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'Guardians of the Galaxy' is great fun

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

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When people think about superheroes, ferocious raccoons and gangly trees probably do not come to mind. But these and other unorthodox characters populate the cast of "Guardians of the Galaxy," opening in theatres this weekend. This film is based on one of the lesser-known Marvel comic books.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" stars Chris Pratt as Peter Quill, a human, in fact the only human, in a pantheon of space adventurers. Following his mother's death during his childhood, he had been abducted from earth. Years later, he is a space bachelor who wants to be called "Star-Lord," although his compatriots do not humor him. He steals a mysterious orb from the dangerous Ronan (played by Lee Pace), making him a wanted man. This is when the raccoon and the tree enter the story. Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), a smart raccoon and his sidekick, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), attempt to capture him to gain a reward. When they try to catch him, he is attacked by Gamora (played by Zoe Saldana), who was sent by Ronan to get the orb. The four of them end up getting caught and sent to a prison in space. Here, Gamora explains that she was betraying Ronan and does not want him to have the orb. Also, they meet Drax (played by Dave Bautista), a very muscular inmate whose family was killed by Ronan. The five of them form a partnership and escape the prison. They must try to prevent Ronan from getting the orb.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" has an amazing cast. Chris Pratt is excellent as Star-Lord, who enjoys listening to music of the 1970s on his old Walkman, tricked out with his late mom's playlist. He is a vulnerable hero wannabe, and Pratt makes him completely likeable. Bradley Cooper steals the movie as Rocket, a wise-cracking, trigger-happy raccoon.

The movie is well-directed by James Gunn. He makes the film a homage to science fiction and fantasy films of the 1970s and 1980s, such as the "Star Trek," "Star Wars," and "Indiana Jones" films.

The special effects and action scenes are staggeringly visceral. One of the most memorable scenes is the prison escape.

"Guardians of the Galaxy" is a great choice for fans of summer action films.