AEOS Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

If you’re looking for a family-friendly, entertaining and fun movie, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is the movie to go see this summer.

I have to admit, when I first heard of it, I wasn’t super excited to see it. This isn’t because the trailer didn’t look intriguing, because it looked funny enough to me. I now love the song “Hooked on a Feeling” because of the trailers. But a movie with a tree and a talking raccoon and green, pink, and blue people . . . I wasn’t sure if there would be too big of a learning curve to understand the terminology, characters, and places within the Guardians of the Galaxy universe. I wasn’t sure if I were geeky enough to be a fan.

The movie opens with a young Peter Quill Star Lord, who awkwardly watches in terror as his mother dies. We don’t know anything about his father, other than that he will eventually arrive to take care of him. Then suddenly, little Peter runs outside, and a space ship sucks him up. And then we’re somewhere brand new.

Introduce a whole new space world where it’s normal to be blue or green or probably any other color for that matter. Twenty-six years have passed. Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) has grown up, and he’s on a mission to retrieve an orb. After he duels it out with Korath (Djimon Hounsou) and escapes, Korath reports back to Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) that Peter has made off with orb. Ronan assigns Nebula (Karen Gillan) the task to reclaim the orb, but Gamora (Zoe Saldana) proposes she go instead.

Meanwhile, Peter’s partner, Yondu (Michael Rooker), wants the orb for himself, but Peter decides to sell it to another buyer. Everything seems to be fine until Peter mentions the name “Ronan,” and the buyer suddenly loses all interest in the orb.

Quill, however, doesn’t have much time to decide what he wants to do with the orb, because others are interested in it. Enter Gamora, who doesn’t bother flirting for more than thirty seconds before snatching the orb and making a run for it. Enter one crazy, gun-toting raccoon named Rocket (voiced by Bradley Cooper), followed by his tree partner, Groot (Vin Diesel), who handles the heavy-lifting end of their team. They’ve discovered the bounty for capturing Peter Quill, and they’re out to retrieve him, while Gamora and Quill are fighting over possession of the orb. Soon we have four characters in a tangled mess, while we still are not exactly sure why the orb is so important.

Unfortunately for the four thieves, they are captured and thrown into a space prison by Nova Headquarters, headed by Nova Prime (Glen Close). In prison, we meet Drax (Dave Bautista) who has a score to settle with Ronan, who murdered his wife and daughter. Drax has it out for Gamora, who he believes is in league with Ronan. Peter, Rocket, and Groot team together to break out of prison. Gamora strikes a deal with them, offering up money to let her join in on the prison break. We learn that Gamora has her own plans aside from Ronan’s, and seeks to get out from under his heavy grasp. Drax eases his way into the group, also wanting to be released and gain vengeance for his loved ones by killing Ronan. The five fight together to break out of prison, and we start to learn each of the character’s goals, their desires for what each would like to do with the orb, and the importance behind the orb.

While I feel like the beginning of Guardians of the Galaxy is a little convoluted, involving a lot of strange new characters and places, I do feel like the film picks up speed, gets to the point, and has such a fun time doing it. I recently read a very helpful article over at EW that answered some questions and explained some of the terminology and overall storyline regarding the purple infinity stone and the infinity stone belt. I’d recommend it to anyone, like me, who isn’t very familiar with the universe.

During some of the space fights, I felt like Guardians was inspired a little by the original Star Wars films, and I couldn’t help but think of them as they were flying around. Bradley Cooper does great voice work as the snarky, sarcastic Rocket Raccoon. Plus, I think it’s the first and probably only time I thought a raccoon could be cute. Chris Pratt, instead of needing to rise to the challenge, seems to naturally fit the role to play a silly, meaningful leader in the film. It’s as if he’s discovered the role he was always meant to play. Both the villains and heroes were played by a strong cast proven to be fully devoted to the film’s script and tone. For me, the writing seemed to get sharper as the film continued, and the humor seems universally-appealing to a large scope of viewers. The line “finger to the throat means death” made me laugh, followed by Drax’s explanation that “nothing goes over my head!” The editor inside of me is glad he eventually learned what a metaphor is.

Aside from the humor of the film, I felt like it touched on some deeper ideas, balancing the film with action, emotion, and humor, with some intentional deep thought throughout. I was caught off-guard to hear Rocket bitingly respond that although everyone’s lost people, it’s not an excuse to give up. It’s true that everyone has lost someone. That fact doesn’t make a person exceptional, nor should it exclude one from moving on in life. I appreciated the emotional lesson of his line, although his lack of compassion seemed more balanced by Drax’s character, who admirably fought Ronan, quickly learning that although he couldn’t defeat him, he would die trying if necessary. Even Peter revealed his softer side, risking his life to rescue his walkman with the “Awesome Mix,” which is, by the way, awesome.

