Guardians of The Galaxy 2: A Celestial Opus – TWB67

[content_band style=”color: #333;” bg_color=”#F3E4CE” border=”all” inner_container=”true”] [custom_headline style=”margin-top: 0;” level=”h4″ looks_like=”h3″]Guardians of the galaxy is a celestial space painting that maintains the fun of the comic book genre with bright lights, witty banter, and a great soundtrack to overlay what is another great achievement for every VFX artist, writer, and cinematographer who worked to make this film an enjoyable and successful sequel.[/custom_headline]

The Importance of Space and Composition

Not only did GOTG provide you with the same dysfunctional camaraderie from its predecessor, the movie improved upon itself by focusing a lot on the look of the environment in which the guardians exists. There was no need to change the status quo. A space adventure is another adventure with the same characters from the last iteration —just insert villain or problematic situation here and there you go, mission complete. However, if you read comics, then you know sometimes the storylines are not as important as is the art behind the new villain or world your characters enter into that issue. That is what creates excitement and intrigue and page turning delight, and with GOTG vol. 2 each scene transition was like a visual swipe of a large page to that next great big screen image.

Quill against and background of white and yellow surreal geometrics shapes. The use of the close up to capture the true moment of a certain expression or reaction was right out of Jonathan Demme’s scene crafting playbook. And the celestial lights, c’mon! They were just as beautiful of a sight to see in this movie as they are from the many images NASA provides us on a daily basis. Just take at this image recently taking in Guatelmala of a volcano erupting into the stars. Now compare that image with one of the galaxy scenes in volume two and notice the brilliance of colors. The replication is uncanny and another representation of how Disney and the creators they work alongside pay attention to the details. Not many people will look upon such direction and give it the praise it deserve. So, to go to such such lengths to get the look right for the story and it’s characters, all the VFX artist and painters deserve at least some recognition of their work. Bravo!

Guardian of The Galaxy 2, Quill against background of shapes and mute colors. Composition is stunning.

This attention to the colorful wonderment of galaxies and their thousands of stars weren’t evident in the volume one and is what seems to be a point of focus for Marvel space movies from here on out. See Thor trailer.

The appearance of space isn’t as bland as darkness sprinkled with a few million stars. Galaxies collide and stars erupt painting a very different picture of space beyond our atmosphere. Star Wars did it but mostly with creating the worlds themselves, and Star Trek just the same. Aside from some anime I’ve watched, we have yet to have anyone look at the universe and produce a semblance of its majesty to this degree of creativity. Actually, watch Your Name( and I suggest you do), the scene of a meteor entering earths atmosphere will drop your jaw. Proof is in the pictures, the universal is brilliant in it’s wonder and Gaurdians of the Galaxy volume 2 captures the essence of a thousands stars and blends them into the art of a story filled with characters who shine brightly as individuals within a whole galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Story to the Sequel

As not to poo-poo the story. However, I am. But I give credit to Gunn and Dan Abnett for bringing back the unsung characters we fell in love with in Vol. 1. They were just as funny and ridiculous as we remember them with a few new members to chop it up with. I did not watch the trailer for Guardians @ but when I heard Drax in full guffaw over Quill embarassing himself in front of Gamora, I thought, hear we go again. Same ol shit different movie. GotG is just going to be the same movie replicated with the same jokes that made us laugh in volume. one. And I wasn’t wrong. However, they did something with this sequel that many other sequels with comedic value fail to do: they made the same jokes funnier. I don’t know how but they did and I laughed out loud many times to myself in an empty auditorium wishing I could have someone to share that laugh with.

I thought, okay, I did consider vol. 2 at some point to be better than vol. 1. Then I watch volume one and remembered how good it was. So they are as equally entertaining which is good because what happens many times with these comic book themed movies is that the sequel fails in comparison to it predecessor. GOTG2 was Quills story. But the main character is never as good as her or hers supporting cast. Drax was a hoot when teamed up with Mantis, the gullible empathic. And rocket pulled no punches with his crass language and bad attitude. Kurt Russell did what Kurt Russell does and he does good; great casting as the father to Star Lord.

Baby Groot… I tried not to like him because anyone can do that part and they are paying Vin Disiel a grip of dough for what? I digress. Baby Groot was adorable and not a patronizing stem of cuteness. He was just as susceptible to danger as the crew and has a quiet storyline reference that if you blink, you will miss.

If you strip away the cosmic space battles, celestial beings, and a talking trash monkey, you have a western and the Guardians of the Galaxy are just cowboys. So, for my main dish I want to “dish about how space is a great setting for a Western.”

“The Western…mythic vision of the plains and deserts of the American West”. —Peter Cowe, John Ford and the American West 2004

Envision a desert plain, flat and stretches on forever. Now consider space in all the vast glory. Inhabited by planets, galaxies, and billions and billions of stars. Each one of these planets and their moons represent the towns and salons of an old western pit stop. Space cowboys soar from planet to planet wielding curiosity as to what is to come. Some search for bounty, and others a new home. Space is open for interpretation and a great stage for an action adventure.

Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai Seven and GOTG2

There is this article on how Akira Kurosawa’s Samurai Seven continues to influence Filmmakers today. And in considering this article, I thought about how much Guardians of the Galaxy is just another interpretation of the classic film about seven Ronin (masterless samurai) who help to save a village from thieves who still their crops. Sounds familiar? A bugs… There you go. Fill in the blanks. It’s may not be purposefully the intention of the writer or the creators of the comic book who structured that story around that premise. However, GOTG2 doesn’t exactly avoid the pigeon hole plot devise. The opening scene sets up the narrative for the tale of the movie to unfold. The Guardians are on a planet performing their duties as they are entitled. Insert the villain here and some further plot device to distract from the mission there and there’s your movie.

