Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Moonlight Movie Reviews: Guardians of the Galaxy

Back at the movies again! And, boy, was this ever a movie! This is why I go to the movies!

I sooo wanna say that this seems like the first time in forever that I've seen a movie that just blew me away! I can't really say that though, because in the past several years there have always been one or two movies that did that. All those people who bitch online about how they don't make good movies anymore, what the hell are you talking about???!!!! Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, the Conjuring, Saving Mr. Banks, The Cabin in the Woods, Frozen, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a ton of independent films and Oscar nominees most of us don't even go to while complaining about the lack of great film out there... There will always be great movies, just as there will always be bad movies. And, there will always be remakes and sequels, just as there always have been, and some of them will be great too! And, now we have Guardians of the Galaxy! It's like classic Star Wars meets Serenity and Flash Gordon with up-to-date visual effects that, Rocket Raccoon proves, are finally ready to be used in live-action, ha. 

But, as usual, I'm getting ahead of myself. Here's a look at some of the sweet preshow clips at the Alamo Drafthouse Village screening I attended Monday morning. Yes, I went to the 2D screening. I'm not sure if I'll ever fork out extra dough for a 3D screening anymore. It just hasn't hooked me. Though, I still wish I saw Frozen in 3D.

You'll notice the last two clips feature animated versions of Guardians of the Galaxy characters. They're from some Spidey-Man animated series. I assume the current or most recent one on Disney Channel? I really don't know which one that is. I don't have cable, and there have been so many Spidey animated shows (all of which I really need to watch; I only regularly watched the Saturday morning one when I was a kid with Iceman and Firestar; She was soooo hot, literally). Anyway, looked like a darn good show. Clearly, they've been making it with the intention of pushing upcoming Marvel movies, if it IS a recent, Disney produced cartoon, like I'm assuming. 

Anywho, the clips were great, the pizza was delicious, and then came these guys...

Yep, those are our heroes, guys, The Guardians of the Galaxy. Gamora, Star-Lord (better known as Peter Quill), Rocket, Drax, and Groot. They're a bunch of misfit, would-be criminals and outcasts who end up meeting in prison and setting out on a mission to save the galaxy from madman Ronan who wants to use an orb in the Guardians' possession to destroy, well, everything! 

I could go into a lot more detail, but that's the gist of it. Peter Quill is basically the leader of our motley crew, and the focus of the film. He's a half-alien earthling who is abducted and recruited by space pirates when he's a boy in the 80's. This makes for some great nostalgia moments for children of the 80's like myself, as well as an awesome soundtrack of music that was classic at that time (the source being a cassette of Peter's mom's favorite tunes from her own youth). There are a million things that make this film fantastic, the oddly matched soundtrack is one of them, but you already knew that would be the case from the trailers, right? As for the others, the lovely warrior Gamora (okay, her lack of eyebrows weirds me out, but her physique won't quit) is an "adopted" daughter of Thanos on a mission to betray her wicked father and protect the universe from the power of the orb and the evil of Ronan. Drax is out for vengeance, as Ronan and his crew were responsible for the death of his wife and daughter. Groot is the strong and powerful best-friend of Rocket, a genetically modified, talkative raccoon with a bad attitude and a love of shooting off guns who works as a bounty hunter with Groot as his muscle. 

As always, I make it a point to say that I did not read these comics before seeing the film. As always, I make a point to mention that, yes, I grew up on comic books, but while I have been a huge fan of DC and Marvel's more mainstream characters since I was a child and have always frequented comic shops, I collected and read Disney and Star Wars comics (and a few other things), and kept my superhero fandom mostly to television and movies. I've always been a huge fan of superheroes in that way. I don't know if it's accurate to call the Guardians of the Galaxy superheroes, but, you know what I mean, Marvel and DC Universe stuff. There's a derogatory term the comic readers have for this kind of fan, but I can never remember it. Anyway, I still am always (or usually) willing to back them up when they complain about major changes in the translation from source material to film. I rarely think it's necessary. Though, at this point, the comics have rebooted themselves so many times, I don't see how anything can be considered canon. I've finally come to take each TV show and film line as a universe unto itself. That being said, the only complaint I've had thus far with Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe has been with the recasting of actors, which I just hate. Even if I do really like, maybe even prefer Ruffalo's Banner and definitely the Avengers Hulk. That Ed Norton Hulk movie, that Hulk, it looked like a video game character. Even the Bana movie had a more realistic looking Hulk. But, I digress. I have yet to hear any serious complaints about anything in Guardians of the Galaxy. This movie is just, well, it's... wow. I'm probably going to go see it again soon. Yeah, I think I am.

