Special Features – Thoughts on the Guardians of the Galaxy footage and why we should be excited

Anthony Stokes comments on the leaked footage for Guardians of the Galaxy….

This week the San Diego Comic-Con footage for Guardians of the Galaxy leaked online and was viewed by just about everybody with access to internet who was quick enough to catch it.  Marvel has somehow turned this obscure, weird comic series into a movie that can potentially take everybody by surprise.  Apologies to the fans, but when you hear the idea for this team it sounds like setup for a  joke:  So a talking raccoon and tree walk into a bar, except the tree can only really say it’s name… It could be interesting, but it also sounds like it could be disastrous.

Guardians of the Galaxy

While the footage from San Diego Comic-Con was more of a teaser than a trailer, at least from what leaked online, I have to say it’s really impressive.  It doesn’t really give away any story or anything substantial, but it gave us a look at Rocket Raccoon and wow – thank god he looks real.  A big pet peeve of mine is blockbusters with special effects that look like special effects which have not been fully rendered.  Here’s a movie that’s not even in post-production and it looks better than any movie that has come out this past year (rant over).  What really stood out to me is that instead of trying to make this some dark and gritty movie -which would be a horrible idea – it’s clear that Marvel is keeping things just as goofy as the comic books.  Which is great. One thing among many that Marvel does better then DC is that it knows what elements from the comics work and should be played for laughs, and which elements should be omitted because they wouldn’t translate.  I remember James Gunn saying he wanted Rocket to look less like a cartoon and more like a real raccoon. Any other director or studio wouldn’t bother, but taking measures to keep that one foot in reality and the other in fantasy is why Marvel’s movies work  so well.  Marvel clearly decided to dive head first into the goofy and has turned what could be dumb into fun.

Now there’s a lot of concern about how well Guardians of the Galaxy might perform.  It’s a movie about a talking raccoon and while I haven’t met any movie buffs who aren’t at the very least cautiously optimistic, it’s hard to tell how general audiences will take to this.  While I’m not one of those movie buffs who have contempt for the audience, it’s hard not to have a little cynicism.  But, there are several reasons I think Guardians will do fine at the box office, in the event that it’s a good movie, of course…

Marvel Studios

It’s a Marvel Movie.

While Guardians is really the testing ground for whether or not this theory is true, it’s hard not to have faith in the Marvel brand.  Iron Man 3 made almost as much as its two previous installments combined and fell only $300 million short of The Avengers, the third highest grossing movie of all time.  While Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t have Robert Downey Jr. or the Iron Man brand to carry it to those heights, it’s still a superhero movie, and with the boost from being in the same universe as The Avengers it should do just fine.

It’s a Great Concept.

When you first hear about Guardians of the Galaxy it sounds like a horrible idea.  Personally I hate it when a comic book tries too hard to be different without having any creativity or talent to back it up. Guardians’ weirdness comes from a place of genuine creativity and personality.  Not to mention any movie with a team is inherently more intersting than those with just one protagonist.  It’s why The Avengers and The Lord of the Rings are so great.  Having a team unit adds a layer of fun to any movie.  All Marvel has to do is market this successfully as an “Avengers in Space” with cool characters and it should be a hit.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Audiences Like Something New. And Something Good.

It’s easy for critics to look purely at box office numbers and say that audiences must be drooling idiots.  I don’t subscribe to this notion.  Django Unchained, Flight, Les Miserables, and Life of Pi were all big hits.  While there are some people who will go see ANYTHING, most people go to see movies they believe will be good.  Guardians could hit that perfect spot of something that’s unique, but familiar enough to audiences to ensure box office success.  With a good trailer I think it could easily spark interest amongst a lot of people.  And of course, the driving force of the box office seems to be children.  A talking tree and raccoon doesn’t sound stupid to a 7-year-old – especially if you give one of them guns.

It’s Released in August.

August is the dumping ground for movies that are okay , but not worthy of Oscar Season or Blockbuster Season.  Marvel is smart selecting an early August release date because audiences might be tired of the traditional blockbuster and want to see this because it’s so wildly different from anything else.  There’s also a lack of any real competition, meaning a successful opening and potential longevity at the box office.

Guardians of the Galaxy

It Could Be Really Funny

What I kept repeatedly stating and hearing coming out of The Avengers was that it was really funny.  To me, this was what made Avengers so wildly successful. On top of being a really solid movie with great characters, it also had a great sense of humor.  While James Gunn is no Whedon, Tarantino or Sorkin when it comes to dialogue, he’s at a comfortable notch just below them.  He’s already experienced in making comedies, and add in the fact that he has Chris Pratt – one of the funniest guys working today, who could easily match Robert Downey Jr. in terms of comedic timing and delivery – we should have a really funny movie which will hopefully mean great box office returns.

Now this is all speculation on my part. Guardians of the Galaxy could fall flat on its face and end up become the next Scott Pilgrim vs the World.  But I’m thinking it could be the next Thor, which also did really well with the general movie-going public and even has a lot of buzz for the upcoming sequel.  This is sink or swim for Marvel – if this movie does well it means that other less popular comics can be adapted and Marvel can start cherry-picking the best stories and characters.  The ball is in Marvel’s court now and given their past record I doubt they’ll disappoint…

What did you make of the Guardians of the Galaxy footage, and how do you think it will fare at the box office? Let us know in the comments below…

Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker.

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