Tropic Sprockets by Ian Brockway
Guardians of the Galaxy
All joking aside, it seems the Marvel film franchise can make colorfully funny and entertaining films out of any single disparate or odd thing. This very concept has been spoofed on SNL, yet it is, in reality, thankfully and marvelously the case.
In James Gunn's "Guardians of the Galaxy" we meet a Han Soloesque Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a half Iron Man, half frat boy who gets embroiled in a plot to steal an infinity stone, loosely based on The Avengers' Tesseract, an all consuming omnipotent ball of energy.
While the film makes little rational sense it is pure madcap fun, unspooling before our eyes like a posthumous acid trip /collaboration between Lewis Carroll, L. Frank Baum and the very alive Stan Lee.
A galactic government, headed by a "Hunger Games" Glenn Close, corrals a band of misfits together to keep the orb from the hands of the evil Ronan (Lee Pace).
The group includes a cement-witted strongman (the MMA fighter Dave Bautista), a humanoid tree man (Vin Diesel), a beautiful emerald tinted assassin (Zoe Saldana), and a genetically altered raccoon (Bradley Cooper)
Yes, this sounds silly and even preposterous on the face of it, but it works as a kind of hybrid of "Raiders of the Lost Ark" and "Star Trek" meets Seth Rogen.
The dialogue is snappy and irreverent making mincemeat of every past pop fad you can imagine with the kind of breakneck action worthy of a Spielberg matinee epic that is sadly becoming more and more of a rare thing.
Chris Pratt comes close to outdoing Indiana Jones in his heyday. His smile is crooked and his off hand charm is Pop Art manufactured from "Star Wars," and Captain Kirk with a smattering of Bill Murray, yet Pratt turns his Peter Quill into his own unique interpretation of a reluctant hero.
This is essentially a good vs. evil tale but the fun is in the zany permutations and madcap episodes. Rocket, the raccoon, clearly has anger issues. Groot, the tree being, is a passively gentle but flammably fierce protector while muscleman Drax is incapable of using humor or similes.
Despite the characters being unabashedly kitschy and nonsensical (a crude raccoon and a warrior tree stump) the characters are combined in such a helplessly authentic way that we have no choice but to suspend our belief. The film never stoops, dumbs its audience down or panders to us. The repartee is as snarky as Tony Snark nursing a ferric hangover.
This is what "Flash Gordon" of 1980 should have been.
"Guardians of the Galaxy" in style and attitude is a kind of post adolescent "Blade Runner" chock full of suspense, whimsy and musical commentary where anything can (and does) happen.
Write Ian at email@example.com