Bates complete some of the tracks before filming began and played them to add to the congenial atmosphere on set, as well as to set the tone for the scenes. Along with tracks from the film’s original score, Gunn also had the sound department pump out the ’70s tunes that Peter Quill, played by Chris Pratt, plays on his old cassette player.
  • The design of the Milano, Peter Quill’s spaceship, was named The Milano after Alyssa Milano, Peter Quill’s childhood crush, James Gunn confirmed via Twitter. Constructed as a double-level composite set, with an upper flight deck and lower living quarters, it was a 14-week build. Charles Wood and his team followed James Gunn’s instructions that Quill’s environment be reminiscent of Earth and have a tangible quality – mechanical with chrome and leather and a muscle-car look.
  • David White, special effects make-up designer, was charged with making 3D life-sized versions of Rocket and a bust of Groot, which were used on set not only to give the filmmakers references for visual effects and lighting, but also to see how the characters could actually function.
  • Karen Gillan had her long hair cut off and head shaved for the role of Nebula and Benicio Del Toro allowed his dark hair and eyebrows to be bleached white for his role as The Collector.
  • Vin Diesel recorded all of his “I am Groot” lines in several different languages, including Russian, Mandarin, Spanish, Portuguese, and French so that they could use his real voice in the film around the world. He said he has recorded the line in English over 1 000 times.
  • Three of the creatures seen in the cages of the Collector’s base are a Dark Elf from Thor: The Dark World, a Chitauri from “The Avengers”, and a slug creature from James Gunn’s previous movie he had directed, “Slither.”
  • James Gunn compared the Avengers and the Guardians to music bands: “The Avengers are like the Beatles, but the Guardians are like the Rolling Stones!”
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