Guardians of the Galaxy
What makes for an epic space
part of the “Star Wars” success, besides the brilliant classical
soundtrack, was the development of its characters, its willingness to change
moods, its sense of humor, and its ability to switch back and forth between
macro and micro: from
galaxy-shaking events to quiet personal struggles.
Oh, and its main characters were endearingly
“Guardians of the Galaxy” has
all of these ingredients, with slight variations (like an 80’s pop
soundtrack) and it’s become an almost-instant box office success.
It remains to be seen, of course, if it will
stand the test of time, but it unashamedly admits at the end that it
anticipates sequels, and, truth be told, here’s hoping they bring back this
Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) plays
the sad little boy who had to watch his mother die, then immediately gets
abducted by aliens? Now,
as a young man, he’s a techno-savvy mercenary but has this huge soft spot
for a special 1980’s “awesome mix No.1” cassette tape that his dying
Mother left him. Other
than that peculiar vulnerability, he is fearless and resourceful and
wise-cracking with a hint of outlaw, kind of like Harrison Ford as the leader
of a renegade band. His
“Chewbacca” is Groot (the voice of Vin Diesel), a big, hulking, walking
tree who says little but is great to have on your side in a fight.
Gamora (Zoe Saldana) is the chick
in spandex with the attitude, who’s also pretty good at karate, Drax (former
professional wrestler Dave “The Animal” Bautista) provides the hulking
muscle (but isn’t it tiring to be flexing all the time?).
Ah, but the sidekick who really steals the show
is Rocket (the voice of Bradley Cooper), the techie raccoon with the sharp
mind and the even sharper tongue.
All this verbal sourness keeps our heroes from
being too saccharine, especially as they are combating the interplanetary evil
forces, who are trying desperately to get hold of a special metal orb that
somehow contains the secrets of the universe.
Yeah, it’s a little comic-book-y
(well, it is from Marvel Studios), and at times it bogs down in its own idiom,
as the uninitiated (older) viewer tries to catch up to all the sci-fi lingo:
though admittedly, stopping to explain it all
would be even more tedious.
The we-gotta-save-the-world-right-now urgency
gets a little tiresome after a while, but the whole melodramatic effort keeps
from falling over of its own weight by the interspersed sardonic comedy and
intentionally lighthearted moments.
Best of all, the kids like this
one, and it conveniently hit the big screen just before school’s back in
alone gives it the impetus and momentum to be the sleeper summer movie
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister,
St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church,