REVIEW: GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (2014)

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Gamora: We’re just like Kevin Bacon.

Director: James Gunn

Cast: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper

Synopsis: A disparate team of thieves and bounty hunters join together to save the galaxy from an evil tyrant named Ronan the Accuser.

Review:

The latest blockbuster from Marvel Studios delivers all of the adventure and excitement of their previous comic book adaptations. A fast and enjoyable ride that will push these Marvel characters into the mainstream. The problem is it also doesn’t improve or transcend the genre either. This is not a complaint as this film not only delivers the thrills of the best superhero genre films but also subverts the conventions with quirky humour and a superb soundtrack of 70s and 80s hits. The only problem is that it doesn’t attempt to move beyond what has come before such as this years Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which delivered breathtaking action with excellent character drama. Perhaps it is too soon to compare this film to Captain America TWS because we have gotten to know those characters through multiple films and this is an origin story which ultimately must follow those conventions strictly to gain a wider audience. The inevitable sequel may use its time to delve into the characters further and create a deeper and more realised narrative. However what we have here feels somewhat rushed and fast paced to the point of shallow character development and more emphasis on special effects, action and humour. For the average movie goer this is sufficient for a good time at the movies and although this film is better than most of the blockbusters this year, including The Amazing Spiderman 2 and Transformers: Age of Extinction, it’s not a game changer either.

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The story begins in 1988 with a child named Peter Quill listening to ‘I’m not in Love’ the smooth 80s ballad on his Walkman, while waiting in a hospital preparing to see his ill mother. A heartfelt opening which is perhaps unlike any opening of a Marvel film we have seen. The heartfelt sequence is soon interrupted by Peter running off and randomly being taken by a spaceship. Cut to the future where Peter is a grown man still listening to his Walkman searching for a lost orb on another planet. We can see shades of Raiders of the Lost Ark and Star Wars immediately. Director James Gunn quickly subverts the genre with the Indiana Jones looking Chris Pratt dancing around the planet while he looks for the orb. This is a fun film with lots of humorous moments throughout and possibly the closest we’ll get to a great sci-fi comedy in the vein of Ghostbusters. Chris Pratt is almost a lighter Bill Murray. The film quickly gets into the space action and Gunn films it clearly and allows special effects to dazzle the audience. Peter quickly gets introduced to the other members of the team including Gamora (the sexy Zoe Saldana), Rocket, an anthropomorphised raccoon (voiced by a scraggly Bradley Cooper), the dumb and lovable tree, Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel) and the bulky Drax the Destroyer (played with deadpan humour by professional wrestler, Dave Bautista). The crew come together rather quickly and I didn’t completely buy their immediate friendship based on how they get together. The films biggest fault in my opinion is in their introductions and the fast paced plotting of having them immediately all come together to become friends and ultimately defeat the evil force threatening the world. It’s almost as if the writers thought “Hey, we’ve got a team of badass characters who all have individual quirky traits who need to get together to save the world and then become best friends just like the avengers!” However these characters would have benefitted with more character development in their earlier introduction scenes and also remain individuals by the end. I’m not sure if it was necessary to establish them as a great team by the end because of how independent their backstories are. *Spoiler alert* I have to say I didn’t buy the ending where they all got together to go on another adventure. The film set them up to get together to fight this evil but I didn’t believe that they would always stay together and remain a team because of their pasts. I guess the comic book might have developed the characters better, but I have never read a Guardians of the Galaxy comic and I didn’t quite buy them as a team in this film.

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However these complaints aside I have to say the humour, action set pieces and the characters were all excellent and I did have a great time watching this film. Narrative problems aside this was a fun ride.

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Rating: 3.5 Stars

 

Digital Storytelling: Film Review Podcast – Hq Movie Reviews Podcast May 2014

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I have just finished my very first podcast. Since being introduced to the idea of creating a non-fiction digital story I wanted to do my own Film Review Show just like David and Margaret’s At the Movies on the ABC.

Since I was completing the digital story on my own I wasn’t allowed to make a film (or show) so I decided to do a podcast. I love listening to lots of film review podcasts such as Now Playing.

The episode layout for my podcast would be looking back at a particular month. Review the big releases and make a top ten list relating to the most popular film of that month. Since there were three Marvel superhero blockbusters in May I decided to review them all back to back and also create a top ten list relating to superhero films.

I enjoyed completing this podcast and I got help from Alex who is also studying her Masters in Media. Alex agreed to be a special guest and help out with my top ten list.

I thoroughly enjoyed this whole podcasting process. From reviewing the films, writing a script and the final editing. I wrote a script of the program. Recorded my voice using my Macbook Pro and edited it together using Adobe Premiere Pro. I included audio from the films I reviewed and downloaded the audio online. I also found a song to play as an intro and outro from freesound.org. Alex recorded her voice and sent it to me through Google drive and I edited it together.

However it didn’t all go smoothly and I would do things differently for my next podcast. First of all I would record Alex and I’s top ten together to include more of a rapport between us. Due to lack of time I got her  to record it on her own but as I was editing I realised it could’ve been better if we were in the same room. Also this week just when everything is due I caught a nasty bacterial infection which affected my throat. So halfway through the podcast you can hear my voice drastically change.

My digital marketing strategy includes advertising on facebook, twitter, instagram, linkedin, and on this blog. I want to upload the podcast to an RSS feed and hopefully get it on iTunes in the coming weeks I’ll definitely keep working on that. I hope to continue with this series and hopefully build up a fanbase.

All in all though I did love the experience and keep posted for more Hq Movie Review Podcasts coming out every month with more special guests.