Editor’s Note: Dear readers, it always gives me great pleasure to introduce new contributors. This time, we’ve got a guest reviewer who’s out of this world. Literally! Hailing from the mysterious Branch Worlds System on the other side of the known universe, our dear friend Grooot (three O’s) watched Marvel Studios’ latest movie, “Guardians Of The Galaxy” and he has a whole bunch of things to say about it. Without further ado, Electroshadow presents Grooot’s very eloquent, in-depth and ridiculously witty review. Take it away, Grooot!…
I AM GROOOT.*
Editor: And there you have it, folks! Wasn’t that simply one of the awesomest movie reviews you’ve ever read in your entire life? Wait. What’s that? You don’t understand a damn word he said? Oh very well. We’ll do a quick Google Translate for you. Here goes…
* Hello everybody, and thank you for this handsome opportunity to write my very first review. I do not know much about Earth culture, but I do love this thing you people call motion pictures. They are wonderful! Some of my friends back home are convinced that “Guardians Of The Galaxy” is a documentary. Silly shrubs. I am aware that it is more of a “dramatic re-creation of actual events”, as the Discovery Channel puts it.
Actual events or not, I am told that apart from followers of the adolescent pastime known as comicbooks, very few have heard of this most legendary group of heroes. Many considered it risky to do a movie about them. I do not. Modern humans have this amusing affinity for “brand names”, and Marvel movies have become a brand that general moviegoers look forward to. People may not know who or what the Guardians are but they do know they’re getting a Marvel experience, and that is good enough for them. It is certainly good enough for me and I am not even human!
I like movies that make me feel good and that is exactly what this movie did. You may be thinking: Come on, he is just a big, dumb tree! What does he know? My friend, I am a big, dumb tree who has seen the original “Star Wars” trilogy more than one hundred times! Each! So I know a thing or two about this type of movie. And I am telling you this is one space adventure that comes very close to the magic of those classics. It is not the “Star Wars” of this generation. That is okay, as it does not need to be. It just needed to be fun and exciting and funny and touching and wondrous and a little bit nostalgic and not be afraid to embrace the goofiness of the concept without disrespecting it. And it succeeded at all of those things. Yaaay!
James Gunn is the director of this movie and he is a clever and talented and passionate man. I say this not because I know him personally [although I would love to], but because of the way he approached the method of making this movie. He re-wrote a lot of the original script by Nicole Perlman in order to improve the main characters. Mister James wanted the audience to have a connection with them, so he injected some kind of background story, motivation, and funny or endearing personality quirks for each of the Guardians. I think it is a clever way to make characters who are weird and alien [to you Earthlings] seem more relatable.
For example, my 2nd cousin Groot is a darling in real life but you people may not realize this just by looking at him. I admit, we tend to appear quite wooden on the surface. So Mister James made sure to show off his true nature. My 2nd cousin Groot came across so sweet and lovable and caring and selfless in this movie, by the final scene I was cheering for him! And I had no idea he could dance so well! Choosing the right actors matters too. I like who they got to play my 2nd cousin Groot: the famous and very beautiful actor Vin Diesel. He struggled a little bit with the accent and the pronunciations — for example, in one scene he said “I am Groot” when it clearly should have been “I am Groot”. Still, his deep gravelly voice sounded perfect even if I sometimes heard Mister Vin [and his other voice roles like "The Iron Giant"] first and foremost.
On the other hand, I was surprised I could hardly hear the also-famous and very ugly actor Bradley Cooper in Rocket Raccoon. Maybe it is because Rocket spends most of the time yelling or being mean, which you will know is quite accurate if you have ever met Rocket. What an angry little fellow! I guess if you had illegal genetic experiments performed on you, you would be angry all the time too. Instead of making me annoyed, his angry ways only made me feel sympathetic towards him. Also, they made Rocket the resident gadget genius and gave him a mischievous side, so all that just added to his appeal. My favorite characters are Rocket Raccoon and Groot, who happens to be my 2nd cousin on my mother’s side you know. So proud of him!
