Swiftly following the European premiere of Marvel’s big and ballsy new blockbuster Guardians of the Galaxy, the film’s stars and director were in London to answer some burning questions. Based on an ancient and mostly under-read comic series featuring a talking raccoon, Guardians has been pegged as Marvel’s biggest gamble yet and, despite the tremendous amount of praise the film has generated from early screenings already, the cast weren’t quick to forget it.
Guardians of the Galaxy finds Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), a human thief a long way from Earth, joining a rag-tag team of psychopaths including the deadly assassin Gamora (Zoe Saldana), unhinged maniac Drax (Dave Bautista), tree-like being Groot (Vin Diesel) and sassy talking raccoon Rocket (Bradley Cooper). The group find themselves thrust into the middle of an inter-planetary war after their bounty is seized by an evil world-destroyer known as Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace).
Joining the master craftsman of the film: James Gunn, were stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista and Karen Gillan, all of whom appeared relaxed and jokey with one another, bouncing off of each other’s answers with the sort of effortless chemistry portrayed throughout the movie. It’s no secret that this is an odd mix of actors for a big summer tent-pole movie, but seeing the nerdy delight on each of their faces with every answer it’s clear that these are individuals very much devoted to their cause.
The arguable lead in Guardians, Chris Pratt, was first to talk of how he became involved in the film, still seeming genuinely shocked that he was sat where he was. Pratt continuously mentioned how grateful he was that Marvel and Gunn “took a chance” on him for their lead (having previously mostly played only supporting comedy roles) with Gunn chiming in that he was in fact “perfect” as Star-Lord. It’s moments like this that remind us of just how much of a leap of faith this movie really is.
With a budget nearing $200 million (approximately), Guardians is very much a make-or-break property for Marvel. If it scores big, they have another massive money-making franchise on their hands. If not, the studio’s almost flawless reputation ends up in the toilet. And what better way to ensure the safety of your mega-risky ultra-embracive sci-fi actioner than by hiring cult favourite and gore-fan James Gunn, a man with a sense of humour darker than the deepest reaches of space. But by the looks of things, based on early reviews, the gamble paid off.
“It isn’t all about reviews…” James Gunn started on Instagram the morning of the press conference, “… but this is still nice to wake up to!” read the caption above a picture of Guardians’ current Rotten Tomatoes score; a solid 100%. This explains the relief that could be seen on Gunn’s face as he traipsed through a great deal of the problems he and the crew faced whilst shooting, mostly with getting the look of the characters right. “Green is not a natural colour that looks good on the skin” he stated, alluding to Zoe Saldana’s green-skinned Gamora, carrying on that “it really was a struggle” to get all of the difficult looks of Guardians’ multi-coloured cast right. “And boogers are green.” laughed Saldana as she attempted to add to Gamora’s woes.
Another apparently major element of the film’s tone and style comes from its ‘mix-tape’ soundtrack, a unique blend of classic 70s pop songs Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord keeps as a memory of Earth, all chosen by director James Gunn to “suit specific scenes”. The music seemed to become a labour of love for Gunn and Pratt, who choreographed all of his own dancing for the movie, promising some “classic 80s moves” that definitely point towards a more retro tone for the film as a whole.
After some quick joking about what he hopes will eventually happen when Pratt’s own Star-Lord comes toe-to-toe with Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark in a future Marvel film (hint: it apparently won’t end well for Stark), Gunn and the cast rapped things up by promising some more expository and “badass” deleted scenes beyond the film’s release. Of course reviews can only say so much about a movie, but if the public connect with Guardians of the Galaxy and its stars in the same way the critics have, Marvel are on course for another mega hit.
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), directed by James Gunn, will be released in UK cinemas on 31st July by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Certificate 12A.