Guardians of the Galaxy Blu-ray Review
“I’m gonna die surrounded by the biggest idiots in the galaxy.” Gamora (Zoe Saldana)
Marvel has made quite a name for themselves under the meta-leadership of studio head Kevin Feige. The success of the IRON MAN franchise spurred a movement; suddenly it isn’t just geeks/nerds who love comic book movies, everyone is in on the game. And with the success of superhero team-up THE AVENGERS it seemed like things had hit their peak. But perhaps the biggest surprise for audiences was the phenomenal summer blockbuster GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, released this year to critical and box office acclaim. But is it the perfect comic book film?
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY isn’t the typical hero/superhero film. Instead of taking place on Earth, this film (apropos to the title) is told on a Galactic scale. When a group of intergalactic criminals are brought together, they form a rag-tag team to stop a fanatical warrior from genocide and eventual universal dominion. Sounds like a fairly simple premise huh? Part of the reason GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY works is because it actually IS a fairly simple story and it’s told beautifully well by the enigmatic James Gunn. Gunn started his career with a string of interesting, if polarizing, features including SLITHER (2006), SUPER (2010), and a piece of the embarrassing MOVIE 43 (2013). But with GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY Gunn shows a deftness and complexity in both his writing and his visual style that are a step above his previous work.
Another reason GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY works where so many other science fictions fail to connect is the beautiful casting. It’s not a conventional cast by any means, certainly not the typical “A-list” stars (at least before the movie was released, though they are now). The starring role, Peter Quill (aka Star Lord) was unconventionally given to Chris Pratt – yep, the guy who played Emmett in THE LEGO MOVIE. And you know what – he’s just a likeable playing an outlaw as he is in that lovable role. Starring alongside Pratt are Zoe Saldana as Gamora, daughter of Thanos. Gamora is a genetically engineered assassin who tangles with Quill early on in an attempt to retrieve “the orb” Quill pulled from a mysterious planet.
Because Quill double-crossed his Ravager partner, Yandu (Michael Rooker), a bounty is placed on his head which draws the attention of Rocket, a genetically-altered raccoon presented in visually-defying CGI, and his partner Groot, another CGI creation who can only utter the words “I am Groot.” Rocket is voiced by an almost unrecognizable Bradley Cooper and Groot is voiced by Vin Diesel; unbelievably these two characters are easily the most charming part of the film.
All four are picked up and put into a high security prison while Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) begins tracking them to get whatever is contained within the orb. Inside the prison they meet the final member of their five man team, Drax the Destroyer, who is played with zeal by former-wrestler Dave Bautista. Once again not a traditional choice for a huge summer event movie but the choice is just perfect.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY works on so many levels it is difficult to explain. Probably the most enigmatic thing about the whole movie is just how the filmmakers were able to make these characters so likeable in even bad situations. From the onset of the film you find yourself rooting for this mixed up band of unlikely heroes; loving the moments when they come together and hoping they will be able to keep it together as they traverse the galaxy. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY delivers on Marvel’s promise, something not that easy to do if you look at other recent comic-book movies like THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN 2. This film is great fun, traversing the distance between comic book fans, jocks, nerds, and pretty much everyone to deliver a great story.
Video: (1080p Widescreen 2.40:1) Disney (hence Marvel) presents some of the best visuals on Blu-ray you’ll ever see and GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY doesn’t disappoint. Unbelievably, perhaps, this is one of the most immersive visual experiences of the year despite the incredible galactic locations.
Audio: (English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1) The audio for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY, including a soundtrack that absolutely must be mentioned, is mixed beautifully and is immersive.
Guide to the Galaxy with James Gunn (20:56) The stunning visual dynamic created by Director James Gunn for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is presented here intercut with interviews, behind the scenes footage, and a creative 8- or 16-bit creation that is absolutely wonderful. A must-see if you enjoyed the film or want to know about the makeup process or just how much work is required to put together a film like GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY.
The Intergalactic Visual Effects for GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (07:11) The visual effects get a lot of love here, including some focus on Rocket and Groot. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is an accomplishment in the amazing way you’ll find yourself forgetting whether these are real characters or CQI. It’s incredible.
Exclusive Look at Marvel’s AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON (02:17) Part behind the scenes footage, part Kevin Feige, Joss Whedon, and others talking about the upcoming behemoth that will follow up GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. Completely ambiguous and totally intriguing.
Deleted & Extended Scenes (04:22): Available with Play All and Optional Commentary (a must if you’re going to check out this amount of material), GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY made some great decisions in what they cut but these are actually really fun to watch.
Gag Reel (03:54) A standard gag reel, if you like them you’ll have fun with this one.
Audio Commentary with director James Gunn (02:00:51) In case you want to check out GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY again, this is a worthwhile commentary. James Gunn thought out every aspect of this film and its backstory. His love of the material is apparent and makes this an absolute joy to view even if you’re just a fan of the movie.