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Guardians of the Galaxy

Guardians of the Galaxy

Rated PG-13, 120 min. Directed by James Gunn. Voices by Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper. Starring Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Lee Pace, Karen Gillan, Michael Rooker, Djimon Hounsou, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Glenn Close, Sean Gunn, Peter Serafinowicz.

REVIEWED By Kimberley Jones, Fri., Aug. 1, 2014

Memorable plots – or heck, even coherent ones – have never been a priority of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. They’re typically hung on some gobbledygook idea, a meaningless MacGuffin dressed up in a solemn-sounding name – the Aether! the Tesseract! – and this latest Marvel movie is no different. It’s literally about chasing a ball around the galaxy. (Sorry – make that “infinity stone.”) It’s so rudimentary, it’s genius.

The opening creaks, but once all the characters are introduced, Guardians of the Galaxy clicks into place. As the wisecracking space outlaw Peter “Starlord” Quill, Chris Pratt takes a page from two iconic Harrison Ford roles – Han Solo and Indiana Jones – and presses it lovingly into a fart joke book. Once Quill takes possession of the infinity stone, an ad-hoc gang comes together. There’s Gamora (Saldana), a green-skinned professional assassin; the vengeful Drax the Destroyer (Bautista); Rocket Raccoon, a mutant and mercenary (voiced by Cooper); and Groot, a sweet-tempered, sentient tree (voiced by Diesel). Groot and Rocket were crafted from motion-capture CGI and spot-on voice-work, but they never feel unreal. Overall, the effects work is outstanding – not least of which is the use of painterly backdrops (one calls to mind an architect’s rendering of midcentury Tomorrowland) – and the 3-D justifies itself with a stunning depth of field.

Guardians of the Galaxy is an outlier: a space opera in a largely earthbound movie cycle (excepting the occasional red-eye to another dimension in the Thor pictures), candy-colored and bopping where the other Marvel movies are muted and imposing, and the funniest one to date, without a doubt. James Gunn, who previously directed cult faves like Slither and Super (a noble failure) and co-wrote the script with Nicole Perlman, was an inspired choice to adapt these lesser-known, misfit, comic-book characters for the screen. His pledge to irreverence and his uplift of the everyman (not superman) with an earnest drive to do the right thing is just the kind of goosing the increasingly wearying Marvel movies need. You can have the Avengers’ supergroup of professional heroes and egos: I prefer the Guardians’ garage band – rowdy and rough-edged and a real family.


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Cinemark Movies 8 Round Rock

2120 N. Mays, Round Rock  512/388-2848

Discounts daily before 5pm.

WED DEC 17

3-D: 7:15
digital: 1:15, 4:15, 10:10

THU DEC 18

3-D: 7:15
digital: 1:15, 4:15, 10:10

FRI DEC 19

3-D: 1:15, 7:05
digital: 10:30am, 4:15, 10:00, 11:00

SAT DEC 20

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digital: 10:30am, 4:15, 10:00, 11:00

SUN DEC 21

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digital: 10:30am, 4:15, 10:00

MON DEC 22

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digital: 10:30am, 4:15, 10:00

TUE DEC 23

3-D: 1:15, 7:05
digital: 10:30am, 4:15, 10:00

Showplace 3 San Marcos

301 N L B J Dr, San Marcos  512/392-7222

WED DEC 17

6:45

THU DEC 18

6:45

Southwest Theaters at Lake Creek 7

13729 Research Blvd, Suite 1500  512/291-3158

www.southwesttheaters.com

matinees $2, 6pm and after $3, $1.50 extra for 3-D

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11:00am, 1:50, 4:40, 7:30, 10:20

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MON DEC 22

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TUE DEC 23

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WED DEC 24

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