Talking Raccoons and the Tree People Who Love Them
Truth be told, there was another little ditty in the pipeline for this week. A whole other subject I’ve wanted to write about for weeks now, but circumstances have postponed that tome for another week (hopefully that’s all, because when you see it you’ll see I’ve already waited quite some time for the chance to say what I want to say). I couldn’t be happier, though, to put that column off another seven days. The release of Marvel Studios’ most recent trailer for one of their upcoming projects is totally worth the delay.
I said trailer. Because nerds get excited for movie previews. The very nature of nerdom has it built into our DNA that we cannot get enough of something even prior to its release. Nerds crave information- plot details, casting announcements, and even though many feign disgust towards their ease of availability in the digital age…SPOLIERS. Any tidbit nerds can devour satiates, at least temporarily, that which only the final product can fully satisfy (and even then it’s usually through multiple viewings or experience of said item).
One of the greatest examples of the trailer reigning supreme came before the Internet exploded. It was a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away…the 1990’s. Attached to prints of the movie Meet Joe Black starring Brad Pitt was the first trailer for Star Wars Episode One: The Phantom Menace. It was a big deal. This was going to be the first Star Wars movie since the Original Trilogy decades before. This was going to be a Star Wars movie made with today’s technology, much the same way the Original Trilogy was made “special” with “enhancements.”
And before it was released to be ridiculed by disappointed fanboys and girls around the globe for all its faults, including deesa Jar Jar ace-hole, the first trailer rocketed the movie Meet Joe Black to the number one movie the weekend it came out. Star Wars fans paid to get into the theatre to watch the trailer, and then got the hell out of there before having their senses destroyed by the movie it preceded. I don’t remember the estimates that have been done, but I believe ticket sales attributed to the Phantom Menace trailer were in the millions. See kids, what we used to have to go through before Apple and Flash and You Tube?
Nowadays, we have trailer releases that are events unto themselves, online and on television (where I saw the Phantom Menace trailer, thanks Entertainment Tonight for saving me from Meet Joe Black). There are even teaser trailers for trailers. How ridiculous is that getting? No matter how insane it seems, and how much it is badmouthed, nerds eat it up. And eaten it was this week. As mentioned earlier, Marvel Studios released the first trailer for one of their two movies coming out this year- The Guardians of the Galaxy.
Full disclosure, I know (or should say knew) nothing about GOTG except for having heard the name. I was unfamiliar with them and the story of this apparent band of criminal misfits. But since learning about the movie, who is involved in its making, and what it could mean for all Marvel movies, I’ve soaked up as much as I could come across and have been looking forward to this for some time. The excitement level really is only second to that I felt before the release of The Avengers.
I’ve been jazzed about GOTG for the pure idea behind it. I like the concept; I like the promo stuff that’s been released such as the concept art and first line-up image of the “heroes.” The overall idea just sounded fun and exciting, and a great way to open up a new chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s like the Marvel version of Star Wars, a comparison only strengthened by the new trailer. If Star Lord (Chris Pratt, who is going to be cast in every movie soon, I think) isn’t what would happen if you combine the genes of Han Solo and Luke Skywalker, I don’t know what else he is.
The guy oozed Han’s charm and smarm, and there was that hint of a character rising to a higher calling and being the hero like Luke. I see a good arc for Star Lord in the movie. Aside from him, the other characters looked great. Drax the Destroyer seemed like an alien Hulk, Groot appeared to have a sense of humor and some action chops not normally seen in walking, talking trees, Gamora is the hottest green alien since the original Orion slave girl, and Rocket…well, he’s an effing raccoon shooting machine guns. How does that not appeal to the broadest base?
Bringing these and other characters to life in the movie is a cast that even from the trailer is amazing. The aforementioned Chris Pratt (recently voicing Emmett in The Lego Movie), pro wrestler Dave Batista as Drax, Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper voicing Groot and Rocket respectively, and new Uhura Zoe Saldana as Gamora. Lee Pace, Benecio Del Toro (seen during the end credits of Thor: The Dark World), Karen Gillan of Doctor Who fame, John C. Reilly, Glenn Close, and Djimon Hounsou all help to round out the cast.
Helming this orgy of fun and space adventure is James Gunn. Aside from involvement in the appalling live-action Scooby Doo movies, Gunn did have a hand in writing the underrated 2004 Dawn of the Dead, had a gritty, realistic superhero dark comedy in 2010’s Super (which I still haven’t seen- BAD Adam!), wrote the Buffy meets zombies type game Lollipop Chainsaw, and wrote and directed one of the quirkiest, funniest movies I could ever recommend- Slither. Seriously, if you haven’t seen Slither, see it. [He’s also BFF’s with Nathan Fillion, what does that tell you – B.]
One other thing that’s got me excited, as I already mentioned, is how this is going to quite possibly UNLEASH the MCU into awesomeness we didn’t know could be achieved after the awesomeness that has come before it. Looking at all the Marvel Studios movies as a puzzle, this seems as though it could be a pretty ginormous piece, reaping seeds sown long before it. When Thanos made his appearance at the end of The Avengers, nerds assumed he would be the big bad in the sequel. So when Ultron was announced for Avengers 2, it had some people scratching their heads.
It might be safe to assume after what we’ve seen since, that Thanos is going to require more buildup than Phase 2 of the MCU is going to deliver. We’ve since had the introduction of the Infinity Stones (the Infinity Gauntlet having been glimpsed in Thor), two of which have been “collected.” Judging from the GOTG trailer, it looks as though the orb Star Lord is seen trying to abscond with may perhaps be another of the stones. If it’s not, I’m going to go ahead and guess something else in the movie is. If it sounds awesome, and complicated, and intertwined, that’s because it is. It’s the kind of storytelling I live for.
Who do we have to thank for all this? You’ll never guess. Ready for it? THOR. Yup, the god of thunder is responsible for this cosmic goodness. Iron Man and one sentence from Samuel L. Jackson might have jumpstarted Marvel Studios and the interconnecting adventures to follow, but Thor and the intro to Asgard made this outer spacey googly moogly possible. In what is quickly becoming one of the gems of the MCU, the Thor movies brought in the cosmic element, making the character and everything that goes with him a plausible possibility in the realm of Tony, Cap, and the Hulk.
Gone are the superstitions and mythology about the character, explaining his otherworldliness as an alien race with technology that seems mystical to those unacquainted with anything outside of Earth. Beyond the introduction, it was Thor’s mischievous brother Loki who was lost to the realms and allied himself with forces following Thanos. It was Thor’s foe in The Dark World who meant to use an Infinity Stone (the Aether), which was later delivered to The Collector (same as the information that the Tesseract from Avengers was on Asgard), a would be agent of Thanos.
After the most certain turmoil in The Avengers: Age of Ultron (on a reportedly personal, intimate level), the character and situational strides that will undoubtedly occur in the next Captain America, Thor, and Phase 3 movies, we are more than likely going to see a major smack down between heroes, villains, and everyone in between.
So what I’m saying, if I’m saying anything at all, is based on the trailer and all other promotional material thus far, in addition to what it could mean for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, I am looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy like I can’t even believe. Lets just hope it’s more A New Hope than Phantom Menace.
**P.S.- I promise I’ll lay off on the Marvel love fest for a few weeks, until they do something else really cool.**