Guardians Of The Galaxy – A Talking Raccoon Saves The Summer – Review

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Courtesy Marvel/Disney


Courtesy Marvel/Disney

We have been waiting all summer for a fun, explosive, action-packed movie, and it only took until August!

Chris Pratt stars as Peter Quill – a young boy kidnapped from Earth on the night in 1988 when his mother dies from cancer.  This ultimate loner grows up among a pack of alien gypsies, tramps and thieves to become an ace space pilot and somewhat of a bumbling scoundrel in his own right.

On his latest job, Quill picks up a valuable and powerful orb coveted by many, including the nefarious Ronan (Lee Pace), who wants to use it to destroy his greatest enemies.   Now, with a massive bounty on his head, and Ronan’s army chasing him, Quill is the most wanted man in the universe, and he might need some friends to count on.

Unfortunately for him, these potential pals are the same people who are trying to collect the bounty including Rocket (voice by Bradley Cooper), Groot (voice by Vin Diesel), Drax (body and voice by David Bautista) and Gamora (very sexy body and voice by Zoe Saldana).

Can this ragtag motley crew of rogues find a way to work together and get what each one of them really wants?

Guardians Of The Galaxy presents a huge challenge for Marvel, and the creative force finds a way to meet and exceed that challenge.

On paper, everything about the movie seems to be wrong.

This group is not from the premiere, top of the line, marquee products like Iron Man and The Avengers.

Everyone seems to be cast in the wrong role.

The movie is coming out in August, long after the biggest and brightest hits of summer have come and gone.

Yet, Guardians Of The Galaxy is one of only two or three movies from the Summer of 2014 you will remember and want to see again.

It does start with those daring and amazing casting decisions.  Pratt is far from being the muscular hulk Vin Diesel is or the A-list superstar Bradley Cooper is.  This guy is best known as the doughy, goofy and lovable comedy star of a cult TV show, but 2014 has become the Year of Chris Pratt after his appearance in The Lego Movie and how he molded himself into an action hero who has the comic chops to make this quirky film work so well.

Pratt gives Quill the needed mix of vulnerability, charm, daring, clumsiness, bravery and decency to bring the character to life.  This isn’t your typical action movie, so you need an atypical hero, and Pratt is able to bring his comedic timing, gentle awkwardness and overall likability to the screen in ways that will make him a huge star (or score a hefty payday for his next movie with the hopes it doesn’t flop and send him back to TV land).  The movie would be a disaster if it had a traditional lead.  We need Pratt’s irreverence to make the lines funny instead of pathetic.

However, Rocket is the superstar of Guardians Of The Galaxy.  Cooper is hiding his beautiful beautiful face by only providing the voice of this rascally raccoon, but the attitude that embodies that squat little varmint’s body is the kind of stuff that legends are made of.  With all of the best wisecracks, and tons of over-the-top action, Cooper is loving every minute of his performance as Rocket, and the rest of us can’t help but be sucked in as well.  Rocket is an intoxicating character, the bad boy we all like and want to be, and Cooper is rolling with it.  Plus, talking animals are funny!

Writer/director James Gunn and co-writer Nicole Perlman keep the action moving, and avoid getting too bogged down in plot and minutiae, which keeps the energy pumping in Guardians Of The Galaxy.  Hardcore fans get what they want, and the non-initiated get a fun movie they can enjoy just as much (without having to memorize a bunch of Sci Fi jargon, people, places and things).

While the movie feels a bit too long, and it’s kind of a Star Wars rip-off, you might be having too much fun to notice.

4waffles_sml4 Waffles (Out of 4)

Guardians Of The Galaxy is rated PG-13 for intense sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and for some language.

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