This is in now way an attempt to belittle the scripting of GOTG2. As I stated before, Dunn and Adan did well by their characters. I just wanted to take a further examination into the plot devices of the western genre that give writers a better opportunity to showcase the various attributes of the characters within an ensemble cast. Each film or issue could expose an a very humanistic side to the super human, alien, or humanoid itself as seen in GOTG2 without losing the excitement of fantasy. I was watching the GOTG animated show on Disney XD and they were gearing up for this 90 minute special on how Sembiotes were attempting to jump to Groots home planet using the Thor’s Bifröst. The stories are within the characters and with the Guardians, they have plenty of storylines and crossovers to keep audiences entertained. Just as long as they continue to innovate within the realm of the MCU.

Scoop Du Jour: The Way of the Comic Book Movie

Fantasy makes a great comic book movie, however, when things get “real” movie goers are likely to not enjoy the movie as much. Hence all the backlash Warner Bros. gets for it’s Batman and Superman adaptations or Marvels’s Ant-Man and Iron Man 3. Even the Avengers 2 suffered from spells of boredom and contrived drama by being too serious. Logan successfully pulled this off early this year, but that was just a movie long over due. GOTG2 continued it’s write of passage by keepin’ it real. They gave us fun with the first movie and made the sequel even more exciting and hilarious, and in doing so achieved something other films within the MCU failed.

Spielberg and Comic Book Movies

Spielberg said a few years ago, that the comic book movie will go the way of the western and many believed that to be true… at the time. Disney has the next five or ten years locked down with movies as Warner Bros. trudges behind with releases of it’s Justice League titles.

The reason why the western went away is because there was something else to replace it. Currently, there’s nothing in contention to uproot this genre of film and television so what’s to stop studios from pouring all their resources into a comic book movie tentpole? Fox has finally decided, to much chagrin, to film the Dark Phoenix Saga. Comic book films are here to stay because there’s no original content or adaptation to compete with what has been the juggernaut of Hollywood.

One conclude Spielberg should eat his words but that guy is royalty so, I dare you *ahem* Shia Labouf.

With studios concentrating so much of their yearly budgets on blockbuster films, they are releasing fewer films each year, which hurts movie theater chains and invites the question: are online services, like, Netflix killing movies. Oooh, such a saucy debate. I don’t think Netflix is killing movies, but I do believe it’s making the market very competitive.

The JJ Abram’s Experience

In a recent speech, JJ Abrams spoke about how the window for theatrical releases will soon shorten opening up VOD for people who want the luxurious choice to stay home. And he based this opinion on an experience he had during a night a out at the movies with his wife. He stated: “You go there. They’re angry with you. It’s cold. There’s no music. The lights go out when the movie starts — there’s no ceremony. It’s the most uncomfortable seats… You’re convinced there’s something in front of the projector. Meanwhile, most people in that audience have better TVs at home than the image you’re seeing.”

Now that might be a slight exaggeration on his part, unless that is, the presentation was indeed that bad in that particular auditorium where he and his wife watched whatever movie. Can you image if he name dropped the theater, geez? Abrams frustration stems from the fact that he had a bad experience and isn’t that the main factor in attending a movie at any theater, the experience? So how do you sell the experience with a premium cost for the VOD luxury?

Sure, you can stay home and watch the new Pirates of the Caribbean movie on your 72 inch television but where’s the spectacle in that? You’re at home. Familiar territory with far too many distraction: cell phones, kids playing on cell phones, hun, did you do pay the car bill. If you’re like me, home is a huge distraction. When my family and I go to a movie, my kids have to stay seated and my wife has to put her phone away. No excuses.,

“I can hear it [the movie]”
“Yes, but you’re not watching the movie.”

Or you just fall asleep. You’ve been working all week and you’re dog tired. Once you’ve had dinner and settled down to watch that fifty dollar one time viewing film, you fall asleep, money wasted. There’s no DVR-ing that flick. Play it once and it’s done. Where this might be of benefit are families with small children or a large household. This would allow many of them to view new releases once they debut without having to break the bank?

My family wasn’t one to frequent theaters much, hardly ever. I remember watching my first movie in a theatre at the age of nine, on base, about six weeks after it’s release; it was The Land Before Time. Great movie. Cried like a baby. I don’t remember much the experience as I did the movie, but this all changed when I saw Terminator 2 when it was still in it’s first run. It was then I really gained an adoration for action movies and special effects. But it was attending the movie with my pops that I really enjoyed the most. These movie were always on in our home — we played them off a VHS— so this experience of buying a ticket the box office, getting popcorn, and watching a movie with other folks was indeed priceless.

I understand where Abrams is coming from though, theater chains have to step up but not due to the lack of interest in going to the movies; it’s in the lack of variety. Again, with many studios releasing fewer movies every year, more people are choosing to stay at home because they have options. Netflix is producing and acquiring content at an alarming rate, slating to spend six billion on content for the year 2017. For major studios with a fickle budget, they just can’t take a chance on too many smaller films, and so where do those films go?

Netflix A Go-Go

Hasting, Netflix CEO says movies theaters haven’t innovated since popcorn, and yet studios continue to rake in millions at the box office. Netflix isn’t going to kill movies; it’s just challenging the business of an industry model that’s attempting not to die. Large budget movies, even the least accepted, will make their money back at the box office. But it’s smaller film releases by major studios that are losing money. if that trend continues, there will be less to choose from at the box office allowing Netflix to swoop in and commandeer the space and possibly release it’s own movies to theaters and online streaming. Given the option of better content with a better experience, movie theaters will continue to thrive as Netflix continues to help usher the film industry into a new shared interest in the entertainment space.

Flava Text of the Week:

You can’t always plan your path into the future. Sometimes you have to build it first.

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