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Blu-ray Review Guardians of the Galaxy Blu-ray Review (1 Viewer)

Matt Hough

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Guardians of the Galaxy Blu-ray Review

If any Hollywood studio could be said to be sitting in the cinematic catbird seat at the moment, it’s Marvel Studios. Not only has it been enjoying unprecedented success with its series of superhero franchise movies (which then led to the gargantuan Avenger combination action epics), but now it’s established yet another brand with Guardians of the Galaxy, a foundation film which can likely spawn numerous sequels, prequels, and epics of its own. Completely unique in its tone and point of view, Guardians of the Galaxy is a comic space opera that’s as funny as it is exciting and features a cast of core characters which form one of the most eccentric albeit appealing teams in comic book movie history.



Studio: Disney

Distributed By: N/A

Video Resolution and Encode: 1080P/AVC

Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1

Audio: English 7.1 DTS-HDMA, Spanish 5.1 DD, French 5.1 DD

Subtitles: English SDH, Spanish, French

Rating: PG-13

Run Time: 2 Hr. 1 Min.

Package Includes: Blu-ray, 3D Blu-ray, Digital Copy

keep case in a slipcover

Disc Type: BD50 (dual layer)

Region: ABC

Release Date: 12/09/2014

MSRP: $39.99




The Production Rating: 4/5

On a scavenger hunt to retrieve some mysterious orb from wreckage on a distant planet for his boss Yondu Udonta (Michael Rooker), Ravager Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) soon learns that the orb is a highly sought after vessel containing the Infinity Stone, a powerful force capable of destroying complete galaxies. The evil Ronan (Lee Pace), who has designs of establishing himself as an all-powerful galactic lord, has sent his warrior princess Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to steal the orb from Quill, and Quill also finds on his tail a duo of bounty hunters ready to capture him for the price on his head: Rocket (Bradley Cooper), a gun-toting, wisecracking raccoon, and Groot (Vin Diesel), a tree-like humanoid. Once Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) enters the picture as the sworn enemy of Ronan, the quintet of unlikely heroes finds they must band together to prevent complete annihilation of themselves and their homes.

Co-written by director James Gunn and Nicole Perlman, the film is alive with the kind of sardonic wit and tongue-in-cheek byplay that singularizes it from other Marvel comic book adventures and while needing to establish the introductory backstories for a slew of new characters, it never mires itself into the tedium of too much detail (all that information can come in future sequels of which there should be many). Though lives are certainly on the line and there are deaths and destruction in the mix, the film (like its hero Peter Quill) never takes itself too seriously with sarcastic witticisms emanating from Quill and the plucky Rocket throughout the movie, even in times of peril (suggesting nods to Indiana Jones or even the heroes of The Princess Bride). On the other hand, more serious-minded characters like Gamora and the literally speaking and thinking Drax balance the frivolity that Rocket and Quill bring to the table making for a most balanced and appealing team of protagonists (and while these characters could not exactly be called superheroes in the same sense as Captain America or Thor, they all have talents and abilities that make the fivesome rather a formidable one). Of course, as in any space opera, there’s a bad guy out to take over the universe that must be stopped, and there is the expected girl-on-girl fight scene (between sisters Gamora – now having switched sides – and Karen Gillan’s still-loyal-to-the-opposition Nebula) that seems de rigueur, so there is going to be some bits of formula even in this most unique of science fiction fantasies, but the battles don’t go on too long, and one has never had his fill of a scene before director Gunn is ready to move us somewhere else equally as interesting. And one would be remiss not to mention that these galactic adventures are all accomplished to a soundtrack of 1970s pop-rock that additionally helps give the movie its own quirky but engaging personality.

Peter Quill is certainly a star-making role for Chris Pratt, and he superbly handles both the physicality and the verbiage with a light deftness that makes his hero one around which quite a few sequels should be built. No less appealing is the voice work of Bradley Cooper as the rascally raccoon Rocket imbued with a sensitivity beyond his wisecracks and banter that makes him imminently huggable. It’s a great showcase for Dave Bautista’s Drax, too, as he earns both laughs at his complete literal mindedness and sympathy at his dedication to his revenge. Zoe Saldana handles the warrior aspects of Gamora with aplomb, and Glenn Close as the head of the Xanderites who are under threat of destruction adds nobility to her few scenes. Lee Pace is almost unrecognizable in his effectiveness as the menacing giant Ronan, and Michael Rooker seems to having a whale of a time in heavy make-up as the galactic scavenger king. Seen briefly in roles that may be built up in later installments are John C. Reilly as a guard, Djimon Hounsou as a soldier, and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector, a kind of pawnbroker to the cosmos.


Music from the Morag Scene


Video Rating: 4.5/5  3D Rating: NA

The film’s 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio is presented in a 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Apart from occasional black levels which don’t seem quite as solidly and richly black as one might be expecting, this is a first-rate transfer with sharpness outstanding and color saturation levels superb without any blooming artifacts. Skin tones look natural for those with human skin tones; others seem appropriate for the characters they’re portraying. Contrast has been applied most consistently throughout. The movie has been divided into 21 chapters.

A 3D disc will be included in all commercial Blu-ray packages of this release, but it was not included in the review materials sent.



