An Irresistibly Awesome Mix, Vol. 1
Thanks to Disney Australia we had the chance to see Marvel’s eagerly anticipated ‘’Guardians of The Galaxy’ before its Australian cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself!
Peter Quill is only a young boy when he gets abducted by an alien spaceship in the late eighties. A quarter of a century later the young kid has become a reckless bounty hunter named Star Lord (Chris Pratt). When this carefree scoundrel collects a mysterious object for an anonymous client, he gets more than he bargained for. Before he realises what’s going on Quill is being chased by a green-skinned assassin named Gamora (Zoe Saldana) as well as a bounty hunter duo consisting of gun-toting raccoon called Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and a walking tree named Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).
By chance the foursome end up being imprisoned together, and in jail they meet the enormous Drax the Destroyer (former WWE-Wrestler David Bautista). This powerhouse is out to take revenge on the evil Ronan The Accuser (Lee Pace), who killed his family. When Drax finds out these four strangers can get him closer to Ronan, he joins their mission. Together the five Guardians of the Galaxy stage an outrageous jailbreak and their epic adventure begins. Initially they’re only in it for the money and for revenge, but eventually the fate of the universe will depend on this rag-tag bunch of criminals.
Music plays a central role in this film and early on we get to see the name of Star Lord’s 70’s & 80’s music compilation: “Awesome Mix, Volume 1”. It is one of the first of many self-referencing jokes in the movie, since director James Gunn is absolutely aware that he created quite the awesome mix with this film: An Awesome Mix of everything there is to love about cinema, an Awesome Mix of Indiana Jones with Star Wars and an almost Tarantino-esque dialogue and music choices, and an Awesome Mix of fun, action, comedy and more fun. Gunn has proven himself the right man for the job since his quirkiness and off-beat style bring an unusually witty indie-feel to this spectacular blockbuster, that makes it impossible to resist for virtually anyone who loves movies.
Where the trailers for ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ were bold enough to throw in references to modern day classics as The Usual Suspects (with the line-up) and Reservoir Dogs (with the prominent use of Blue Suede’s ‘Hooked On A Feeling’), the movie itself ups it a few more notches with an opening credits scene that is a one big reference to ‘Raiders of the Lost Ark’. But most of all ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ will remind you of Star Wars in a good way. This film is all about fun, and space probably hasn’t been this much fun since 1983’s ‘Return of the Jedi’.
In spite of the many references to 70’s & 80’s movies and music, ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ feels contemporary and fresh, due to its sheer originality but also due to its irreverent sense of self-referencing humour, which the film applies in a similar creative way like the ‘Lego Movie’ and ‘22 Jump Street’ did earlier on in the year. It looks like out-there off-beat comedy is becoming a trend in Hollywood, and that can only be a good thing.
And then there is the music, the “Awesome Mix Volume 1” itself. Once again the comparison with Tarantino pops up, and not just because of Blue Suede’s ‘Hooked On A Feeling’. ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ may be the first movie since Tarantino’s ‘Reservoir Dogs’ and ‘Pulp Fiction’, where the soundtrack is such an integral part of the movie to the extent that certain songs will be linked to the film forever; from now on whenever you hear Redbone’s ‘Come and Get Your Love’, you will think of the ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’-opening scene where Star Lord dances his way through deserted valleys on a faraway planet. And you will smile, and you will want to watch this movie again straight away. The songs and the film are linked the same way George Baker’s ‘Little Green Bag’ or Stealers Wheel’s ‘Stuck in the Middle with You’ are linked to ‘Reservoir Dogs’, the same way Dick Dale’s ‘Miseriloo’ or Tammy Wynette’s ‘Son Of A Preacherman’ are linked to ‘Pulp Fiction’. Of course James Gunn has made prominent use of 70’s and 80’s pop before; as Aussie movie viewers who have seen his debut movie ‘Slither’ no doubt remember, he basically made ‘All Out Of Love’ by Australia’s own Air Supply the theme song of this underrated splatterfest.
‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ does have its flaws but they do not really matter; the villains (played by big names like Benicio Del Toro, Josh Brolin and Djimon Hounsou) are all just side-characters since this film is really all about is five title characters, and as great as the action scenes may be they sometimes seem to be getting in the way of the story and the dialogue; after five minutes of jawdroppingly spectacular 3D battle scenes you can’t help but yearn for more wisecracking by Rocket Raccoon. Every other blockbuster is all about the action, but in ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ the action gets in the way of the Awesome Mix of everything else; That is quite a luxury problem if there ever was one.
‘Guardians of The Galaxy’ is not just a great creative success for the cast and crew, it is also a consolidation of Marvel Studios as the most powerful and popular film studio out there right now. Marvel’s previous nine movies have been built around the world-famous iconic characters of The Avengers, but except for die-hard comic book fans no one had ever heard of the Guardians of The Galaxy before this movie was announced, yet it will be a huge success. This proves the power of the Marvel Studios brand, and it means that whatever new characters they will be launching in the future, from Antman to Dr. Strange to Black Panther to the Inhumans or maybe even Miss Marvel, movie audiences around the world will show up in huge numbers to see these characters on the big screen, just because they’re Marvel. The powerhouse studio recently displayed it is aware of its status by bullishly announcing release dates for six new movies all the way up until 2019, including a sequel for ‘Guardians of The Galaxy’, and this “Awesome Mix Vol. 2” should hit our screens late July 2017. For comic-book loving movie fans, the future has never looked brighter.