Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga,
Ooga Chaka Ooga Ooga.
The sound of a generation.
It’s ironic how the fabulous iconic score of John Williams’ Star Wars, with its massive brass orchestral pieces, is now dwarfed in the eyes of a new generation by the thumping ’70s pop-rock of Blue Suede. The comic genius of Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning created the star-shining team of which a global film audience is now so fond of, whilst the director of cult superhero film Super James Gunn helmed the cinematic smorgasbord that was the summer film of 2014.
Who would ever guess that the slightly chubby guy from Parks and Recretation would become one of the hottest (literally and figuratively) stars of 2014? Having dropped 60lbs for the role, Pratt’s bumbling but suave performance as the charming space smuggler Peter Quill (“Star Lord”) takes us on a merry romp across the star systems in the galaxy as he steals for profit and self-purpose before ending up the captive of a talking raccoon and a walking tree whilst enduring prison life. He eventually ends up being broken out by an ex-WWE wrestler and Elphaba from the Broadway musical Wicked, where the team of wanted felons head for the nearest buyer to flog the “thing” that Star Lord stole. This is all before the halfway point.
To understand Guardians of the Galaxy is to understand both the grandmaster plan of Marvel and the current change in the world of cinema. Marvel are currently, and have been for quite a while, laying down the foundations for a series of films and TV shows that link together with an overarching narrative, and GotG is the final wall to vault for the behemoth of Marvel. Move along DC.
Marvel took the gamble that no other studio would dare consider: risking the investment of millions on a bunch of random and unknown-to-the-masses characters. Their transformation into household names by Marvel can only conjure feelings of admiration at the apparent ease with which they achieved it. Marvel can do no wrong with the word “impossible” having been permanently removed from their collective mindset. Hardcore fans knew this was evident ever since the B-lister character of Iron Man was dragged from obscurity into the spotlight through his own blockbuster trilogy.
The ability to accommodate a global audience whilst celebrating the true DNA of their roots highlights how Marvel has now reached the point where they can do whatever they want – and they’re happy to do so. The seemingly casual nods to the Celestials and the final acknowledgement of the Infinity Stones (though you could argue they were mentioned in Thor 2‘s post-credits) show a flagrant disregard for the fact that 20th Century Fox currently owns the film rights for the biggest Celestial in the Marvel universe. More than this, the long game for Phase 2 is playing out and all cards are finally on the table with the confirmation of the plot devices and their potential future use by a certain big purple “Oldboy”. The biggest surprise of 2014, however, was not Guardians of the Galaxy, nor the highly anticipated (and mostly guessed) future Marvel line-up reveal of Black Panther and other films. It was, in fact, the San Diego Comic-Con panels that revealed future ‘linking’ cinematic universes of films such as King Kong or Swamp Thing. Marvel have set the stage for the future of cinema, and every other studio in Hollywood is racing for a slice of the pie. At present though, they all appear as specks in Marvel’s rearview mirror.
From space dogfights to futuristic cities, high-tech prisons and wise-cracking multi-racial talking raccoons (“Ain’t nobody like me but me”), Guardians of the Galaxy appeals to everyone. It’s a film you can watch with the family, elderly grandparents and young children alike; with adult jokes and young humour daintily interspersed for wide appeal whilst refraining from turning into a “kids’ film” or pushing a 15 rating. It plays much to the testament of James Gunn and his team that he can go from shooting Scooby-Doo to this.
By the time the Guardians gang meet up with Benicio Del Toro about two-thirds of the way through, it’s clear that we are not simply enjoying “just another Marvel film”. It breaks from the typical mould of tired superhero outings to transcend the trappings of a stereotypical space adventure, bringing us something that hasn’t been seen since 1977. It’s easy to see why Guardians of the Galaxy is being called ‘the Star Wars of our generation.’
One Room With A View’s Top 20 of 2014 (so far):
20 = X-Men: Days of Future Past
20 = Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
19. The LEGO Movie
17. 22 Jump Street
16. The Wind Rises
15. Mr Turner
13. Starred Up
12 = The Raid 2
12 = Nightcrawler
11. Dallas Buyers Club
10. Gone Girl
8. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY
Keep your eyes peeled as we count down to our Number One Film of 2014.