Wednesday, 26 November 2014

Blu-ray Review: Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

Welcome to the first in what will most likely be the main type of feature that will appear on Deep Blu-ray Sea. A review is a common concept and shouldn't need to be explained but I will anyway. Basically, I will get a Blu-ray, whether it's a single movie, set of movies or TV show series and maybe games, but I have a different idea for those in mind that I will expand on at a later time when I have a full concept. I also won't be giving a rating or a score in my reviews, simply because of the fact I'd rather not do and prefer it this way. Anyway, the first Blu-ray to be reviewed is a new release, they won't always be, and it is Marvel's latest blockbuster, Guardians of the Galaxy. 

Marvel has seen massive success with their Marvel Cinematic Universe (It's really called that) and since it was acquired by Disney, has gone from strength to strength when many feared the worst after joining the house of mouse back in 2010. Guardians of the Galaxy is another one of from the back catalog of comics and has been adapted in a big-budget bombastic style. The Blu-ray release has now hit and now it's time to look at what's up.

Guardians of the Galaxy's Blu-ray release is standard fare. Not surprising for the standard edition really. However, it's a little disappointment that there isn't more than the minimum expected from Marvel and Disney.

In the images above you can see what you get for your money, pretty much the disc and a case. I wasn't expecting a 200 page art book showcasing all of the designs from the movie but maybe at least something about the next upcoming Marvel movies perhaps. The box does confirm some good things, such as the fact that it is region-free so you can play it on any Blu-ray player, no matter where you are.

Another disappointment is the lack of artwork on the disc. The blue disc looks uninspired and dull. Not really important but it just looks cheap.

So, when it boils down to it, the presentation doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things. Some care, hardcore collectors, but the majority will just throw the disc into the player and see what's what. Which is perfectly reasonable. The question is, is Guardians of the Galaxy any good?

The answer to that is yes, in short. In longer terms, it's good but it isn't perfect.

The thing about Guardians of the Galaxy, and it's the same for pretty much all of these recent superhero movies, is that there doesn't feel like there's any tension. You just know that the heroes will defeat the bad guys and that's that. No real drama or twist. I know this is not meant to be an intelligent movie with more twists than a Turkey Twizzler but at least have something. 

Guardians of the Galaxy follows the story of Peter Quill and it's 1988, a happy time for young Peter at the beginning as his mother is on her deathbed (that's a joke about it being a happy time). Anyway, Peter's mother (played by Laura Haddock, who plays Will's love interest Alison in The Inbetweeners Movie and Sam in the best UK sitcom no one watched, How Not to Live Your Life) sadly dies and Peter runs off struggling to take it where he is abducted by a space ship, of course.

Years later, older Peter (played by Chris Pratt) finds a mysterious orb which he retrieves and takes to a broker on the planet Xandar, to the annoyance of Yondu (Michael Rooker), who was the one who abducted him. On Xandar, the broker won't take it as Ronan (Lee Pace) has an interest in it. Dejected, Quill sees Gamora (Zoe Saldana) who tries to take the orb for herself but is thwarted by Quill along with Rocket the racoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot (Vin Diesel, weirdly) who want to turn Quill in to Yondu who has placed a bounty on him.

Basically, they get arrested by Rhomann (John C. Reilly) and sent to the Kyln, a giant prison. There, they meet Drex (WWE wrestler Dave Bautista) and decide to work together to escape and sell the orb, no knowing why Ronan wants it. Other characters include Nova Prime (Glenn Close) and Nebula (Karen Gillan).

What works in Guardians of the Galaxy is the humour and the action, like many Marvel movies before it. The production values are top notch. The chemistry between the main cast is what helps enormously because if there wasn't, the whole movie would just be awkward. It's formulaic but it is good fun and doesn't take itself too seriously. It's unfortunate that the villain Ronan isn't anything special or even memorable, but in the grand scheme of things, in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, he's a minor character. And that's what this is, Guardians of the Galaxy is introducing the team to the masses and setting them up for bigger things. It's a good movie despite it's issues as it achieves what Marvel wanted to do, and that is a summer popcorn flick. Nothing more, nothing less.

In regards to the Blu-ray release, the picture quality is as good as any modern film release. The image quality is nice and clean, the colours pop and have a decent variety, and the sound quality is excellent, there is full 7.1 surround sound support. The fact that the film has a great soundtrack helps, it's full of 80s hits. The Blu-ray also comes with extras, such as deleted scenes. The deleted scenes are interesting because they are unfinished. The scenes show low quality versions of Rocket and Groot for instance, as well as some missing special effects. It's actually cool to see this sort of thing as it goes to show how late in production everything comes together.

Other extras include a director's commentary from James Gunn and an early look look at Avengers: Age of Ultron which releases next year, which I'm sure will be a massive success.

All in all, the Blu-ray the release of Guardians of the Galaxy is a competent, if unspectacular release of a good yet formulaic superhero movie. It doesn't break any grounds but it does what people expect, and it does it well.