Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Guardians Of The Galaxy vol. 2

Starring: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff, Kurt Russell, Elizabeth Debicki, and more.

Directed by: James Gunn Written by: James Gunn Based on the Marvel Comics by: Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning Cinematography by: Henry Braham Music by: Tyler Bates

Premise: After finishing a job for the Sovereign, the Guardian’s find themselves in trouble when Rocket filches some of the goods they were paid to protect. Saved by a stranger, the group meets Ego, Peter’s father. But the Sovereign are not about to let the Guardians’ transgression remain unpunished. They hire others to do the work. And as Peter finally embraces the fact he’s found his father, Gamora realizes something about Ego is not quite right. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of lovely and strong performances from all members of the cast. All the weird and sometimes clashing personalities are fun to watch. Several emotional scenes were beautifully carried out by all parties. Michael Rooker deserves added attention for his intense and emotional conversation with Rocket – and for pulling off a metallic 50’s hairdo with style! 😛

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: There were lots of great effects and visuals in the film. Mantis’s antenna and her bug like eyes were so well done, you never doubted she looked like that.

All the Sovereign people were gold from head to foot, and it looked natural. Their throne room, gadgets, and remote controlled ships looked great. And the giant tentacle monster? Awesome!

Ego’s palace was gorgeous. His ship and the molding platform were lovely. The moment reconstructions in the egg like receptacles were neat and loved that they had a different texture than everything else. There were several body repair sequences, and these were fab! The view of Ego from orbit said it all.

The big fight on Ego’s planet was spectacular. And kudos on making Kurt Russel look young and long-haired once more! He looked great! 🙂

3)  Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: On several levels, the plot for vol. 2 is a lot darker than the original film. The main point of this one is discovery. Discovery of self, of what’s been there all along, of things you never knew you possessed, and fear of acknowledging emotional needs. Every single character has a revelation of one form or another. Many are not ones they are happy to find out about, even as they bring a sense of growth, depth or even a bit of peace to their souls.

There are a ton of wonderful little moments. The opening section ties directly back to the beginning of the first film as well as the end. Adorable!

Several major items that have shaped Peter’s life are made clear. Things are not always as we assume.

I did think some of the action was less believable this time around. While our heroes are intrepid and hearty, some of this went way beyond. Almost like overcompensating for the darkness and going too far with the size of the action. This took away rather than added to the film.

As always, be sure to sit through the credits. Not only is the cool backdrop of a record album ala Jefferson Starship entertaining, so are the “I am Groot” word plays, and the multiple extra scene snippets! 🙂

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Most of the stunts are CGI-assisted, but no less fun. Some of the gags were taken to a much higher level than the last film, which stretched believability quite far. Still impressive to watch though. 😛

5) Music – Total Thumbs Up: While all the great 80’s music and visual 50’s music homage was fun, I was a little disappointed that they used those almost exclusively rather than more music by Tyler Bates. Some of this they made up with the neat, nostalgic treatment of the original theme by the Steepers in “Guardians Inferno.” Very disco and reminiscent of Meco and their cool renditions of Star Wars music and other popular science fiction soundtracks of the time.

Conclusion: While not as good as the first, Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 is still worth a watch. Darkness and discovery, as well as lots of humor, awaits!

Rating: 3.75 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again!)

 

Movie Review – Star Trek Beyond

Star Trek Beyond

Starring: Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoë Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Idris Elba, Sofia Boutella, Joe Taslim, Lydia Wilson, and more.

Directed by: Justin Lin Written by: Simon Pegg and Doug Jung Based on the series by: Gene Roddenberry Cinematography by: Stephen F. Windon Music by: Michael Giacchino

Premise: Three years into their five year mission, Kirk is wondering if he doesn’t need a change. While visiting the new Yorktown space station, the Enterprise gets an unexpected mission. They are tasked to go rescue a stranded crew in an uncharted nebula. But the mission turns out to be something else entirely. (Rated PG-13)

Review:

1) Acting – Total Thumbs Up: The gang is back! And Karl Urban is too awesome. lol. I do love me some Dr. McCoy and he is so good at it! lol. Chris Pine does a nice job showing Kirk’s drifting as he internally loses his way. Zachary Quinto continues to deliver those great flat line punche. And also we get some surprises from him as well. Anton Yelchin truly puts his stamp as Chekov this time around, which will make us miss him all the more. Sofia Boutella adds a nice extra layer as Jaylah.

2) Special Effects – Total Thumbs Up: Some amazing stuff this time around with the special effects. Yorktown is super cool. Though I wish they’d slowed down the fast panning when we get our first look – it went way too fast. Which is a pity since it was so awesome! Let us enjoy your work!

Kudos on making the bad guys’ blasters/energy discharges look different. The energy had a funky shape, which was neat. The buildings and machinery of the ancient dwellings were rather neat. They definitely spoke of it being a different culture.

Though they were all still humanoid, we did get to see a whole range of new species in the film, which was awesome. I could not take my eyes off of Tyvanna and her cauliflower like layered head.

The swarm ships were rather nifty and looked cool. They way they were employed was rather brilliant. The Federation needs to get ahold of this metal!

If you see the film in 3D, the credits are a super treat as they show different planets, nebulas, and other gas fields. (Keep your eyes peeled for the giant green hand! I kid you not! lol) Lots of lovely work throughout the film.

3) Plot/Story – Thumbs Up: I’ve pretty much given up on the science making sense in this franchise anymore, so I don’t even try. So if you can turn that part of your brain off, the film can be quite enjoyable.

This is the film that bridges the old with the new. It’s like we are at the cusp of them being at the point where we first meet them in the original series. They merge the new theme music with the old theme music even more than in the past. Snippets and lines get thrown in that are well known and even in-jokes allude to the old series. And at the end they wrap it up with those words we all know so well.

Kirk and Spock finds themselves at a cross-roads. It is for different reasons, yet the decisions they are poised to make can change everything. Kirk’s ends up resonating as a recurring theme for several characters and even the main plot. There are some unexpected layers to why things are happening. So some things will seem odd until the explanations finally reveal what is not yet known.

4) Stunts – Total Thumbs Up: Lots of phaser combat on the ship and on the planet. Explosions, gravity shifts, and more get people thrown all over the place. Nice job!

5) Locations/Cinematography – Total Thumbs Up: As I mentioned earlier, they took the pan views of Yorktown way too fast. For the rest of the shots, however, you get some great views of the areas. The shots in space of the hive, the station, and the general mayhem in the first attack were fabulous.

Conclusion: Star Trek Beyond ties the old and new together. They still have issues with bad science. But if you can ignoring those, the film moves well and has plenty for audiences to enjoy. Some lovely in-jokes too!

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 (Hubby’s Rating: Worth Full Price to See Again)