Every once in a while, a smart, original adventure flick comes along with multi-faceted characters, emotional punch and a plot worthy of Shakespeare. More often though, an over-digitised rehash of familiar bits from every fantasy flick you’ve ever watched and forgotten hits screens. Then, everybody aboard the Marvel bandwagon brands it a masterpiece, because it’s big, loud and loosely based on a kiddie comic book.
Guardians of The Galaxy is 2014’s version of that movie. The plot involves something along the lines of a wise-cracking white guy leading a bunch of 1D aliens through an eye-popping 3D Solar System. They’re in search of some MacGuffin orb, inevitably coveted by an oh-so-evil baddie straight from the scrapbook of stock villains. The main characters include a cheeky CG raccoon and a talking tree (also CG), voiced by big names, Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel who, presumably, were very happy to nab a few quid on set of a dead-cert box office smash without having to show their faces.
Fortunately, the film isn’t completely devoid of emotion. For example, it’s supposed to be funny that the talking tree has only one repeated line throughout the movie (ha ha) and then sad when (spoiler alert) said talking tree sacrifices itself and changes said line slightly in a nod to stale platitudes about friendship and bonding.
Mind you, I guess these guys have been through a lot of green screens together; the final act is an hour of digital explosions and pixelated fight sequences; a viewing experience which bears an uncanny resemblance to watching a video game once a hyperactive toddler starts hogging the controller. As for Diesel’s Groot, if anything, he’s a hollow oak reminder that CGI still hasn’t come far enough to give us tangible characters in a Live Action Movie, despite Motion Capture technology making Groot’s movements about as convincing as a humanoid tree’s can get.
The film’s one and only redeeming feature is an ill-fitting retro rock soundtrack. Well, that and watching the odd decent actor like Djimon Honsou embarrass themselves by showing up as the kind of humanoid alien that’s essentially just a regular person with bits of shit stuck on his head. And for that, and a sexy painted-blue lady, this was nominated for Best Make-Up at The Oscars… Utterly abysmal.