News

REVIEW: ‘Guardians’ among year’s most entertaining

REVIEW: ‘Guardians’ among year’s most entertaining

Photo: YouTube

Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | Run Time: 121 min | Rated: PG-13
Director: James Gunn | Starring: Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Djimon Hounsou

By: George Wolf of Maddwolf.com

As a rule, August – like January – is the month studios sweep out their bin of movies that weren’t quite good enough to make the prime time cut. Usually we can expect little more than dregs until mid-autumn, when both holiday and awards season begins in earnest and studios once again proudly populate cinemas.

And yet, in what has been the summer of SciFi, James Gunn elevates our August with one of the most entertaining films of 2014, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy.

An uneasy bond connects five interstellar losers, each needing another to 1) avenge, 2) cash in, 3) survive, and 4) save the galaxy. It has to do with an orb, is all very cosmic bounty hunter-y, and includes a raccoon that sounds remarkably like 2011’s Sexiest Man Alive.

Right there – casting Bradley Cooper as the raccoon – Gunn zigs when you expect him to zag. Cooper excels as the very angry varmint, joining an entirely inspired cast.

Chris Pratt, who beefcaked up a bit for the gig, shoulders the leading role in his second relentlessly enjoyable film this year, after January’s joyous The Lego Movie, here playing the American intergalactic scavenger and adventurer, and lover of easy listening jams.

Pratt’s endearing combination of humility and confidence charms, and with a casual goofiness he elevates every line of the admittedly clever dialog, all of it brimming with crisp pop culture humor made funnier by the context (in that no one but Pratt’s Peter Quill could possibly get the earth references). He makes a hero of Kevin Bacon in his dramatic retelling of Footloose, which only gets funnier from Zoe Saldana’s callback in the final act.

Saldana joins WWE’s Dave Bautista and the voice of Vin Diesel (as a tree) to fill out Peter Quill’s band of misfits, and together the crew offers endless amounts of ruffian charm

As important, all evil doers – from Lee Pace’s zealot Ronan to Benicio del Toro’s creepy Collector to Michael Rooker’s dangerous Yondu – are delightfully diabolical.

Gunn nicely articulates the galaxy and its characters, keeps the humor light, the action quick and the palette colorful.

Verdict 4 Stars

Read more reviews by George Wolf and Hope Madden on Maddwolf.com.

Recent Headlines

6 hours ago in Local

Public Not Allowed at Obama Speech — But Will Be Broadcast Live on WTAX

President Barack Obama signs the Civil Rights History Project Act of 2009 bill into law in the Oval Office of the White House. With President Obama are from left: Rep. Mike Quigley (D-IL); Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY); Rep. Sanford Bishop (D-GA); Rep. Lacy Clay (D-MO); Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC) and Rep. John Lewis (D-GA).
Washington

Where: DC, United States
When: 12 May 2009
Credit: WENN

A spokesman for Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan says the public will not be able to attend when President Barack Obama delivers a speech in the Illinois House chamber on Wednesday.

6 hours ago in Local

State Museum Prepared to Re-Open — If Lawmakers Allow It

2-8-16 Illinois State Museum

The Illinois State Museum can open once again. But State Department of Natural Resources head Wayne Rosenthal says not yet.

6 hours ago in Local

Davis Proposes FAA, Air Traffic Control Operations Changes

2-8-16 Davis

Davis and and a Democratic Congressman are proposing that that Air Traffic Control operations be run by a not-for-profit entity.

6 hours ago in Local

Report: Police Program Helped Man Who Prostituted Teen

police_lights

A newspaper report says a man who's serving 15 years in prison for running an underage prostitution operation did so out of an apartment obtained with the help of the Peoria Police Department.

8 hours ago in Local

Democrats Vying for US Senate Talk Up Experience, Background

I Voted Stickers

The Democrats running for U.S. Senate are working to distinguish themselves from their rivals as they meet for the first time this election season.