Tag Archives: Chris Pratt

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

guardian-of-the-galaxy-poster1

Guardians of the Galaxy may just be the most obscure comic book title that Marvel has brought to the big screen. This particular movie is based on a 2008 rendition of the comics, as opposed to its original 1969 cast. The plot introduces the main members of the Guardians of the Galaxy as they learn to work together in order to stop Ronan (Lee Pace) from destroying the planet Xandar. Although it may sound like any old comic book story, Guardians of the Galaxy introduces some very important things into the Marvel Universe (more on this later).

A big part of what made Guardians of the Galaxy such an entertaining movie was how perfectly each cast member was able to fit into their role. Chris Pratt (Parks and Rec, The Lego Movie) had the job of carrying a good portion of the film as he played Jason Quill, the immature outlaw. Quill is a character who can only be compared to a young Han Solo with a more impulsive personality. The death of his mother that is shown at the very start of the film seemed like a cheap way to give his character depth but Pratt’s performance as Quill really make you root for him immediately. Gamora, played by Zoe Saldana (Avatar, Star Trek), also fit the role of deadly assassin perfectly although she had a more discreet performance in comparison to other cast members. Vin Diesel who played Groot also deserves credit for bringing the tree creature to life although it seems like he really hit the jackpot since all he had to do was repeat one line. Dave Bautista, Drax in the movie, is probably the actor whose performance surprised me the most. Known more for his years wrestling in the WWE, Bautista seemed like the perfect fit for Drax the destroyer but it wasn’t just the muscle that made him a stand out performer. The wrestler was able to show moments of emotion beneath the muscle-bound exterior of Drax as well as delivering various jokes in the film. No movie would be complete without its villains and the two main antagonists Ronan and Yondu did an excellent job. Lee Pace (The Hobbit, Lincoln) did an excellent job at playing Ronan the Accuser, his lack of emotion and emphasis on brutality made him seem like a villain who you would want to avoid. Michael Rooker (The Walking Dead, Jumper) also did an excellent job even though it seemed he was essentially reprising his role as a space version of Merle from the Walking Dead.

rocket raccoon

Rocket in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. To his right is Nova, another character that may make his debut in future Marvel movies

Bradley Cooper (Silver Linings Playbook, Hangover) as the Rocket Raccoon was probably the most controversial casting of all. Although Cooper brought certain star power to the role, there are several other actors that had played him before in both video games and television shows. When Guardians of the Galaxy was first announced, rumors of who would voice Rocket included talented voice actors such as Seth Green (Mass Effect, Robot Chicken), John DiMaggio (Futurama, Adventure Time), Nolan North (Deadpool, Uncharted) who had voiced the character before. These names paled in comparison to the fan favorite, Greg Ellis(Pirates of the Caribbean, The Hobbit), who had given the mastermind raccoon some popularity through his portrayal in Marvel vs. Capcom 3. When it was finally decided that Bradley Cooper would fill the role, there was a lot of skepticism of what would happen to the character’s trademark cockney accent. The voice was ultimately changed to a more “street” version as opposed to cockney but the actor was able to surpass everyone’s expectations. Cooper was able to voice the character’s anger issues and intelligence while also being able to show the character’s soft side when it was necessary. In a lot of ways, Rocket Raccoon is the heart of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Bradley Cooper was able to play the role perfectly.

One of the things that stood out during the initial trailers for Guardians of the Galaxy was Blue Swede’s “Hooked on a Feeling” track. Such and old song like that immediately stands out in a science fiction movie like GotG but it was done so well that it actually added to the identity of the movie. The soundtrack is actually one of the key belongings of Peter “Star Lord” Quill that was given to him by his dying mother. “Awesome Mix Vol. 1” is a set of nostalgic songs from the 80’s that reminds us that although Quill is in space fighting aliens and having adventures, he’s still human. Every song is out of place in the futuristic world of Guardians and at times it is even addressed directly in humorous ways. Love it or hate it, the list of tracks is a very significant factor that sets the tone of the scenes they are played in.

