Bear with me here…I know I’ve written about this before, but I think its pertinent.
Back in 1977 I was an 11 year old boy who absolutely loved science fiction. I couldn’t get enough of the then in syndication original Star Trek, Twilight Zone, Outer Limits, Wild, Wild, West, etc. I was heavily into reading sci-fi books and equally, if not more so, into reading comic books. And science fiction films? I was head over heels for them, catching whatever I could whenever I could.
I don’t recall the exact details but word got out back then in 1977 that a brand new science fiction feature film was THE hot ticket to catch that summer. The movie was Star Wars. I headed to the closest cinema on, I believe, the first or second week of that movie’s release, sat in my chair, and waited to be blown away. The lights went down, the movie started and the crowd around me, for the most part composed of younger boys like myself, went wild. They whooped and hollered. They clapped and screamed.
And I sat there as the movie played out and wondered what it was I was missing.
Don’t get me wrong: I didn’t hate Star Wars. But despite my age (I was an ideal age for the movie’s release), my interests (ditto), and the euphoric crowd around me which should have at the least pumped me up, the film just left me…cold. So little did Star Wars thrill me that I skipped that movie’s highly anticipated sequel, The Empire Strikes Back when it first appeared in theaters. I wouldn’t see that film until a couple of years later, when it aired on TV. I thought Empire was OK but my feelings regarding it were on par with the original.
Fast forward to this year. I’m a whole lot older but many of the interests I had back in 1977 remain with me today. I still love science-fiction. I still love to watch sci-fi on TV or in the movies, and I’m always on the look out for genuinely good sci-fi fare.
So this past summer, THE big movie release proved to be Guardians of the Galaxy. After all was said and done, not only did the movie have the largest box office of the year, it scored an genuinely impressive 90% positive among critics and astonishingly strong 94% positive among audiences according to Rottentomatoes.com.
I didn’t have the time to catch the film when it was released theatrically, though there was at least one occasion where I almost saw it. When the film was finally released to video, I quickly snatched up a copy of the BluRay.
Yesterday, I finally had time to watch this film.
History, it would seem, has a habit of repeating itself, no?
For what is Guardians of the Galaxy but a modernized updating (and for the most part remake) of Star Wars? Think about it: Our hero, Peter Quill, aka StarLord (Chris Pratt), is essentially a dual/hybrid version of both Luke Skywalker and Han Solo. You had your Princess Leia-ish character in Gamora (Zoe Saldana), your Chewbacca in Drax (David Bautista), C3P0/R2D2 in Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), and Obi-Wan Kenobi in Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel).
As for the bad guys, you have your “Emperor” in Thanatos (his appearance in this film, IMHO, was a complete waste), your Grand Moff Tarkin was Ronan while your Darth Vader was Nebula (the usually very delightful Karen Gillian, virtually unrecognizable under a ton of makeup). Nebula, like Darth Vader, (SPOILER!) escapes death at the end of the feature to appear, of course, in the sequel to come.
The plot involves the bad guy trying to get a hold of a Infinity Gem which will allow him to destroy a world (another Star Wars concept, no?), and through the course of the adventure our heroes even wind up breaking out of a prison.
I have to ask: If you are like me and didn’t care all that much for Star Wars, what do you suppose the odds are you’d would like a virtual clone of that film?
By this point in time, it’s silly to either recommend of urge people away from this film. Audiences have spoken with their wallets and with the critics’ adulation. Still, despite some humorous lines here and there, I really didn’t like this film.
I know, I fall into a very small group, the 10% of critics and 6% of audiences that didn’t like Guardians of the Galaxy. Yet there you have it. Unlike the vast majority of people out there, this film just didn’t do it for me.