And speaking of the Awesome Mix, one of my favorite parts, and perhaps one of the best parts of Guardians of the Galaxy is its soundtrack. Some of the people who attended the movie with me mentioned they had never heard any of the music before. I guess that says something about my age, considering that I knew most of the music already. It’s a great soundtrack, and I’m sure it will boost sales for the oldies that haven’t been bought in a while.

The Marvel cinematic universe has launched another successful film. I give Guardians of the Galaxy

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Now it’s your turn. What did you think of Guardians of the Galaxy? Please join the discussion below, because I would love to know your thoughts!

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The New Academy Darlings

I posted like crazy in the past 5 days, so I’ll be keeping it short today. Obviously, the Oscars were last night and most of the results did not come as a surprise to many of us. I’m thrilled to say that my top 4 picks won (Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, Best Picture) [It’s true: check out my Oscar posts for acting, directing, and picture]. I’m beyond happy that Meryl Streep and Jean Dujardin won Best Actress and Best Actor. They were both wonderful in their respective films.

Perhaps Entertainment Weekly spoke too soon.*

*I loved Clooney and Davis in their films, but I loved Streep and Dujardin even more. 

Love Week: My Theory about the Mother in HIMYM

This week, I have strayed from my usual format–I’ve been late in posting, and I’m only on my measly third post for the week *shakes head in shame*. Regardless, I feel like there’s a post I need to write about, so in the spirit of love (with it being Love Week here), I am writing about my favorite TV show How I Met Your Mother.

A lot of people blog about this show. As often as they post, I make it habit to check out TVLine or EW’s reaction to the latest episode, and I always have the blogsite “Have You Met Ted” on my online reading list.

Now I just read this post, featured today on Freshly Pressed. And while I can definitely see where the writer is coming from, it still saddens me to read about the unfortunate backlash HIMYM is receiving with its recycled ideas popping up in recent episodes. There’s been this massive amount of disappointment looming over this season, and for some reason, I can’t seem to jump on this disappointment bus. I enjoy the show too much, and perhaps I don’t find myself involved enough to be as frustrated as the last HIMYM fan.

Which leads me to theorize on who the mother is. One of the most popular theories is that Ted meets Barney’s half-sister at Barney’s wedding, marries her, and hence Uncle Barney . . . and wait for it . . . Aunt Robin, because of course, fans want Robin and Barney to get together. And I would love to see Barney and Robin together too. But here’s the thing . . . why? I remember watching season 5, and everyone claimed it was the worst season of the show yet. Everyone hated watching Barney throw away his womanizing ways to get serious with a character. There was less to laugh about in the show, and the show lacked that extra “thing” that made it so funny when Barney was in a committed relationship. Now with seasons 5, 6, and parts of 7 behind us, everyone is rooting for the two to get back together.

And then last episode, Ted proclaims his love for Robin . . .

Talk about serious backlash. People are ticked at this, and I am not one of those people. I’ve been rooting for Ted and Robin for a long time, and for me, this is a good thing. The main reason Barney and Robin didn’t work is because they canceled one another out. They both are so similar, that they almost seem to not complement one another as well.

Here is my theory on the mother–why does she have to be the same person as Ted’s wife? I can easily see myself analyzing the situation a little much, but I can’t help but think that there’s even a slight possibility that Ted’s wife and the mother of his children are not the same person. HIMYM set Barney and Robin up to fail (at least in season 5, and partly in season 7 as well)–with so much shared in common, they’re almost too much for each other. For all of the great things future Ted has foreshadowed about “the mother,” I sometimes wonder if HIMYM writers believe in the same formula for Ted and the mother that they did in season 5 for Robin and Barney–so much the same, that they drive each other nuts.

Could it be possible that Ted and Robin end up together, yet Ted and “the mother” still have two children? I will definitely admit the idea seems to stray from the usual character of Ted, but Ted is a different guy since the early seasons. And would it not be the craziest way to surprise viewers? I certainly have to wonder.

All that to say that I’m beginning to believe that the question of How I Met Your Mother has shifted from “Who will Ted marry?” to “Who will Robin marry?”

Perhaps in the next few episodes, things will shift enough that this theory will be completely improbable for the show, similar to how the show functions–one day in, the next day out. But for now, I’m putting the thought out there that maybe there’s another possibility most people haven’t considered. We all know Robin isn’t the mother. But could she be Ted’s wife?

Now that I’ve offended all of the diehard RoBarn fans, removed myself from the popular point of view that HIMYM is not what it used to be (OK, I agree, it’s not, but I still don’t think it’s as bad as everyone’s making it out to be . . . ), and even blogged about a TV show instead of something pertaining to film, I have to ask those of you out there who watch the show . . .

What’s your theory? Do you think it’s possible that Ted and Robin could end up together? Do you think the mother and Ted’s wife could be different people? Weigh in and share your thoughts.