You might be wondering who are these people and why have I started my write-up with their names. This group of men is collectively called Disney’s Nine Old Men, who felt animation needed a radically different approach than cinema right in its infancy, and started collaborating on most of Disney’s classic cartoons from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs onward. Look up any notable Disney movie from that era, and you’d find these animators contributing on the movie character-by-character.
You must have realized by now, this is hardly a review, but we will get to Guardians shortly.
This brain trust approach was again adopted by Pixar, where people like Pete Doctor, John Lasseter and Brad Bird would collaborate on a movie, delivering classics like Toy Story, Ratatouille and The Incredibles on a trot. The motto was simple “the best idea in the room wins!” This approach has now also been taken up by Marvel, but in a slightly different manner.
Sometime around Iron Man, I logged onto IMDb and was astonished to see Samuel Jackson supposedly recruited for 9 possible projects playing the same character of Nick Fury. I was flabbergasted, as I hadn’t seen anything like it before. Iron Man came out in 2008, and it’s been a good seven years (including Iron Man production time) and the plan seems to have worked.
A massive, complex and coherent universe like Marvel’s, where every character is part of each other’s vehicle, could never have worked had it been left to each individual director’s indulgence.
This Friday, Guardians Of The Galaxy releases in the theatres. What you have seen till now is only the first 3rd of the grand scheme, because Guardians is supposed to usher in the second phase of the Marvel universe. So obviously, the expectations were huge.
Now the best decision that the Brain took was hiring a rather unknown James Gunn as its director and a rising star Chris Pratt as its lead. It immediately takes off most of the immense load, and lets you enjoy the movie for what it is: a huge, magnificent science fiction extravaganza reportedly made at a cost of 170 million dollars that still manages to give out vibes of an indie.
Guardians Of The Galaxy is about a group of 5 criminals: Gamora (Zoe Saldana), an orphan who seeks to go against the titan Thanos, Drax (WWE Superstar Dave Bautista), a hulk like alien who seeks revenge against Ronin for killing his family, Rocket (Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel), a duo of mercenaries who are in it for the money and Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), an abducted human who is now a pirate and steals the MacGuffin, played in this movie by an orb which contains the infinity stone, an immensely powerful object that can destroy planets and makes the wielder indefatigable. 15 action set pieces and 8 emotionally resonant scenes later, Ronin is defeated and there is a satisfactory illusion of peace till the sequel releases.
Now, the movie doesn’t have the most original plot, or path breaking visuals. The story is a nod to anything and everything since Star Wars, the Holy Grail of space opera, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a lot of fun. And most of it is possible only because more importance is given to the characters rather than the visual trickery. When Groot says “I am Groot” as a reply to everything, you laugh at him, and don’t even realize when the weird tree-man has moved himself deep into your heart. You feel Rocket’s discomfort, an emotionally strong character otherwise, when he shares his insecurities and pain. You want Gamora to right what is wrong. You want Drax to have his revenge for the atrocity committed against his family. And you want the unlikely hero Peter Quill to succeed as the chosen one. Also, the fact this is one of those movies that gets 3D right helps.
It’s been a long time since I have enjoyed a massy blockbuster this much, (I am not a huge fan of The Avengers, and Pacific Rim didn’t get the success it deserved), but it still left me slightly dissatisfied. And for that, only the American media is to be blamed, who tagged this movie as revolutionary as the Star Wars.
Don’t go in with expectations that huge, and you are bound to have an incredible time.