Audio Rating: 5/5

The DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix is a reference quality affair with those 1970s tunes being channeled through the channels with a wonderful degree of effectiveness. Dialogue has been well recorded and has been placed in the center channel. Tyler Bates’ original music score is likewise handled astutely in the fronts and rears, and the split sound effects get the multi-channel treatment with pans and swoops across and through the soundfield as one would expect them to have.



Special Features Rating: 3.5/5

Audio Commentary: director/writer James Gunn hardly draws a breath describing the various scenes and all of the actors/friends he’s managed to find room for in the movie.

Guide to the Galaxy (20:56, HD): director James Gunn describes the look he was after for the movie and then presents the people who gave it to him, among others set decorator Richard Roberts, production designer Charles Wood, executive producer Victoria Alonso, and actors Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Bradley Cooper, Michael Rooker, Lee Pace, and Benicio Del Toro.

Intergalactic Special Effects (7:11, HD): director James Gunn and producer Victoria Alonso discuss the importance of getting the characters of Rocket and Groot right and show behind-the-scenes looks at how live action actors (including the director’s brother Sean) stood in for characters that would later be added using CGI.

Deleted Scenes (4:22, HD): five scenes may be viewed separately or in montage and with or without commentary by director James Gunn.

Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron (2:27, HD) a sneak peek at the upcoming Avengers sequel.

Gag Reel (3:54, HD)

Promo Trailers (HD): among others, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Marvel TV series and video games.

Digital Copy: code sheet enclosed in the case.


Bloopers Dance Off

Bradley Cooper as Rocket


Overall Rating: 4/5

As enjoyable an adventure film as any produced in 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of those entertaining movies that can be watched multiple times with new discoveries to be made with each fresh encounter. The Blu-ray presents the movie with its appealing characters and striking visuals in a quality home video showcase that comes highly recommended.


Reviewed By: Matt Hough


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Matt Hough

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Robert Crawford said:
My favorite 2015 film and thank you for the review. I can't wait to see this film for the third time on my new 3D plasma.
Please come back here and report on your reactions to the 3D. I was sorry I couldn't offer my own comments/opinions.
 

Robert Crawford

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Matt Hough said:
Please come back here and report on your reactions to the 3D. I was sorry I couldn't offer my own comments/opinions.
Will do, that release is selling for $19.99 which is the same as the 2D release at Amazon.
 

SilverWook

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I have been reading elsewhere that the standalone 2D release looks very different color wise and somewhat darker, nothing like it looked in theaters. Buyer beware?
 

Jason_V

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Joseph Bolus said:
I've got the "Combo" 3D/2D release pre-ordered ... and *can't* wait until next Tuesday!
Me too. I'm hoping to watch on Tuesday night, but we'll see. For $19.99, it was a no brainer.
 

Virgoan

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What a pity that a 3-D review copy was not sent to you. It rather begs many questions...
 

Mike Frezon

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I'm just not sure about this.

I haven't seen the movie.

On the one hand, I've heard nothing but raves from those who have seen it. OTOH, I have grown rather weary from the glut of predictable superhero films in recent years.

I read Matt's description of the plot and am thinking to myself that this sounds like just another brick in the wall.

Is it really that different and do people really recommend it highly?
 

TravisR

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Mike Frezon said:
I'm just not sure about this.

I haven't seen the movie.

On the one hand, I've heard nothing but raves from those who have seen it. OTOH, I have grown rather weary from the glut of predictable superhero films in recent years.

I read Matt's description of the plot and am thinking to myself that this sounds like just another brick in the wall.

Is it really that different and do people really recommend it highly?
I like the Marvel movies but I'm not crazy over them. However, I think this is one of the best thanks to its sense of humor.
 

Mike Frezon

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Maybe it's what I'm hoping a comic book movie can be.

They all tend to want to take themselves so seriously. And I'd have a really hard time differentiating their plots (especially the Marvel stuff. i was raised on DC comics as a lad.).

Who am I kidding? I'm sure I'll pick up the disc someday. If it's even close to being on my wishlist it is inevitable that it'll make it into my collection eventually. But I have already given up on (and not purchased) the sequels in the Thor, Captain America or Iron Man series.
 

Jason_V

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Mike...I'm sure you've seen the trailers for Guardians. That's the tone they're going for. The beginning is heavy but then lightens up immensely. It's goofy, funny, action and just fun. It's on the tier right under Avengers and Winter Solider for me (never really loved Iron Man and Thor is...well...Thor).
 

Matt Hough

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Mike, as I said in the review, the framework for the plot is as familiar here as it is in all superhero movies (bad guy out to take over; plucky heroes out to stop him), but that framework here is adorned with the most clever and sly wit and general sense of fun that I've ever seen in one of these comic book adventure films. Raiders of the Lost Ark really is about the closest I can think of to an adventure movie that offers the same kinds of action and humor in a delirious mix of entertainment.
 

Mike Frezon

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I'm sure I'll end up giving it a try.

It's not that I don't like the superhero genre. It's just getting old and repetitive with the glut of poorly conceived storylines which has been on the market in the past couple of years. I really enjoyed Nolan's Dark Knight trilogy, for example. But I am starting to find most of the Marvel Universe stuff interchangeable...and forgettable.

Based on what you fellas are saying, I think it will be along of the lines of what will work for me--even though I am completely unfamiliar with anything about Guardians of the Galaxy. In other words, I've never even heard of the comic or characters until this film premiered.
 

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