Mom & Kids' Movie Review: Guardians of the Galaxy
The outer-space/Marvel superhero hybrid Guardians of the Galaxy took in $94 million on its opening weekend, setting a new August record and drawing families to the multiplex like no other film in what's been a truly anemic summer for kids' movies. Seems like more families were content to hang at home with their Frozen DVD than venture out for sequels to How to Train Your Dragon, Planes, Ninja Turtles or Planet of the Apes. And Pixar's next release, Inside Out, doesn't hit till summer 2015. So our editor was excited to take her kids to see a summer movie that seemed to appeal to everyone.
How did Guardians stack up in the family entertainment department? Before you head out to the plex this weekend, click below for our mom, teen and tween take on the movie.
Mom's Guardians of the Galaxy review
Though I'm not much for sci fi and wax hot and cold on superhero flicks (yay, The Incredibles; you're boring, Spidey and Superman), I had high hopes for Guardians of the Galaxy. The main reason: Star Chris Pratt, who plays interstellar bad boy Peter Quill, consistently delights as goofy-sweet Andy Dwyer on my all-time favorite sitcom, Parks & Recreation.
Sigh. This loud, muddled mess manages to tamp down Pratt's considerable magnetism, though he's still the most appealing thing in the humorless slog I found GotG to be. I was thoroughly bored from the get-go, but the crowd I was with seemed to love the film, lauging loudly at the raccoon-like sidekick Rocket (its New Yawk accent voiced by Philly boy Bradley Cooper) and the nearly nonverbal treelike Groot, who turns out to be the beating heart of the group of misfits Quill pulls together. And several friends whose taste I trust have reported enjoying Guardians. I just couldn't latch on to anything happening on screen, not the basic bounty-hunters-in-space plot, not the don't-touch-it stolen artifact they were retrieving, not the forced, lackluster dialogue nor the supporting characters in ugly, scarred-face alien getups.
As a mom, several items raised my hmmmm meter; I didn't mind that my 12- and 14-year-old boys were watching but wondered how more sensitive friends with younger kids would react. (The film is rated PG-13 for good reason.)
- The opening scene shows a young boy saying farewell to his mother, who is obviously dying of cancer in a hospital bed. It's an upsetting way to start, and I noticed several kids in the audience fidgeting uncomfortably.
- There's an extended, bleak prison sequence that turns fairly violent.
- Language. If the words that rhyme with "bit," "kick," "class" and "flap" are words you don't want your kids hearing, hold off on seeing this one. A raised midde finger is also the punchline to a featured joke.
On the plus side, the 3D effects were used well, more for painterly effect than got-ya moments of things popping out to scare you. That could be why, despite a full two-hour running time, I didn't get the 3D headache I often get watching animated 3D films. And the "Awesome Mix" cassette tape that's integral to both plot and soundtrack will make '70s and '80s pop fans nostalgic.
I've no doubt Guardians will continue to reign at the box office until the fall movie season hits. I truly wanted to like it. The only 30 seconds I enjoyed, however, were the 30 glorious seconds in the previews when the teaser trailer for the upcoming Into the Woods was screened. "I wish," indeed! —Cheryl Krementz
Teen's Guardians of the Galaxy review
Guardians of the Galaxy was an OK movie overall. The action sequences were good, but this is canceled out by the boring bits in between.
The main character, Peter Quill, lost his mother to cancer at a young age (the dead parent scene will upset kids). Soon after his mother died, Peter was suddenly abducted by an alien ship for no apparent reason, other than a lot of plot convenience. This gives all the makings of a normal superhero movie: dead parent, aliens and some kind of weird transport.
After he grows up Quill becomes kind of a thief and gets arrested. He teams up with Gamora, a blue female assassin, a raccoon called Rocket, a walking tree called Groot and Drax, who looks like a wrestler with tattoos all over his body. They all want to destroy Ronan, an evil alien bent on destroying the galaxy with an infinity stone they're trying to sell. Like the cube in The Avengers, the infinity stone has a whole movie built around people trying to keep this object from falling into the wrong hands.
After fighting, breaking out of jail, almost dying and meeting some weird collector, the group finally gets to fight the main villain.
Groot dies, but since he's a tree, Rocket revives him by putting one of his sticks in a pot of soil. Quill beats Ronan and everybody seems happy, like the end of most other superhero movies. It's pretty much a stereotype, but the movie's made well and looks good, so I enjoyed it anyway. —Harrison, 14
Tween's Guardians of the Galaxy review
Guardians of the Galaxy was an OK movie. In my opinion the movie was meant for 3rd graders and up, but if you decide to bring a 3rd or 4th grader you should know that there is some foul language.
This movie was not funny when it tried to be, and it really wasn't clear why Peter (the main character) was taken to another planet at the beginning. Because of that, the plot kind of lost me and I just enjoyed eating popcorn and drinking vanilla Coke in the big, comfy reclining chair at our local movie theater.
I thought it was dumb how they put this movie in 3D, because it did not feel as if the characters and the props were actually there and popping out; it just felt like watching a movie with glasses that made the screen seem darker. If I had a scale from 1 to 10 I would probably give this movie a 3 (or 4 if I’m feeling generous). So overall, Guardians of the Galaxy was not a great movie.