Okay, so I saw The Guardians of the Galaxy on Thursday like I said I would and well this is what I thought. It pretty much exceeded my lowered expectations a little with the humor, the great oldies music the main character listens to, and the great villain. Finally a strong, non CGI(computer graphic images) villain in a Marvel Movie(but it still had a nonsensical, cosmically confusing mcguffin, ‘the orb’ with the ‘infinity stone’, which just seems to be an incredibly powerful thing that can do anything and has no restrictions or rules. Basically a plot saving Ace in the whole for the writer who just makes it do whatever he wants it to do to move the plot along. Kind of like the ether power in the second Thor movie, which I really liked but with the mcguffin being the greatest weakness.) For those non initiates into movie Nerdome a mcguffin is an object in the plot that every character wants and is fighting over. See Tesserac, Holy Grail, Arc of the Covenant, etc….
I think if I saw it again that maybe I would care about the characters more. Their motivation for them to be friends and stick together was a little weak, but hey this is a Marvel movie in the age of huge studios micromanaging things to death, see the comments of Jose Padilha on directing the new Robocop. He basically said the studio denied 9 out of 10 ideas he had and it was a terrible experience. But like a good employee he retracted them and apologized. So given that I don’t expect a Star Wars, Lawrence of Arabia, or a Seven Samurai to come out of Marvel anytime soon. Moving on, yes the movie had an INSANE amount of CGI, ships, characters, backgrounds, laser blasts, almost everything got the makeover. Note the long list of digital artists in the credits, almost took up half of the closing crawl. But for that amount of CGI I have to say I was pleased with it. It has to be remembered that this CGI era is only sixteen years old and as an era it’s still finding itself.
I will support this last point there and then I’m done. In the Legend special features Ridley Scott said that movies should be mostly close up shots and some 3/4 shots, but very little long shots. This helps the audience can build an emotional connection with the characters. Star Wars used this to perfection by utilizing what George Lucas called “documentary style” which means lots of handheld, lots of camera movement within a scene, and mostly close ups to 3/4 distance shots. There is even an anecdote that the producers and suits at Fox were angry that he was spending lots of money creating beautiful sets but only filming a small portion by not using long shots. To use too many long shots would have worked against him. And the high use of establishing longshots by directors today is what is not establishing a connection with the characters as well as it could. There are almost too many examples to list here. Just watch any Transformers, Marvel, or Tom Cruise vs. aliens movie since 1998 and you will see that the director wants to maximize the use and full exposure of the entire CGI image rather than go back to the basics of cinematography. This also includes lack of interesting camera angles and movement which is basically said word for word by the special affects engineer on the special features to Big Trouble in Little China, whose name I just Goodled, its Richard Edlund. I love Wikipedia;) In that feature he recounts how they spent THOUSANDS of dollars on creating the floating blob head with like five eyes only for it to have like one minute of screen time. Okay, guilty on liking special features;) Anyway, this blog was too long, but I had a lot to say. Thanks for reading anyone who did and leave a comment if you like.
Next up the movie no one wants to see but I WILL SEE NO MATTER WHAT, the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Sayonara.