Guardians of the Galaxy (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
December 1, 2014 by Dennis Amith
“Guardians of the Galaxy” was a pleasant surprise. A film that scores highly for its humor, its action ad its unpredictable storyline and a Blu-ray that is a reference title, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a highly recommended title and one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2014!
TITLE: Guardians of the Galaxy
TELEFILM RELEASE: 2014
DURATION: 121 Minutes
BLU-RAY DISC INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio), English 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1, SUBTITLES: English SDH, French and Spanish
COMPANY: Marvel/Walt Disney Home Entertainment
Release Date: September 9, 2014
Directed by James Gunn
Written by James Gunn, Nicole Perlman
Based on the Comic Book by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning
Based on the Comic Book by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby
Produced by Kevin Feige
Co-Producer: David J. Grant, Jonathan Schwartz
Executive Producer: Victoria Alonso, Alan Fine, Louis D’Esposito, Nikolas Korda, Jeremy Latcham, Stan Lee
Music by Tyler bates
Cinematography by Ben Davis
Edited by Fred Raskin, Hughes Winborne, Craig Wood
Casting by Sarah Finn, Reg Powerscout-Edgerton
Production designer: Charles Wood
Set Decoration by Chris “Flimsy” Howes, Richard Roberts
Costume Design by Alexandra Byrne
Chris Pratt as Peter Quill
Zoe Saldana as Gamora
Dave Bautista as Drax
Vin Diesel as Groot
Bradley Cooper as Rocket
Lee Pace as Ronan
Michael Rooker as Yondu Undonta
Karen Gillan as Nebula
Djimon Hounsou as Korath
John C. Reilly as Corpsman Dey
Glenn Close as Nova Prime
Benicio Del Toro as The Collector
Laura Haddock as Meredith Quill
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and The Avengers, comes a new team—the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe. To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits—Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last desperate stand—with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
The Marvel Comics group known as “Guardians of the Galaxy” first began in 1969 in the pages of “Marvel Super-Heroes”. Originally created by Arnold Drake and Gene Colan, the group would be revived in the 1990’s by Jim Valentino and would end in 1995.
In 2008, the series would receive a reboot written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning and would feature new characters that were derived from the Marvel Comics 2007-2008 crossover known as “Annihilation” but the comic book series would be canceled after its 25th issue.
Still, Marvel wanted to tap into a big space epic from an obscure title from their comic book lineup and sure enough, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was mentioned as a possible title. It wasn’t until 2012 San Diego Comic-Con that Marvel announced that a film for “Guardians of the Galaxy” was in development and was set for a summer 2014 release. And that the film would feature the characters Star-Lord, Drax the Destroyer, Gamora, Groot and Rocket Racoon.
James Gunn (“Scooby-Doo”, “Dawn of the Dead”, “Slither”) was hired to rewrite Nicole Perlman’s screenplay and also ended up directing the film.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” would feature an all-star cast which includes Chris Pratt (“her”, “Moneyball”, “Parks and Recreation”), Zoe Saldana (“Avatar”, “Star Trek”, “Star Trek Into Darkness”, “Colombiana”), WWE wrestler Dave Bautista, Lee Pace (“The Fall”, “The Hobbit” films), Michael Rooker (“Cliffhanger”, “Jumper”, “The Bone Collector”), Karen Gillan (“Dr. Who”, “Not another Happy Ending”), Djimon Hounsou (“Gladiator”, “The Island”, “Blood Diamond”), John C. Reilly (“Chicago”, “Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby”, “Step Brothers”), Glenn Close (“Air Force One”, “Dangerous Liaisons”, “Fatal Attraction”), Benicio Del Toro (“Snatch”, “The Usual Suspects”, “Traffic”, “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas”) and Laura Haddock (“Captain America: The First Avenger”, “The Inbetweeners Movie”). The film would also feature the voices of Vin Diesel (“Fast & Furious 6”, “Fast Five”) and Bradley Cooper (“American Hustle”, “The Hangover”).
The film which was budgeted at $170 million would go on to make over $771.5 million in the worldwide box office, making it a success and ensuring a sequel.