I’ll go ahead and say right now that I’m not the biggest fan of CGI in movies but I didn’t mind it so much in this movie. James Gunn, the director, uses a lot of CGI graphics to make characters like Groot and Rocket as well as the exotic locations within the film. To my relief all of the graphics were done extremely well and every scene was paced really well for the most part. There was no shortage of laughter or action throughout the whole movie which made it easier and more enjoyable to watch. Apart from a few shots that seemed to be catering to a 3D audience, the world of GotG was created beautifully.

SPOILERS OF VARYING WEIGHTS AHEAD~

280px-Infinity_Gauntlet

The Infinity Gauntlet

With the introduction to this colorful cast of characters, it is easy to forget that this is still a story that is happening within the Marvel Universe. There are several ways that Marvel could use GotG to link itself to other super hero universes but there are two main things that stood out to my basic knowledge of comic books. The first is that there are several “Guardians” that were not mentioned in the movie. One of these characters is Cosmo the telepathic dog, who actually appears within the film in the after credits scene. The other t has been a Guardian in the past should be familiar since it is none other than Iron Man. This is the part when you start to realize how close Marvel is at making a cross over movie between Guardians and Avengers.

The second and most sure fire way that Guardians is connected to the rest of the Marvel Universe is through the reveal of the Infinity Gems and the villain Thanos. Infinity Gems are extremely powerful stones that are able to give its wielder an enormous amount of power. These gems can all be wielded together through the use of the Infinity Gauntlet which also happens to be the major plot point of a mini series by the name of Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet in which Thanos (who is played by Josh Brolin in the film) tries to collect all of stones. If this isn’t enough proof of a Guardians/Avengers crossover then it’s also worth mentioning that the Tesseract from the first Avengers movie also happens to be an Infinity Stone. Adding to all of this is the fact that the Infinity Gem ends up being taken by the Nova Corps at the end of the movie which may potentially open up the way for Richard Rider, AKA Nova, in the future.

END SPOILERS~

All in all, I am excited for what Marvel has in store for its upcoming movies. Guardians of the Galaxy is an extremely solid film that showcases James Gunn’s skill in directing as well as a superb performance from all of the cast members involved. The soundtrack is an amazing throwback that adds some personality to the film. It’s also worth mentioning that there never seemed to be a dull moment in the film. Guardians of the Galaxy is a must-watch movie for any fan of the Marvel Universe.

TL;DR: Solid Summer movie and a must watch for any fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Rockit Raccoon Rating: 9/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

IMDB: 8.8

MetaCritic: 76/100

Leave a comment

Filed under Movie

The Lego Movie (2014)

Lego-The-Movie1

The Lego Movie starts off in a regular looking (Lego) city. Emmet (Chris Pratt) wakes up and goes through his routine of greeting his neighbors to working at a construction site. Before he’s able to head home, he falls into a pit where he discovers a mystical block that marks him as the one who will save the world and disrupt President Business’ (Will Ferrell) plans. After a short interrogation from Bad/Good cop (Liam Neeson), Emmet is drafted into a resistance group by WyldStyle (Elizabeth Banks) and Vitruvius (Morgan Freeman). Along with his new friends, an unprepared Emmet joins the battle to put a stop to President Business’ evil plans.

Almost everything in the Lego Movie is generated by computers. What makes things even more entertaining is that everything within the movie is made up of Lego bricks including non solid objects like smoke and water. This overload of Legos takes some getting used to but won’t really distract from the actions on screen. To make things even better is the fact that the Lego world  cleverly includes human objects and uses them as relics.

S7WziQu

Will Arnett makes an excellent Batman

The cast of the Lego Movie includes several recognizable voices like that of Morgan Freeman and even Charlie Day. Do to the amount of licenses that Lego and Warner Bros. had it was even more entertaining to see certain DC superheroes such as Batman who is played by Will Arnett. Other A-list actors (Channing Tatum and Jonah Hill to name a couple) make very short but sweet appearances. All of these actors have good performances and compliment the story arc which is a relief. With all of this talent carefully placed in the story, one could probably enjoy trying to figure out which actors are playing what character.

