Saturday, August 02, 2014

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY: some reflections…

Before I hit you w my rambling comments, observations, and crazy talk (after my second screening of GOTG =), I hafta say I was so fixated on the Peter Quill paternity episode of MAURY that I failed to even comment on how much fun this frickin film was in my earlier ramble, so…

This film was so much frickin fun! Probably the most fun space adventure I've seen since SERENITY. I'm not sure where it falls in the MCU collection so far, but it's gotta be top 5. But it's almost not fair to compare to the others, cuz, y'know… SPACE! =)

I don't know what I can do to explain its greatness except to try and re-inject the original value of the word into "awesome"—It is awesome.

I had deja view to the likes of FARSCAPE, SERENITY, STAR WARS, various incarnations of STAR TREK, and that general warm fuzz of 80s movies that SUPER 8 managed to tap into. Mind you, my deja view calls are not about plagiarising or ripping off, but about paying homage or honor to or knowingly wink-and-nodding at the Good Stuff that's come before, maybe even without the intent, cuz I know my wackjob fanboy synapses make their own connections when they want to.

So many pluses! The casting is excellent! Chris Pratt is an excellent scoundrel(tm Lucasfilm =) and while I would not have envisioned him as the Peter Quill I know from the MU, he creates an MCU Quill that kinda rules. The Earth fish-out-of-water + out-of-time creates some pretty joyful moments. Kind of a reverse experience of Captain America. Buck Rogers x John Crichton, y'know? What's not to love, right?

I don't know Dave Bautista at all outside of what I see of him as Drax on screen in this film, but I love him. I *love* the way the writing handles Drax, and Bautista plays it easily. GOTG's Drax seems to be a clever mashup of two MU incarnations of the character. The first is a somewhat brain-damaged, simple invincible powerhouse, the damage caused by a somehow imperfect resurrection. He is part of the Infinity Watch and basically is the strongman of the team, his fists guided by the others' orders. The second is a sharp, savage fighter, whose sole focus is the destruction of Thanos. I think there was a resurrection/reconstitution involved here, too, but not sure of the details. In any case, this one likes his knives. GOTG's Drax is something of a mix that allows for moments of entertainment value and strategic power of both.

This movie "fixed" Zoe Saldana for me. I've had trouble with seeing her characters and not her in her roles so far, but apparently all it takes is some green pigment! Heh. Also, she got to play a character that doesn't feel like all attitude, which seems to be what I remember most from her previous roles.

Along w the voice talent, the animators and FX team helped realize two amazing characters and creatures in Rocket and Groot.

I have to say, this is the best performance I've seen from Bradley Cooper, and technically, I didn't even SEE him on the screen. I mean, he really disappears into Rocket. I've had a soft spot for him ever since JACK AND BOBBY, even tho I didn't love his comedic detours, but maybe he's a stronger character actor than front man? I dunno. Time and more roles will tell. Right now, tho, I can tell you that he is an excellent Rocket.

Vin Diesel as Groot. He did a great job, but I'm not sure that it is greater than many others might have done. Still, he *is* one of the few (the only?) Hollywood performers with this sort of experience under his belt, right? IRON GIANT =)

Allright, enough w the review-ish stuff. On to the nerdy *SPOILER*ful rambling!

Peter Quill, Sr.…

Some bits of dialogue I failed to include in my earlier post about Star-Lord's father

On her deathbed, Mama Quill describes Peter as being just like his father, "an angel made of pure light." Starhawk, anyone?

When Yondu throws his Ravager weight around at the end to get Peter to give up the Orb, he says something like, "I may look like an angel, but I'm not one." Yondu is basically Peter's space foster dad, and if Peter's real dad is Starhawk, that line is a nice snarky comparison/shot at him (maybe for Kraglin's benefit?).

Also, Yondu refers to Peter's dad as "a jackass," not "a dick." My badd. =)

The post-credits scene…

The Collector with two anthropomorphs (that's the best I could come up with that wouldn't be offensive—I hope—to the likes of Rocket): Cosmo and Howard the Duck! Howard makes some smart remark to The Collector when Cosmo returns to the ruins of the Collection. "How can you let that mutt lick you on the face?" or some such. The Collector can't even muster a response. Both Howard and The C are sipping bright green cocktails. Not sure who mixed them. Does the Collector typically share with Howard?