And now “Guardians of the Galaxy” will be released on 3D Blu-ray, Blu-ray and DVD in December 2014.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” begins in 1988 with a younger Peter Quill listening to his music on a walkman on the night his mother dies in the hospital. While running outside to let his emotions out, he is abducted by an unidentified flying object.
Fastforward 26-years later and we see an older Peter Quill (portrayed by Chris Pratt), still listening to music on his walkman trying to steal an orb on the planet Morag. But while he is about to steal it, he is caught by Korath (portrayed by Djimon Hounsou), who works for the Kree known as Ronan the Accuser (portrayed by Lee Pace).
Peter Quill who goes by the name of Star-Lord, manages to steal the orb and evade capture but a group of space pirates known as the Ravagers, led by Yondu Udonta (portrayed by Michael Rooker) wants Peter to bring the orb to him. It is learned that Yondu was responsible for abducting Peter when he was younger and teaching him how to be a master thief and now Yondu wants the orb. Unfortunately, Peter doesn’t listen and Yondu is forced to put a bounty on Peter Quill.
Meanwhile, the all-powerful Thanos wants the orb as well and has Ronan to obtain the orb. Ronan sends out his assassin, who happens to be Thanos’ daughter, Gamora (portrayed by Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the orb.
As Peter tries to sell the orb on the Nova Empire capital, Xandar, the seller is unwilling to buy it when he finds out that Ronan is also after it. As Peter tries to find another buyer, Gamora tries to steal the orb away from him. Meanwhile, because a bounty is on Peter’s head, a bounty hunter named Rocket Racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and his strong and powerful tree/plant partner Groot (portrayed by Vin Diesel) try to capture Peter Quill in order to get the reward money.
This leads to a chase as Gamora, Rocket Racoon and Groot are all after Peter. But because of all the disruption they cause, all four are arrested and imprisoned in Kyln. In prison, many seek to kill Gamora because she is working for Ronan and many of them lost their families because of Ronan and want revenge. But a strong inmate by the name of Drax wants nothing more than to kill Gamora and get revenge on Ronan.
Peter learns from Gamora that the reason why she wanted the orb was so she can use it to kill Thanos, who was responsible for killing her family and then taking her in and making her an assassin. Meanwhile, Peter learns from Rocket that he just wants money, along with his partner Groot. And all four make a plan that if they escape the prison, they will sell the orb and split the money in four ways but first they must find a way to escape.
As inmates plot to have Gamora killed, Drax is set to kill her until Pete stands to defend her and tells him that if he wants to kill Ronan, he must keep Gamora alive as she can direct him to Ronan. So, Drax agrees to help out the four in escaping the prison, so they can all get what they want.
But will these five misfits, find a way to get back the orb? And why is it that everyone is after it?
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is presented in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1 aspect ratio). And once again, another Marvel film that is reference quality with wonderful detail and no negative picture quality issues at all. The visual effects are amazing, from the CG animation of Rocket and Groot, to the Nova starships interlocking, there film looks gorgeous when it comes to its sci-fi environment. Closeups show amazing detail, especially the facial lines that are on Gamora’s face, Drax’s body when he’s fully amped to the stubble in Quill’s face. Great detail and clarity.
It’s important to remind everyone though that if you want to watch this film in 3D, there is a 3D Blu-ray + Blu-ray + Digital Copy release available as well!
“Guardians of the Galaxy” looks absolutely amazing on Blu-ray!
AUDIO & SUBTITLES:
“Guardians of the Galaxy” is presented in English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 as well as a French and Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack. And similar to the magnificent picture quality, the lossless audio also showcases reference quality immersive sound. Crystal clear dialogue, beautiful musical score and old-school music with the high amount of action with explosions and fighting galore. For a big budget Marvel film, you expect an immersive soundtrack and it’s what you get!
Vehicles, weaponry and with every crashing sound, every blast shot, every form of destruction that can be seen in the film, can be heard. Literally, everything in the film is immersive with surround and rear surround channels being utilized, especially the LFE. Definitely one of the coolest and most immersive soundtracks I have heard on Blu-ray this year!
Subtitles are in English SDH, Spanish and French.