The plot of the Lego Movie was something that was worrying me when I first walked into the theater. How would someone be able to make a straightforward story about blocks? The last time a studio tried to produce a film based on a game without a story, they sank at the box office. All my fears were set aside when the world of Lego was introduced. Writers Dan and Kevin Hagemon along with directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller were able to not only create a good story but also an interesting array of characters to go along with it.  Benny the Spaceman, Uni-Kitty, and Bad/Good cop aren’t characters that the audience is likely to forget. To this moment I am still amazed at how well crafted the story was and even the fact that the writers were able to add a few nice surprises.

The Lego Movie was a film that was written and intended to be for children but as I sat in the theater I noticed that everyone from kids to adults was engrossed in the story. Directors Phil Lord and Christopher Miller (who were also responsible for 21 Jumpstreet) were able to craft a movie that anyone would be able to enjoy. Sure there’s bits of child humor but it also contains to several other films that only adults and teens would be able to get. One good example is of the various Terminator 2 references as well as some nods to Monty Python. There’s other references and acknowledgements to movies but I’d rather keep it a surprise for those of you who haven’t seen it. The Lego Movie may be a marketing scheme but I found myself enjoying every single minute of it.

TL;DR: There’s hardly anything negative to point out. A must see for all ages (would be surprised if it wasn’t nominated for best animated movie of ’15).

Rockit Raccoon: 9.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 96%

IMDB: 8.6/10

Metascore: 8.2/10

2 Comments

Filed under Movie

Her (2014)

HER

Spike Jonze’s return to the big screen was nothing less than spectacular. The story takes place in what seems to be the near future where people’s computers are able to talk to them through the use of an earpiece. Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely man who works for a company that specializes in writing letters for couples. After splitting up with his wife Catherine (Rooney Mara), Theodore becomes terribly withdrawn from other people. The only thing that Theodore seems to have in his life is his Operating System, which he decides to upgrade after seeing an ad on the street. This is when he meets Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), the voice of his new OS, a computer with the ability to learn and think. After spending some time with Samantha, through the use of a headpiece and handset, he slowly begins falling in love with her. This is where the story really begins.

One thing that really made this movie shine had to be Joaquin Phoenix’s performance. He barely shares the screen with any other character and although he talks to Samantha, the camera is usually resting on Joaquin’s face and reactions to what he is listening to. On the other side of that argument, Johansson also did a great job with her voice acting. Her part as Samantha really did seem natural and made everyone watching it care about her character. The dialogue between Samantha and Theodore seemed extremely effortless and will make you forget that the budding romance is between a computer and a human. Of course this also had to do with how Spike Jonze wrote out everyone’s lines.

On top of the characters is the fact that there is a lot of depth within the story.  Her raised several questions about relationships, artificial intelligence, and humanity itself. Despite how strange the premise is, you can’t help but sympathize or even relate to Theodore’s situation in life. But then again, is it really so farfetched to think that someone would fall in love with a computer when there’s people today that get married to non-living and even non-thinking objects? The movie really pushes some interesting thoughts and is a refreshing take on the romance genre of movies.

Also worth a mention is the fact that Arcade Fire composed most, if not all, of the music in the film. The tracks that are being played are spot on to each scene and serve as an interesting gateway to lead into some montages of the characters. Music plays a small and significant role in this movie and Arcade Fire really hit the nail on the head with each and every one of their tracks. The fact that the music worked so in sync with the movie is a testament to how well composed each track is.

Easily one of the best movies to have been released in the last 5 years, Spike Jonze triumphs once again. Her has the charm that every movie should have and will make you feel a range of emotions from humor to sadness. The acting is fantastic and the story itself has a lot of heart. Although it is categorized as a movie about romance, I think it’s more than that. Jonze is instead showing us his own interpretation of our age of technology and how deeply this tech has been integrated into each of our lives. This being said, there were also a few things about the plot itself that bothered me but regardless of this, Her will remain a must watch movie for years to come.

TL;DR: An amazing movie by Spike Jonze with a lot of heart. Oscar nominations are undeniable to this movie.

Rockit Raccoon Rating: 9.5/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

IMDB: 8.7/10

Metascore: 91/100

Leave a comment

Filed under 2014 Oscar Nominees, Movie