Now, really quick, let's talk about another major player in the film, Gamora's adoptive sister, Nebula. She serves Ronan and her father, Thanos, loyally, and is out to track down the traitorous Gamora and the other Guardians to retrieve the orb. She's a great character. Sorta the Darth Maul of the film, though this film is much better (MUCH BETTER) than any Star Wars prequel (and, no, I don't really hate those). All I really wanna say about her is this...

It's Doctor Who's old companion, Karen Gillian, and yeah, if she were half as tall, she'd be perfect. I of course am assuming she is 10 feet tall. Okay, she is probably only inches too tall to suit my preferences, but I'd probably go out with her anyway. GOD, look at that face! And that hair! Oh, wait a minute. I forgot. She shaved it all off. Argh! This seems to be a growing trend. Anyone seen my gorgeous Olivia Cooke lately? So disturbing. Anyway, I am mainly pointing out that the BEAUTIFUL Karen Gillian (yeah, probably will make her my crush of the week soon, if I haven't already) played the role of Nebula because, honestly, I had completely forgotten she was in this film. But, as freaky as Nebula looks, the whole time, I was thinking, I can tell this actress is probably pretty hot. But, I completely forgot who it was! Then, it clicked! I remembered hearing about her comic con bald head reveal last year for this movie! I just thought it was funny and worth mentioning... I don't know why. It's interesting to me.

Ya know what else is funny, worth mentioning, and interesting to me (but far less hot)? Howard the Duck. Howard the Duck in the little bonus scene after the credits of the film. How perfect.

Though it would be perfectly fitting for this to just be a funny cameo that isn't followed up with a bigger role for Howard in the future of the MCU, it would also be really disappointing. I don't NEED Howard to have his own movie, though it'd be cool, but yeah, I'd like to see him get a major role in one of these movies soon, or even a minor one. Ya know, these little tidbits at the end, a couple of them have been duds, but most of the time, they're so good that it really annoys me when people leave without seeing them. I mean, seriously? How can you be sooo not-fun?!!! Man, most of the audience left during the credits in the screening I was at! Is this your first Marvel movie or something? Heck, it's not even just Marvel movies that do that these days. Stick around, people! You never know what might pop up!

Oh, and before I finalize this, talking about smaller roles in the film, this movie has plenty of hotties, and it wouldn't be a Moonlight Motel movie review not to talk about them. Besides Gamora and Nebula, who are hotties in a "if only they weren't so weird lookin'" kinda way, I gotta salute the random cuteness in the forms of the Collector(Benicio del Toro)'s pigtailed slave girls (good taste; I, too, would require my slave girls to wear pigtails; though, of course, slavery is wrong.... but pigtails are not), and also in the form of one awkwardly placed character. I don't know if this was one of those "director's girlfriend" moments, but Glenn Close, who played Nova Prime, had this extremely hot assistant who just stood beside her and not saying a word, just frantically working on her iPad. It was... weird, ha. I mean, I don't remember her having a single line, but she was too stunning not to notice and right up front there with Glenn Close. I don't even recall anyone saying anything to her or... anything. Just sort of a funny, awkward moment. Can't complain though. 

My final word on this film is, well, practically perfect. Really, this movie was amazing. AMAZING! I LOVED it! Truly! I can't recommend it enough. Everyone is so good. Chris Pratt (whom I was unfamiliar with until now) is excellent in the lead role of Peter Quill, but Rocket Raccoon really steals the show, as was expected, and the effects on him and everything else are simple glorious! All the cast were fantastic though, and I also really enjoyed the presence of John C. Reilly, whom I believe I haven't mentioned yet. I really can't ever remember seeing anything he wasn't brilliant in though. Anyway, I highly, HIGHLY recommend you get out and see this film today! It's full of humor, action, excitement, wonder, beauty, emotion, adventure, great music and, well, this is just what the movies are all about!