“Guardians of the Galaxy” comes with the following special features:
- Guide to the Galaxy with James Gunn – (20:56) James Gunn talks about working on the film and creating a document about the look of “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
- The Intergalactic Visual Effects for Guardians of the Galaxy– (7:11) The cast discuss the visual effects for “Guardians of the Galaxy” and creating the visual effects for Rocket Racoon, Groot and more.
- Exclusive Look at Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron – (2:17) A short featurette about the making of “Avengers: Age of Ultron” and shooting in different countries, using the Iron Man Hulk Buster uniform and more.
- Deleted and Extended Scenes – (3:34) Featuring five deleted/extended scenes with optional audio commentary by director James Gunn.
- Gag Reel – (3:55) Gag reel for “Guardians of the Galaxy”.
- Audio Commentary – Featuring audio commentary with director James Gunn.
As a Marvel fan, you expect the big name titles to impressive, action-packed, full of awesome visual effects and on Blu-ray, you expect Marvel to deliver when it comes to the picture quality and lossless soundtrack.
Prior to watching “Guardians of the Galaxy”, not sure why but I had my reservations as the series, may it be its current characters or characters of the past, it’s an obscure title that only hardcore Marvel comic book fans would read. In fact, I have a large collection of the ’90s and previous appearances of the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as the “Infinity Gauntlet” and Adam Warlock series.
The fact is that despite loving the series, despite it not being an “X-Men”, “Spider-Man”, “Avengers” title, I personally couldn’t fathom a film about the “Guardians of the Galaxy” until I watched the lineup in a trailer and I became even more skeptical afterward.
But having watching “Guardians of the Galaxy”, I have to say that it was one of the coolest, awesome storylines I have seen because it features a story that no one can predict nor are they characters that many people know their background. Unlike Captain America, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Iron Man, etc., where these characters, fans know what to expect and can easily criticize the writers and director of the film, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was mysterious, unknown and by the end of the film, I was absolutely entertained and wanting a sequel to be created!
Part of what I found captivating is that each member of the Guardians of the Galaxy are somewhat misfits or people that no one expects them to amount to anything significant. Peter/Starlord is a human that has a fighting side to him, despite the character being humorous and very appreciative of 70’s and ’80s music. Gamora is sexy, can fight but also not one to easily fall in love with any man, including Peter Quill. Drax and Groot represent the muscle of the team but also characters that are not too smart, but yet we root for them. And then you have the talking racoon, Rocket…we don’t know what to expect from this talkative, smart and kick-butt character but each time he graces the screen, you can’t help but root for him and every other character.
And this group of misfits keep getting themselves into the craziest situations but when they are together, they become this awesome group not scared to take on anything in their path, including being imprisoned in a high security prison or taking on a Kree that the world fears by the mention of his name.
Lending to the films unpredictability and making the film much more enjoyable is its cast. Chris Pratt showing us how much he has evolved as an actor away from “Parks and Recreation”, Zoe Saldana dazzling on screen in another sci-fi film, WWE’s David Bautista was a major surprise but a role that fits his persona and you have the wonderful voice acting performance by Bradley Cooper as Rocket and despite the few words spoken, Vin Diesel was perfectly fine as Groot as well.
And the musical soundtrack, Tyler Bates did a wonderful job with the musical score, but the film will probably be remembered for being a sci-fi film with many cool ’70s and ’80s tunes such as the Runaways “Cherry Bomb”, The Jackson 5’s “I Want You Back”, Five Stairsteps “o-o-h Child”, Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” and more. It’s hard to believe how this soundtrack becomes part of the film, but music plays a big part of the film, especially for the character of Peter Quill.
As for the Blu-ray itself, this Blu-ray is Marvel perfection once again. Picture quality is full of detail and looks amazing in HD, while the lossless soundtrack is immersive. Looking for a reference title on Blu-ray and “Guardians of the Galaxy” has perfect PQ and AQ that will surely please the video and audiophiles. As for special features, you get an audio commentary track and a few special features such as deleted and extended scenes, gag reel and more.
Overall, “Guardians of the Galaxy” was a pleasant surprise. A film that scores highly for its humor, its action ad its unpredictable storyline and a Blu-ray that is a reference title, “Guardians of the Galaxy” is a highly recommended title and one of the best Blu-ray releases of 2014!
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