2015 Hugo Awards Best Movie: Reviewing Guardians of the Galaxy

Yeah, yeah “Best Dramatic Presentation, Long Form” I know. It’s a movie. Everything else up is a movie. When they put a Broadway show up I will list the name as Best Dramatic Presentation. In the meanwhile it’s movies.

Guardians of the Galaxy, written by James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, directed by James Gunn (Marvel Studios, Moving Picture Company)

I saw this in the theaters when it came out and bought it on Blue Ray before I made up my mind to review and vote in the Hugo Awards. I already know I like this movie and am already familiar with the plot. I just rewatched it with a critical eye and because I enjoy it will probably rewatch it again as I write this review. There’s enjoying something and then there’s knowing why it was enjoyable. Details and spoilers are about to abound.

Guardians of the Galaxy seems to center around a boy who lost his mother to cancer, was kidnapped by aliens and never really matured beyond the emotional age of eight, though his physical age is doing just fine thank you. While he is key and definitely the unsuspecting leader of the quirky band of beings the movie succeeds beautifully in sharing the plot thoroughly between them all.

I recently read somewhere that good sci-fi/fantasy is about worldbuilding. Guardians of the Galaxy doesn’t just build a believable world it builds believable world views for each of the main characters as well. The truest worlds are those that allow individuals to interpret according to their own world view. It adds a level of dimension which is delightful.

The film itself is highly quotable, beautifully colorful, and has the crazy awesome nostalgia soundtrack. It does neat things with the whole orange/blue thing that is popular right now without leaning on it too heavily. It also isn’t afraid to laugh at itself.

The costumes are fantastic and pay homage to old science fiction from Battlestar Galactica to classic Star Trek. The film touches heartstrings molded by Tolkein and Cadigan. It is entirely aware of its lineage but doesn’t require that viewers have that knowledge to enjoy it.

There are moments of fable that I recognize like when Rocket adds his hand to the circle of Guardians and the smallest makes possible what would have failed. Then there are moments that become fable such as when Groot sacrifices himself.

Perhaps what I love best about the movie though is all the instances where my imagination wants to create more stories. Like the fact that the end of the movie leaves open the possibility that Xandar is now a planet with a significant Groot population.

Overall every rewatch gives me more reason to favor this movie. It just improves under scrutiny.

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