Hello, there! My name is Preston Barta, and I am the features editor of Fresh Fiction and senior film critic at the Denton Record-Chronicle. My cinematic love story began where I was born: off planet on the isolated desert world of the Jakku system. It's there I passed the time scavenging for loose parts with my good friend Rey. One day I found an old film projector and a dusty reel of the 1975 film JAWS. It rocked my world so much that I left my kinfolk in the rearview (I so miss their morning cups of green milk) to pursue my dreams of writing about film. It wasn't long until I met two gents who said they would give me a lift. I can't recall their names, but one was an older man who liked to point a lot and the other was a tall, hairy fella. They got me as far as one of Jupiter's moons where we crossed paths with the U.S.S. Enterprise. Some pointy-eared bastard said I was clear to come aboard. He saw that I was clutching my beloved shark movie and invited me to the "moving pictures room" where he was screening the 1993 film JURASSIC PARK to his crew. He said my life would be much more prosperous if I were familiar with more work by the god named Steven Spielberg. From there, my love for cinema blossomed. Once we reached planet Earth, everything changed. I found the small town of Denton, TX, and was welcomed into the Barta family. They showed me the writings of local film critic Boo Allen. He became my hero and caused me to chase a degree in film and journalism. After my studies at graduate of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, I met some film critics who showed me the ropes and got me into my first press screening: 2011's THE GREEN LANTERN. Don't worry; I recovered just fine. MAD MAX: FURY ROAD was only four years away.
Preston Barta // Film Critic
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY | Rated PG-13 | Director: James Gunn | Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro and Glenn Close
One could reason that THE AVENGERS and X2 are the greatest Marvel movies around. With their wit, exciting characters and explosive action, they have cemented themselves into superhero movie greatness. Another feature to add to the mix is James Gunn‘s equally as impressive GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY. It’s a visual feast spiced with non-stop humor, bada*sery and fun.
The story follows Peter Quill (an excellent Chris Pratt), who, after stealing a mysterious orb in the far stretches of space, is now the primary target of a manhunt led by Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace). To help fight Ronan, Quill (otherwise known as Star Lord) creates a team known as “Guardians of the Galaxy” to save the universe.
First, we have to talk about James Gunn, who does wonders to this film’s script by not forcing dialogue. Everything feels natural and believable in such a world. The interaction between the characters is much more organic than one would have ever anticipated. He took what appears to be a very silly premise, with silly looking characters and made it completely work. You can tell he not only did his homework, but he really cares deeply for the material, and his passion definitely shows on-screen, like Joss Whedon with THE AVENGERS.
The best thing about these characters is that they are not twenty-something terrible actors who were opted for on-screen eye candy. Chris Pratt and his acting gang all do a fine job of bringing these characters to life, and their chemistry is infectious. Put together, they are an unstoppable force, especially with the scene-stealing Bradley Cooper (as Rocket) and Vin Diesel (as Groot). Everyone is given great moments to shine, which makes it a far more balanced film than we usually get in superhero flicks.
However, the heroes wouldn’t be as impressive if they weren’t made up by an equally memorable villain. You would think the part of the villain would be a difficult one to play being opposite such powerful personalities and strong characters, but Lee Pace does an outstanding job. His performance as Ronan the Accuser should not go unnoticed.
Bottom line, GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY is one of the few gems that shine in sea of weak summer blockbusters. It’s the funniest (and weirdest) Marvel movie yet. Gunn brings the guns, and his cast deliver an entertaining space adventure worth your time and money. Watch out, Whedon and J.J. Abrams.
GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY opens tonight at 7 p.m. in 2D and 3D.