Thursday, December 18, 2014

Ooga Chucka!

I wish we'd seen Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) earlier in the year. Then we'd know what to ask for for Christmas.

This was a big Marvel/Disney film, but a different type - wackier. It is about an orphan boy from Eighties Earth who goes to space and becomes a galactic rogue and adventure, who just wants to be called Star Lord. While stealing a mysterious artifact, he is captured space trooper John C. Reilly and sent to prison, where he meets:
  • A vicious talking raccoon voiced by Bradley Cooper
  • His friend, a walking tree who says, "I am Groot" (Vin Diesel!)
  • Gamora, a green warrior woman (Zoe Saldana)
  • Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a huge shirtless warrior with tattoos carved in his skin and no sense of metaphor
They team up to prevent Ronan, a Kree baddie, from using the orb to destroy galactic civilization. This involves much derring-do, cosmic voyaging, and of course, wisecracking and Seventies hit songs.

This is a great space film, with some serious "sensawunda" - planets shaped like giant heads, space battles, future cities and some of my favorite Marvel cosmic characters, the Kree and Thanos. It is also a very silly film, with the jokes and hijinks and Quillermo del Toro playing a very decadent Collector.

But it's also a very character driven film. Star Lord resembles the hero of Last Starfighter in many ways. He's an earth boy taken from his planet and all that he knows, who kicks ass in the big galaxy but misses his home. Rocket Raccoon is a bitter little muskelid, but there's a reason. And Groot, who can only say "I am Groot", is everyone's favorite. Diesel has said that playing Groot, who is kind and life-affirming, helped him cope with the death of his friend and F&F co-star Paul Walker.

This is not a perfect movie, but it may be the perfect adventure movie.

But seriously, which is your favorite "Hooked on a Feeling," the Blue Swede cover or the BJ Thomas original? Blue Swede has horns and a good beat and you can dance to it, but BJ Thomas had an electric sitar, and no Ooga Chuckas. So BJ Thomas wins.

In conclusion: you can get either of us a dancing little Groot doll for Christmas.

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