Thursday, September 4, 2014

5 Reasons "Guardians of the Galaxy" is the Best Science Fiction & Fantasy Movie in Years

This past weekend, my daughter and I watched Marvel Studio’s Guardians of the Galaxy for the second time. It’s the number one movie in America, which didn't surprise me after the first viewing. But after seeing it twice, I'm convinced it’s one of the best science fiction/fantasy films in years. Here are five reasons why.

 

1.  The Most Fun Since Star Wars – Seriously


To truly understand this point, you just have to see the film. But in a word, it’s fun. Really fun. The movie’s loaded with humor, and I’ve even seen it referred to as a comedy, but that may be a stretch. Yet like Star Wars, and few things since, there are laugh-out-load moments, tons of action, and witty banter between the leads that harkens back to Han and Leah, and R2 and C3PO at their best. Take any of the good SF&F movies of late, including the first Star Trek reboot, and Guardians of the Galaxy surpasses them in terms of pure fun. This is something many of the Marvel Studios films like Iron Man and The Avengers have done very well, but never as well as it’s done in Guardians of the Galaxy.

 

2.  Awesome Mix Vol. 1


Speaking of fun, the soundtrack to this movie is phenomenal. It’s based on a cassette tape called Awesome Mix Vol. 1 that the protagonist’s mother gave him when he was an adolescent before she became terminally ill. The protagonist, Peter Quill (aka Star Lord), is never without his Sony Walkman playing 70’s tunes from the cassette, and the songs flow through the movie with incredible energy. The musical link to our world also helps keep the story feeling real and grounded despite its uber-fantastic plot. It’s no wonder this is the #1 movie soundtrack in the US right now. And, I’ll confess, I often play part of it before starting my writing routine every morning.


3.  The Characters Rock


Chris Pratt as Peter Quill puts on one of the most charismatic performances since Harrison Ford told Chewbacca to “laugh it up fuzzball.” The beautiful Zoe Saldana of Avatar fame (who also plays Uhura in the new Star Trek movies) puts on, in my view, her best performance in a sci fi film as Gamora. She’s green in this one, and much more fun than her blue-hued heroine in Avatar. Throw in Bradley Cooper as the sharp-tongued, gun toting Rocket (a genetically-engineered raccoon), as well as the ultra-literal Drax the Destroyer played by wrestler Dave Bautista, and Groot, a humanoid tree creature played by Vin Diesel, and this movie becomes a hard act to follow. Again, not since Star Wars have we seen a cast of characters this memorable – and this fun.



4.  Great World Building


The galaxy these folks are guarding is one fascinating place. Not only is it connected to our own world, called Terra in the film (after all, that’s where Peter came from before he was abducted by interstellar pirates), but there’s an entire planet made out of the severed head of some ancient celestial being, an earthlike world ruled by a very cool Glen Close, a prison ship which provides one of the craziest scenes in the film, and an abandoned planet with an ancient temple that reminded me of the opening scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark – except to the tune of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love.” I can’t wait for the sequel to explore this galaxy some more.

 

5.  “We Are Groot”


You have to see the movie to know what I mean. But it’s the whole point of the film. The big theme, if you will – love between friends and family conquering all – and it’s the most touching scene in the movie. It will make you want to dance to the Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back.” I promise.

** Images courtesy of Marvel Studios - Guardians of the Galaxy.

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