Now, as a little bonus review...
As you probably know, I collect toys. I have been streamlining my collecting in the past several years, selling a lot of stuff, being more choosy about what I pick up, and getting more and more into 6 inch action figures than I ever thought I would. In fact, I thought I was swearing off action figures, but I couldn't stop getting 6 inch Marvel movie-based figures, and then they started making DC Movie based figures, and now Star Wars has a 6 inch line, and Neca always makes good stuff, though they are annoyingly in 7 inch scale... Anyway, even though I have a lot of things on my "Get" list right now, including the still elusive Black Widow 6 inch movie figure, and even though I saw the Neca classic Planet of the Apes figures at Toys R Us this weekend, when I saw the following figure on shelves just minutes after getting out of my Guardians of the Galaxy screening, I naturally had to pick it up (and, frankly, I only had enough cash to spare for one figure; someone, offer me a job that actually pays! I went to a 4-year college, and I NEED toys; I don't have a woman, ya know).

So, this is the 6-inch action figure of Star-Lord/Peter Quill from Guardians of the Galaxy, and though the likeness could be a bit better in the face, it's a darn good action figure. I was really happy to find it, as all the Guardians of the Galaxy figures have been pretty impossible to find here in Austin so far. This was my first time seeing one on shelves from the actual film, and they literally only had this figure and one other, which was a Drax figure. Had I enough money, I would have bought him too. Definitely on my list. Actually, even 2 figures I don't want are on my list, but I'll get into that in a moment, first, here are a couple of poses of the unboxed figure with his accessories in use and with both of the heads he comes with (masked and unmasked).

Nice, eh?

So, Star-Lord here clearly comes with the alternate head, the object everyone is after in the film, the orb, two guns, and a walkman and headset straight out of the 80's, but oddly without a connection between them, ha. Oh, and one more item comes with the Star-Lord figure...

Yeah, that's Groot's arm, along with some sort of instruction sheet I haven't even glanced at yet. Groot is only available as a Build-a-Figure, which means each of the 6 figures (20 bucks a pop, mind you) comes with a piece of Groot. You get them all and you can build a badass Groot figure, but this means buying not only the main group, but two figures I don't even want. This is just sooo annoying. At least when I was building the Batsignal for the Dark Knight Rises figures, they were all actually characters in the film. Heck, give me a Nebula figure, a Collector figure, John C. Reilly or even Nova Prime's silent assistant. Anybody from the film. This line of Guardians of the Galaxy figures forces me to buy two comic-based figures that I have no use for. Thanks! It's not like these are pricey or anything. If I have any quibbles about action figures these days, that is definitely one of them. The 7 inch scale of Neca, Marvel Select, and a few others is another, and the fact that some very cool figures are only being made in 3 3/4 size (I think that's the size, I am just ballparking), like Tim Burton's Batman characters and Christopher Reeve Superman characters (they better redo those for the Movie Masters line) is another. But, a final one I'd really like to mention is the scarcity of certain 6 inch figures. I mean, I can walk in and see an entire wall of Transformers whenever there's a new Transformers movie out, so what is the deal with these Marvel movies having a tiny little section, and only putting out a box of 6 inch figures at a time! The scalpers easily clean out the rarest ones from those only seconds after they are brought out! And what's with only including one per box of some of the most wanted characters?!!! We've been clamoring for this 6 inch Black Widow ever since they released the 6 inch Avengers figs back when the movie came out (the lack of action figures of female characters is another big quibble), so what is with the one per box thing?! The fact that I have yet to see one on store shelves is clearly a problem. They've been out since Captain America 2 was released, as they're part of that line. And now, Guardians of the Galaxy. I am barely starting to find a few, and mostly those two that are at the bottom of my list (I'll have to get them though, 'cause of Groot). But I can just imagine how hard finding Rocket is going to be! And probably Gamora too! Oh, well, the search continues. Don't get me started on the Turtles figures for the movie that comes out this weekend. They actually made a pretty cute figure of Megan Fox with a bit of a likeness, even if it's a bit cartoony looking, and I don't even go for Megan Fox much. But couldn't they have done at least a line of these in 6 inch scale? They're the same size as past Turtle figures, which are an odd scale all their own, and it looks way too small for figures as detailed as this new line. Well, maybe there ARE some 6 inchers coming out and I just haven't heard about them yet.

Anyway, there's your look into the struggles of a movie and cartoon-based toy collector for now. Hope you get out there and see Guardians soon if you haven't already. I'm gonna see it again, and hopefully I won't have to wait too long to catch Turtles either. See ya next time with the Crush of the Week and the next part of our look at my December Disney World trip! I know Christmas in July is over. I don't care. We gotta get through it, and I'm barely on day two! New comics on the horizon too, just bear with me! Catch ya next time!

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