Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

guard1Of all this summer’s releases, this is the one that seemed to tick all the boxes and really got my interest. I even very nearly saw it at the cinema until work etc got in the way. Marvel’s films have been getting better and better and here we were with Marvel doing a fresh new space opera. There was even a rumour a favourite duck of mine would have a cameo. What’s not to love?

Here’s the thing. On my first viewing of the Blu-ray last week, I didn’t like it. It didn’t ‘click’ somehow. To be fair it was a bad night and the stars didn’t seem to align at all. Thirty minutes into the film I was interrupted by a visitor and had to switch it off for nearly an hour, and then having resumed the film it was later further interrupted by a phone-call that necessitated another fifteen minutes of downtime.  Remember than Batman line, “some days you just can’t get rid of a bomb”? Well, I guess some days you just cannot get to watch a movie. Just wasn’t meant to be I guess. Added to that it was just too weird and odd ball for my wife to enjoy and the night seemed to end on a downer, another film falling victim to too much hype.

Fast-forward 24 hours and my wife is out and I give the film another go. And this time I enjoy it much more. Its not a perfect film, and I think its weaker than John Carter, a film whose failure to spawn sequels still irritates. Indeed its weird how Guardians seems to have captured the public’s imagination whilst John Carter was left buried in the box-office dirt- my preference for the latter film may be a contentious issue but I just think it was more natural and fun. Guardians clearly has the bigger ‘wow’ factor with its set-pieces/effects but there is an awful lot of cgi work and very one-dimensional characters amongst its supporting cast. The villains in particular are very weak.

There was a warmth and spirit in John Carter, and a gorgeous sweeping score- in fact I think the music may be the problem. Guardians just feels a little forced, and I think it lacks a personality of its own, mainly because the score is so very poor (the film dominated instead by its clever use of source music). I think these kind of films benefit from having hummable, whistleable tunes. It tries so hard for the spirit of 1977’s Star Wars and 1980s Empire Strikes Back but it lacks their charm, mostly because of its music.  Its nothing unique to Guardians, its a fault common with so many films nowadays, its just the style of scoring so prevalent in Hollywood today. It sounds so bland and generic, no character seems to have an iconic theme or anything.

Its just that, well, Guardians seems to me to be a film easy to admire but not to love, whereas I just adore John Carter. Personal preference I guess. Its not a bad film and I really did enjoy it the second time, but… well, maybe the next one, eh? At least it will get a next one.

 

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5 thoughts on “Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

  1. Good review… It’s exactly what it advertised itself to be n nothing more. And whatever it delivers, it delivers in a remarkably fun manner. Arguably the blockbuster of the year.

  2. Matthew mckinnon

    I went to see it at the cinema. For the first thirty minutes, I didn’t really like it at all, but then it cracked a good joke and I relaxed a bit. It continued cracking very funny jokes all the way through, and by the end I liked it. I’m not mad about it (and I do think the breathless enthusiasm it seems to engender in some quarters is a bit misplaced), but it was fun enough. Much like The Avengers.

    And therein lies one of the reasons John Carter didn’t succeed: it was a dry, dour film. I honestly don’t understand why you rate it: I went in hoping to like it and really hated it. It did so little of interest.

    P.s. Did you find GOTG reminded you a bit of The Chronicles Of Riddick? Very similar plot and fantasy settings.

    1. I’m clearly in the minority regards John Carter, but that’s OK, I guess that’s what makes cult films what they are. I’m not for a minute suggesting its in the same league, but I recall loving Blade Runner back in the eighties when it was a forgotten movie. A movie you cherish in the face of public apathy is a bit like having a favourite rock band no-one has heard of. I love ‘thirties pulp fiction like Robert Howard, Lovecraft, Clark Ashton Smith etc so I guess I am more disposed to enjoying stuff like Carter anyway.

      Regards Guardians and Riddick, yeah, I see the similarities but in a way that was a problem I had with it, you could see so many similarities and ‘homages’ to other stuff. Carter got condemned for all that even though in reality it was the original source, bit like any Dredd film seems to echo RoboCop when it should be the other way round. Its all messed up these days. I do think the wildly positive reaction to Guardians is over the top, but it does indicate how nuts its going to get surrounding the next Star Wars film.

  3. gregory moss

    I haven’t seen Guardians … but it’s great to see there is more love out there for John Carter – definitely a victim of what I call ‘critical bandwagonism’ – it seems people wanted to hate on JC even before it was released. I don’t have a single friend who didn’t thoroughly enjoy John Carter. JC fans unite!

  4. I very much enjoyed Guardians, but have to agree people have gotten carried away with it — it’s a fun time, but absolutely riddled with flaws, which I think many people are happy to ignore just because they laughed at the jokes and liked having something a bit different to see (rather than endless visually and tonally similar blockbusters, and not just the superhero ones).

    From what I’ve seen from this summer so far, I preferred the Apes prequel-sequel — as did the rest of the British public, based on the box office numbers.

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