“I am Groot”
While there are slew of films that come out every year, only a handful are ones that I truly have any desire to watch. I chalk it up to being finicky, or perhaps a more eloquent phrase to employ would be more along the lines of having “distinguishing tastes”. To be fair, the films that I enjoy the most would not be classified within the “sophisticated, film nouveau” category. Thus, for example, while I enjoy humor, many of the films released simply do not cater to my particular sense of what I find humorous. Likewise, while I enjoy action, many of the action films don’t hold my interest due to the overall plot and the characters within the film.
What makes a film work for me ultimately has to do with the story. If the story is interesting, well thought out and engaging it will retain my interest so that it will make me feel invested with what is taking place on screen. Everything begins and end with the story for me, which is why so many current films just fail to warrant my time or energy.
Every blue moon a film comes out that has all of those elements of story, characters, humor, action and drama blended and incorporated into a whole and thus works in a such way that makes watching it purely magical, as well as captivating.
That film for me is Guardians of the Galaxy.
If you have yet to see it, you need to stop reading this review and go see it. Seriously. Go see it now.
As one who grew up during the late 70’s and early 80’s, watching the film was very much a homage to that distinct timeframe. There was a certain freedom and looseness that the film helped to capture in terms of the essence of that past era, that it really brought back not only a sense of nostalgia, but of a sense of homecoming.
Take for example, one of the aspects of the primary character of Peter Quill (aka Starlord) that enabled me to form a connection with, was the importance and deep significance that he held for music and how the film very much revolves around his beloved cassette tape containing songs from his time on Earth which his mother gifted him.
In todays digital tech age, those as teens simply don’t have that profoundly personal experience of making a mixed tape of music, with all the nuances that went into taking the time to choose not only the songs, but to ensure that the songs chosen all would be able to fit on the length of time that the tape provided for. I still have several of the cassette tapes that I crafted with various bands and musicians from the days of my youth. It was truly a different time and a different age.
Hence, in many ways I would classify this film as a space opera, in terms of how the music is specifically chosen for the various moments, moods and sequences throughout the film. The songs themselves could be said to take on a persona or characteristic of the film.
The other aspect of the film that I enjoyed was how it was a truly an old fashion buddy film. While one could argue that the characters meshed too quickly with one another, I would content that the pacing of the film both in terms of the story and the character development was perfectly fine from my vantage point.
It was the interaction of the primary characters which was what made for the most enjoyable elements of the film. There was very much a sense of there being an organic and spontaneous flow of dialogue and interaction between the actors, hence It felt very real and natural as the film unfolded. Credit most definitely needs to be given to director James Gunn for a masterful combination of so many elements combined, all of which worked to create a kaleidoscope of a really cool, fun and refreshing film.
Chris Pratt was very much me twenty years ago. Watching his character unfold throughout the movie was very much like looking into a distant mirror. Those who know me these days might scratch their head at my mentioning that particular personal reveal, but those who knew me back in the day would very much see me through the character of “Star Lord”.
On another personal note, the scene with a nine year old Peter Quill having to face the reality of the his mom dying definitely touched a nerve with me, for having had that very same experience of being at my moms side as she was dying not that long ago. As hard as that scene was for me to take in, I made me identify all the more with Peter Quill/ Star Lord.
Zoe Saldana is always a solid, enjoyable actress. She is able to provide both a toughness and a delicateness that was just right for her character Gamora.
Dave Bautista as Drax was way cool. His performance and delivery was really quite amusing, since he was plaining the straight, no nonsense character against those around him. He encompassed the role well and I very much rigged what he did with the character. The rage and anger he had really were more a mask of the pain of lose that he was suffering from within. I want to see more of Drax in the sequel.
Bradley Cooper as Rocket infused both an-oh-so-wrong-but funny humor to the character, but also very much gave him a “humanity” as well. He rocked…get it…rocked…Rocket…
Karen Gillan as Nebula as hot. I loved her shaved head look.
Then there is Vin Diesel. He was perfectly cast as the Iron Giant within that film long ago, one which sadly not many have seen. I would very much recommend that film to those reading this review. As the voice of the Iron Giant, he brought a humanity to that role. Here within the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vin Diesel is once more perfectly cast as Groot.
It is the character of Groot who in many ways is the heart and soul of the film. It is this character who very much steals the movie, which I contend was the “plan” of James Gunn to being with. Once you watch the film, I think you would readily agree with me.
In summery, there is a great deal of charm and innocence about the film that has been sorely missing or lost within so many films of the recent decade. It very much made for both a refreshing and just plain fun experience to be sitting there at the movie theater. The themes of friendship, innocence, redemption, doing what is right-even if it means making a sacrifice have all been played out innumerably times, though this film combines them in such a manner that makes it fun, heartwarming and a real joy to watch.
As of now, I am so totally invested with these supposed misfits, who are now the Guardians of the Galaxy. I, like so many can not wait to see what their next misadventure will be and where we as an audience will be going. While I can’t wait for next summer to see the Avengers, I find myself much more connected to and identifying with Starlord and the Guardians.
“We are Groot”