I've gleaned from obtuse, non-spoiling twitter remarks that Nathan Fillion voiced Howard?! He's worked w James Gunn before (as has Kevin Bacon—see SUPER, it's pretty brilliant! =). On second viewing/hearing, I honestly could not tell thru the Howard-the-Duck filter that it was Nathan, but it warms the heart to know that Captain Hammer is a man behind the duck. =)

*CORRECTION* Nathan Fillion voices the big blue bruiser in the Kyln. He's the guy who wants to lick some kind of jelly off of Quill and for his overtures is rewarded with a serious Grooting. It is Seth Green who voices the surly mallard sapien from an alternate universe. My badd.

The design of this Howard is closer to the original comic book design, a grittier, world-wearier Donald, y'know? Not the kinda bulbous man-in-humanoid-duck-costume of the 1986 movie. Howard's creator in the MU, Steve Gerber, is also the creator of the first, 30th-century, incarnation of the MU Guardians of the Galaxy.

Would no doubt cause a rip in the fabric of MCU spacetime if it happened, but would've been great for Peter Quill to have spotted Howard's silhouette in a case (along w others) in the Collection and comment…
QUILL: Dude, you've got an E.T.? An A.L.F.? And… Whoa! That looks like a Howard the Duck!? That's awesome! Can I get a better look at him?
COLLECTOR: Sorry, son. I can't take him out of the box or he loses half his value.
QUILL: That's seriously disappointing. Hey, you got any bobble-heads?

Cosmo! The telepathic dog of Knowhere and the Guardians of the Galaxy! I wonder if The Collector knows he's telepathic. I mean, is THAT why he's in his Collection, or is it just that he's a Terran canine astronaut? In any case, so great to see him in his Russian space suit. =)

Now, were these characters featured to distract me/us from some detail in the rubble around them? Hrm… Guess I'll have to go see it again to find out!

Ronan, his minions, his tech…

I believe that the character of Korath is an enhanced blue Kree scientist-soldier in the MU. Don't remember if he's affiliated w Ronan. In GOTG, he's Ronan's lieutenant or whatev, played by Djimon Hounsou. Given his loyalty to Ronan and his combat prowess in GOTG, I think he may have the same backstory, but without the blue (do the MCU's Kree come in blue, black, and pink?). Hrm… Guess we don't see anything in the movie that vouches for high scientific credentials, tho.

Love Peter's reaction when he calls him Star-Lord. So many great set-ups and rewards in this film!

On second screening I caught that someone calls Ronan's minions Sakaarans! In my mind, that connects to Sakaar, the planet of the Planet Hulk storyline in the MU's HULK series. They are a species who survive on a rocky, dying, I believe, planet. Some among them have an ability to shape the rock, and their civilization developed a technology that could manipulate stone into machinery and spacecraft. Is THAT what the Dark Aster is? A stoneship of Sakaar?

But then, what of the "Necro-ships?" "Necro-fighters?" I can't remember precisely whether the soldiers and/or the spacecraft are prefixed with "necro," which, if we can trust the MCU's universal translators, implies that there's something dead or undead about them. Or… Maybe it's that they deal death to those who oppose them? In that case, maybe the translators need a little tweaking, eh?

So, Ronan's force is an army of two Kree, two of Thanos's daughters, and a legion of Sakaarans.

When it came to the backstory, motivation, interior design, and tech, I had flashes to the time-bumped Romulans of the first J.J. Abrams STAR TREK film.

MCU's Infinity Stones vs. MU's Infinity Gems…

At the end of THOR: THE DARK WORLD, the Collector was in possession of The Aether. His collection is destroyed by the power discharged from the purple Infinity Stone, aka "The Orb." Where do we think the Aether, aka the Power Stone, is right now? Will the destruction of his collection keep The Collector from pursuing the remaining Infinity Stones?

