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GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2D & 3D

SYNOPSIS:
Adventurer Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), who was abducted from earth at a young age, becomes the object of a bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious silver orb coveted by the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace). Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits: Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon (voice of Bradley Cooper), his sidekick Groot (voiced by Vin Diesel), assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista). As the true power of the orb becomes known, Quill must rally his group to save the galaxy.

Review by Louise Keller:
Not since Han Solo and Chewbacca hit the galaxy has there been as much raucous energy and sheer fun as in this blast of a sci-fi fantasy involving a daredevil adventurer and a mysterious orb. In his adaptation of the Marvel adventure, director James Gunn and his co-screenwriter Nicole Perlman has created a stunning reality that is wildly imaginative and intricate in its visuals with generous, broad brush strokes of colour. With its unlikely group of disparate characters all seeking some kind of redemption, this fresh, funny and thrilling adventure has all the ingredients of a huge, big hit. Jump on board - don't miss the journey.

The heart rending opening sequence with its huge emotional wallop comes as a big surprise, setting the scene perfectly to introduce us to Chris Pratt's adventurer protagonist Peter Quill, as the story picks up 26 years after his alien abduction. The story begins on Morag, an abandoned planet, where Quill - or Star Lord - as he calls himself, finds the powerful orb at the centre of the tale. Thrown together by need, each member of the central group plays his and her part, although it is the two digitally assembled characters voiced by Bradley Cooper and Vin Diesel that steal all the scenes. Cooper voices a trigger-happy racoon whose unlikely companion, a tall, humanoid plant only speaks three words - by the rich, gravelly tones of Vin Diesel. It's not the words, but how he says them that keeps us enthralled and I have to admit, this duo is one of the most endearing of recent cinematic history.

Each of the key characters has dimension, beginning with the physical: Dave Bautista's Drax the Destroyer's colourful skin carvings etched meticulously all over his huge torso are a work of art and Zoe Saldana's green-faced assassin Garmora with the balayage-styled black and crimson hair is deadly elegance in a shapely package. As for Pratt, his Quill is a charming rogue who manages to aptly stumble into the hero's shoes by the film's end.

Production design, costumes and make up are outstanding as are the visual effects, which almost overshadow the plot threatening the galaxy. The use of 70s music is especially effective, not only grounding the film but giving it a wonderful carefree sense of exhilaration. It's a breath of fresh air and no doubt the start of a new runaway franchise.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY (M)
(US, 2014)

CAST: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, Benicio Del Toro, Vin Diesel (voice), Bradley Cooper (voice)

PRODUCER: Kevin Feige

DIRECTOR: James Gunn

SCRIPT: James Gunn, Nicole Perlman (comic book by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning)

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Ben Davis

EDITOR: Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne, Craig Wood

MUSIC: Tyler Bates

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Charles Wood

RUNNING TIME: 121 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Walt Disney Studio Pictures

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: August 7, 2014







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