Saturday, August 2, 2014

Just got back from watching GoG in 3D and here's my thoughts (the title kind of gives it away :D )

I will admit, prior to this week I had no interest at all in seeing GoG. I have no history (even passing) with the source material, so no desire there. After seeing the trailer and teaser stuff when they were released... I was torn on what the film was trying to be. The sequences shown didn't really leave me with any desire at all to find out more. The lead-in marketing was a complete DUD for me.

But this week after some people had seen it, spoke well of it, and even made comparisons to Avengers.. even saying topping Avengers. That peaked my interest. I think Avengers is an illustration of the peak of the modern super hero film. From the moving soundtrack, the scale, the pace, the visuals, the dabs of humor, the balance of comic suspension of belief... The Avengers does it all.. and does it well. That hero theme from the battle of NYC is just quintessential super hero stuff. It's the kind of blend of sound and staging that whenever you hear it.. it tickles you and you feel a bit superhero yourself. Like the Superman theme from the 80s films.. or those other inspiring John Williams soundtracks. It just inspires a feeling and click in your brain. So.. you think GoG has that? I'm interested.

First... do not let the fact you have zero idea what the premise of the film is, or who these characters or, etc distract you at all. You need ZERO background of anything Marvel to enjoy this film. In fact, you need more 80s pop knowledge than anything Marvel to get all the gags.

The movie does a great job of introducing you to the characters without boring you with flashbacks or spending time focusing on trying to beat into you 'hey, this is why this guy is here'. They do a respectable job of qualifying each character and their behaviors 'on the fly' without derailing the main track the film is heading down.

Some of the gags are a bit 'old game'.. like Groot's speech (Hodor!) but its not to the point of annoying.

People had made comments about the soundtrack.. and how the music is almost a 6th character in the film. Bleh to that. Without giving away the film... the music played is often Pop tracks of significance to the main character. I love the story tie in here... but really didn't find the pop tracks all that stirring or core to the staging of the action. The lone exception to that is in the climatic battle when they face the bad guy.. and the track inclusion really plays to the comedy of the scene. That and in the credits the Jackson 5 song works out well. But the rest of the film? Meh... want a contemporary track to add punch to the film? Think at the end of the Matrix when Rage starts up.. that's powerful.

Outside the pop tracks... the film has a score that is very reminiscent of Avengers at times.. and it plays well. I think it sounds great.. I just think the 'music as a 6th character' kind of lines are way over blown.

The visuals in the film are amazing. It's fun because some of the scenes feel like the classic huge matte paintings of classic sci-fi... yet others have the impossible realism that you only get with modern CGI. The film blends the effects, CGI, and settings perfectly. The only thing I found a bit distracting was Quinn's mask.. but it's minor thing. Overall I think the effects do exactly as they should.. advance the wow factor, make it all look real, all while not trying to be the lead character itself.

There are a few seconds of 'extra 3D to be 3D' but not too much and not overwhelming. The film looked great and I would probably feel a bit robbed without the 3D.

It doesn't matter what form you put Zoe Saldana in.. she looks amazing. It's not over the top like Black Widow in the Avengers.. but its near impossible to hide her sexy.

The characters (and famous names) in the film are vast and varied. I found most of them interesting and fun and while I'm no Academy critic... I found most of the acting transparent and did what I want it to do.. which is fade into believable. The only part where it gets a bit corny is in the "I have a plan" scene where the 5 characters discuss their plan (or lack of) of attack. Quinn's acting in there made me turn my nose a bit.

Now where this movie excels IMO is the pace and action. It keeps you engaged and you feel like you are along for a hell of a ride. It slows a bit prior and after the climax.. but after the ride you've been on you almost need a breather! But it's not overload.. it's just nearly two hours of "I don't want to look away and miss something!". This is where I think some of the Avengers comparisons come in too.. the movie is PACKED with action sequences.. and unlike Captain America 2 which resorts to the 'lets move the camera around so much so you can't keep track of anything during fight shots' this film's action sequences are so much more enjoyable to watch.

I don't want to say much about the story except I bought in. It felt good, it didn't make me cringe, and it had sufficient twists that I didn't bore of anything. It does have some tear jerker moments. My 11yr old put it as... "it made you happy, sad, cry, and excited all at the same time!"

So what kind of film is this?
Going in, being Marvel and knowing it's comic universe based I was expecting another super hero film like a Thor, Iron Man, etc. But walking out of the theater it really didn't feel like one. It actually felt more like a Science Fiction action film more than anything related to comic books. It feels closer to a Star Wars or Last Starfighter than it does an Iron Man or Superman film.

Not that the movie plays out like Star Wars in any sense.. but in terms of what kind of audience appeal.. I said "its like a supercharged star wars". Way more action, a lot more sci-fi, but not nerdy sci-fi, so it would still have broad appeal. The movie has violence, but it's mostly bloodless violence and while there is some anger/spiteful kind of actions at time, I don't think its anywhere near as bad as Captain America 2 and falls more in line with what you get from an X-Men or Iron Man film. I didn't have any problem at all with what my 11yr old saw. Some of the jokes are a tad pg-13, but nothing more than you might see on network TV these days. I hope people give this film a chance and don't pigeon hole it as a 'super hero film' and then not want to see it. It's not a Rambo.. it's not X-Men.. It's not Star Trek. Maybe the JJ Abrams Star Trek might be the closest parallel give the pace and action Star Trek packed.

Overal Grade?
I think this is a MUST SEE for anyone who enjoys any sort of action film and isn't only interested in dramas or romance films. It's memorable.. its fun.. its amazing to watch.. and it's just the kind of film that makes you ENJOY going to the movies. You don't second guess what you just paid to see it, you don't say "well I'll wait for the DVD...", it makes you think "when am I going to come and see this again?". It's good... no, it's great.

I'd give it 4.75 out of 5 stars. I hope people give it a chance.. it's a great fun movie.

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