In the MU, the purple Infinity Gem is the Space Gem, which allows its wielder to travel anywhere in space. If the MCU gems correspond 1-to-1 w the MU ones, then the wormhole/portal-creating Tesseract is a match for the Space Gem. So, the Tesseract is the Space Stone.

In GOTG, The Collector shows the Guardians how a Celestial used the purple stone to destroy the face of a planet. Its energy washes across the world, apparently cracking its crust and destroying and killing everything on its surface. Later, Peter and Gamora explain to the Nova Corps that they have to prevent Ronan from reaching Xandar's surface or he'll use the power of the stone to destroy every living thing on the planet. I think the words "plants and animals" might've been used. Pretty specific, eh? Apparently the takeaway from The Collector's show-and-tell is that the stone's user must be in contact with the ground of its target planet and its power affects all organic materials. Would've been nice to see or hear a clear explanation of this.

Okay, so, this purple stone affects organic matter. The one example of this I remember seeing in the MU gems is in the way the Elder of the Universe, The Gardener, used the Time Gem. I forget if he knew that it was the Time Gem he had, but the effect it had was that it promoted the favorable growth of plant life. The Gardener instinctively accomplished this by using the power of the Time Gem in a focused way.

So, if the powers of the MCU Stones do match up to the MU Gems…

Tesseract (white) = Space Stone (purple MU gem)
Aether (red) = Power Stone (red MU gem)
Orb (purple) = Time Stone (orange MU gem)
??? = Mind Stone (blue MU gem)
??? = Soul Stone (green MU gem)
??? = Reality Stone (yellow MU gem)


He doesn't appear to be all that capable of a Big Bad just now, does he? His Chitauri army defeated by some upstart Earthicans. One daughter turned against him, the other driven off by another Earthican and his band of outsiders. But, hey, it's Thanos. He's the Mad Titan and he plays the long game, right?

I say that these apparent setbacks (AVENGERS and GOTG) are actually events going pretty nearly exactly according to plan. All part of a grand design that will ultimately locate and recover all of the Infinity Stones and have them secured in the possession of known quantities, to be secured later by other means, or to be drawn out when the possessors are faced with an apparent greater single threat.

In the aftermath of GOTG, what are the whereabouts of the Aether?

Some random-ish bits and pieces…

Thanos's realm is known as Sanctuary. That's the name of his flagship/s in the MU.

When Ronan is called before Thanos, he visits him physically, traveling via ship, not in some astral planar fashion the way Loki does in AVENGERS. Sanctuary (and Thanos) is much closer to Kree and Xandarian space than Earth.

And since we're on Sanctuary… When Peter grabs the Orb stone and begins disintegrating, Gamora calls out to him to take her hand. Peter looks at her, but sees his mother, calling to him from her deathbed. The environment around them—Peter and his mother—resembles that view of space from Sanctuary, but instead of the rubble of Thanos's playhouse, the setting features some designed structures in the middle ground. Structures like low-arcing spires, that seem to assemble and dissemble from… rectangular plates, or slabs, maybe? Hrm… A visualization of the world inside the MU's Soul Gem? Hrm…

Ronan kills The Other, Thanos's go-between. Poor Wesleyxis Denisof. Maybe we'll see him as another MCU character in the future, tho. Vision? =)

So wonderfully Jim Kirk and Buck Rogers and Crichton having Peter Quill represent for 20th century Earth out in the black. Kevin Bacon and Jackson Pollock walk into a space cantina… Besides Cosmo and Quill, I wonder what other Terrans are wandering Out There. Quasar? Corsair? Red Skull (I say again, Red Skull for Thanos! =) Billy Pilgrim?

When Ronan first emerges on the command deck of the Dark Aster, he is elevated out of a tank of dark liquid. Once he is suited up, he then executes a Xandarian, presumably a member of the Nova Corps. He does this with his hammer, and we see the resulting Xandarian squeezins flow from the body thru channels in the deck to a drain of sorts that seems to lead to the level or chamber from which Ronan arose. So… He really does bathe in the blood of his enemies? Man, the MCU has really painted Ronan generously with the psychotic brush.

