Based on the Marvel comic, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a lighthearted film full of witty dialogue and terrific special effects. Directed by James Gunn with screenplay by Gunn and Nicole Perlman, based on the comic book written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is the story of Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and his very diverse team of newly-found friends trying to save the Galaxy from destruction.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” begins somberly enough in a 1988 hospital, with a young Peter listening to his Walkman, basically waiting for his very ill mother to die in a nearby room. When this happens, Peter runs out of the hospital, sees a flash of something and is gone. The next time we see Peter it’s 26 years later, and he is on the planet Morag where, calling himself Starlord, which amusingly no one takes seriously. He’s searching for the Orb, which seems to have some kind of power. He finds it and escapes with it to his spaceship, the Milano. From here the plot gets a little overly complicated. Let’s just say everyone seems to want the Orb and at some point, Peter and some of the “folk” chasing him get arrested by the Nova police and sent to a space prison called The Kyln. There a very funny exchange takes place between the prisoners and one of the head guards (John C. Reilly). Peter and those arrested with him, calling themselves the Guardians of the Galaxy, manage to escape and go back to chasing the bad guys.
While everyone in “Guardians of the Galaxy” is very good, the two standouts have to be Chris Pratt and Bradley Cooper. Pratt is simply fabulous. He imbues Peter with a sense of fun and a tinge of sadness, but mostly fun. He’s utterly charming and this man can dance. He makes Peter so adorable that one can’t help but root for him. For too long Pratt has been relegated to the best friend status of…It’s wonderful to see him in a starring role and making the most of the opportunity. We only hear Bradley Cooper, but his voice is perfect for Rocky, the raccoon. Cooper does something that makes him sound like Rocky just came off the Borscht Belt circuit, but it works hysterically well. Zoe Saldana is also very good as Gamora, who meets Peter early on in the film and decides to finally work with him (watching him sing and dance doesn’t hurt either…who could resist that?). Saldana is working her way through the Pantone color chart—blue in “Avatar” and now a lovely shade of green in “Guardians of the Galaxy.” No one rocks a tailored suit like Glenn Close, be it in the present or future, and in “Guardians” she’s just right as the austere Nova Prime. And as noted earlier, John C. Reilly has some good moments as the cop who finally sees the good in Peter and his crew.
As Groot, Vin Diesel has finally found a part that suits him perfectly…that of a tree. He heads up a supporting cast comprised of Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker ,Djimon Hounsou and Benicio Del Toro, just to name a few.
What separates “Guardians of the Galaxy” from other big-budget, special effects laden action/super hero movies is an intelligently amusing script, a story that doesn’t take itself seriously and special effects that actually add to the film. In addition, the movie has chosen to feature some of the best 80s music which just adds to “Guardian’s” good-time feel.
At 122 minutes “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a tad too long and lags in some spots. Also one is never really sure when someone is dead. It is hard to tell just what has capacity to knock someone out for good. But those are just small quibbles in what is ultimately a fun movie with heart…and Chris Pratt.