I was not as fond of the green-skinned actress Zoe Saldana. I did not find her very impressive as most formidable assassin Gamora. She seemed too mild and tame when the real Gamora is fiery and regal. Perhaps this is partly to do with the way Gamora was written. Her half-sister Nebula was portrayed much more accurately by the blue-skinned actress Karen Gillan, even if they did not devote much time to her. They were more interested in the evil zealot Ronan The Accuser, yet there was nothing very interesting about him here. His motivations were too vague. Perhaps Mister James could have emphasized the religious fanaticism aspect a bit more so that Mister Ronan stood out more from other villains in the Marvel movies. His looks alone were quite scary though, and the not-so famous actor Lee Pace was satisfactory in playing him.
More than satisfactory was Drax the Destroyer, played by the hairless and very curvaceous actor Dave Bautista. Some good jokes were made at his expense because his species completely cannot understand metaphors. Haha, what a bunch of numbskulls! But Mister Drax was not merely a mindless brute, he turned out to be a likable guy with some very funny lines too. The ruthless and unpredictable space pirate Yondu was aptly played by His Supreme Holiness Sir Michael Rooker. Did you know that Sir Michael is worshipped as a god on seventeen solar systems? No surprise for me. He is what you would call a “total badass”.
However, since this movie was made for you Earthlings, I can see why the bulk of the attention was on the Earthling character Peter Quill [he prefers to be called Star-Lord]. Played by the soon-to-be famous and very charming actor Chris Pratt, he embodies the not-taking-anything-too-seriously spirit of this show. Being human, he served as a familiar guide through this unfamiliar world and with his backstory, an emotional anchor for the audience… Hey, I think I sounded just like a professional film critic back there. Anyway, I liked how his jokes and taste in music were stuck in the 1980s because that is the last time he was on Earth. Younger viewers may not get all the references to pop culture from that time period but that is what your online search engines are for. Educate yourselves, little twigs!
I have one more character to talk about and that is the soundtrack. In some ways, it was the most important character in the movie because it was what gave “Guardians” such a distinctive identity. I loved the songs in this movie! They made me feel all kinds of things: the sad song at the beginning made me feel sad and the dancing song at the end made me feel happy. Beyond triggering our emotions, each song was also relevant to its scene, and I liked the personal significance of the music to Mister Peter.
Put the soundtrack and the setting and the very offbeat tone all together and this feels unlike any other Marvel Studio movie. What I liked most was how unapologetic it was about its own silliness. From the opening titles to the very last scene, everything had an air of irreverence and playfulness — all thanks to the director, no doubt. Even the final showdown between hero and villain was not spared. I laughed so hard at what Star-Lord did to save the day. Talk about “Footloose”! The only area I was slightly let down was in the climatic battle, which once again took place up in the air like the last few Marvel movies. For a movie that strived so hard to be different and original, this felt like the same old idea rehashed yet again. Also, some of the humour did not quite connect as intended. Top marks to the studio for trying anyway, for if this was meant to be their first full-on comedy, I would say they pulled it off.
The action scenes were good, with a three-way scuffle between Gamora, Star-Lord, Rocket and my 2nd cousin Groot being the most memorable. I have to say “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” was still more superior in this regard. I was more entertained by the interactions between the members of the team than any of their individual fight scenes. This says a lot about the strength of the characterization and the chemistry between the core cast. Oh before I forget, I wish to congratulate the technical craftspeople behind this movie. They sure did their homework — the ships and the creatures and the weapons and the locations and the fashions looked just like the real thing! I can speak with authority on this because I have visited that part of the galaxy before.
As a huge fan of Earth’s most remarkable artform, I have seen many, many movies that changed my perspective on your primitive species. You are such a violent and self-destructive and selfish race, yet on the other hand you are capable of such beautiful and inspirational creativity. I think part of the reason why you people make movies is to distract yourselves long enough from the ugly sides of your own nature, to indulge in the more positive aspects. You are a race of storytellers. And when you get it right with your stories, like with “Star Wars” or “Raiders Of The Lost Ark” or “Howard The Duck” or in this case “Guardians Of The Galaxy”, there is a deserving place for mankind in this universe. But do not tell that to Thanos. He wants you all dead. Every last one of you.
You do not have to worry about that in the meantime. Just keep supporting well-made movies like these so that more of them get made. Until then, this is your friend Grooot, signing off from someplace in the galaxy not too far from you. Have a happy day!