Celestials! Pretty awesome seeing a Celestial wielding the Orb's Infinity Stone to wipe a planet of its life forms (it happens in The Collector's informative multimedia presentation). Also, Knowhere! Just as in the MU, the remains of the head of a Celestial. Note that The Collector calls them the Celestial somethings, not simply The Celestials, as they're known in the MU.

I can't say as I remember Talis (or Talus?) Mining Company as a player in the MU. Frack, my dumb brain. The logo was visible on the wall next to that comm station that Ronan "borrows" to contact Ronan from Knowhere.

*ON SECOND THOUGHT* Am I dyslexically misremembering the name of the mining company? Is it Tivan, after Taneleer Tivan, aka The Collector? That would better explain why he's set up Collection in Knowhere, and is totally in line with his Elder of the Universe predilection for rare and unique items. The actual physical contents of a Celestial's head, right? Heckuva way to finance his Collecting habit, too. With those kinds of resources, I'd keep one of everything to read/play with, and one mint in box or bag. =)

Speaking of forgotten (or missed) text… I couldn't make out the branding on Peter's wood paneled sound system on the Milano.

And the Milano! Or was it Murano? I *think* there was writing on the ship's exterior, the ship's name, I expect, but I couldn't or failed to catch it. I was either focused on other action, or didn't notice it soon enough on screen. Gotta say, I feel like I heard "Murano" once or twice early in the movie, but then "Milano" most every time after that. Murano sounds like a ship name from the ALIEN series, right? Was it? Milano, however, brings to mind the Pepperidge Farm cookie ("Pepperidge Farm remembers"), right? But, would an Earth kid name a ship that looks like a Dorito a Milano? I don't think so…

So… Milano… 1980s Earth… Teen Steam, anyone? =)

Gotta cut footloose!

Keep on keepin on~

1 comment:

Camila said...

I have some thoughts regarding the Infinity Stones...

I completely agree with the Tesseract being the Space stone, it can literally just transfer things in space.

I also agree with the Aether being the power stone, since it is that, pretty powerful..

But I have my doubts on the Orb. I have not read the comics and I only base my comments on what I have seen in the MCU, yet I am a big marvel fan and try to catch up with anything :) (I really want to read the comics, though I REALLY dont know where to start, tere are just millions of stories)

From what you said, with The Gardener, i think that more than affecting the plant itself , it affects the time of it, like making it grow more by making it older, thus using time.
I did not see the Orb (or the stone itself actually) behaving thhis way, it just destroyed anyone or anything living who held it, so I think that this stone may not be the Time one, but if it is not it then I really have no idea, and probably the stones are different in the MCU (hence the name difference). Its effect reminded me of when Nick Fury or when Red Skull touched the tesseract. Nick was explicitly burned by it (though it may have been from the recent blast which opened the portal, which may have left the Tesseract hot). Yet when Red Skull touched it he was disintegrated and his remains sent into space, and when he dropped the Tesseract it burnt a hole right through the plane, only after its power was used.

I cant help but stop in the exact literal way people died by touching both stones. They all 'exploded' and caused a surrounding blast, (the Orb's blast was SIGNIFICANTLY higher. But the way pople just exploded (even seen slightly with Hydra's weapons) it is really similar, and how ive previously said, Marvel doesn't just explain things with coincidence in most cases.

Maybe the reaction by touching the stones was just the fact that they are too powerful to be held by one person, yet , how about Jane Foster? (Though yes, i know, the Aether is some sort of exception by its "liquid" state)

GOTG created more questions than it answered, but these questions and this movie in particular, are/is the starting point of so much more about to happen, I am sure of it. We may not see it now, but GOTG really marked a new era for the MCU (and i am sure we will be seeing some references in Avengers 2), yet I have only one doubt, why release it now? I know it may be related to Marvel not releasing movies since about the beggining of the year, yet, wasn't it too soon for Gyardians? Why not wait till after Avengers 2? I am sure (and I hope) there must be areason for this, rather than it being a marketing strategy.

So farewell, and thanks for posting these, your blog is awesome! I love Marvel and your recent posts regarding it are pretty extensive, detailed and correct, so congrats on that.

Oh and BTW, it IS 'Milano' , I caught the writing on the wing of it, though the reason for the name ...I have no idea.