Dig Baton Rouge

Not of This World

By Bill Arceneaux

Slowly but surely, the Marvel Cinematic Universe – which began with Iron Man – has become a series (I cringe at the mention of “franchise”) as engaging as it is creative. The days of a studio buying the rights to a comic book, rolling out a movie and praying it makes money are… well, not exactly over, but dwindling. Marvel, after years of trial and error, has come up with a comfortable formula for producing some of the best movies and widely compelling stories we’ve seen in a while.

Of course, this doesn’t mean they can just take a break and rest.

Their next installment in the MCU will be Guardians of the Galaxy, coming out this August. To the general public, this is not a title that is recognizable or well known at all. Taking place in the far reaches of space, with the barest of connections to the other MCU films, and featuring a talking/fighting racoon, this project could be a great hit or a horrible miss – I doubt it’ll be in between.

For anyone unsure about this movie, I have compiled a short list of movies that I recommend you hunt down and watch before August rolls around. If I’ve done my job well, you’ll go into Guardians well rounded and well informed:

The Last Starfighter

This is a traditional hero’s journey from the ’80s. A young man, skilled at arcade games and looking for something more in life, is scooped up and sent on an intergalactic mission. Based on what little I know of the lead character in Guardians – Star Lord – this is a perfect recommendation. The tone of the trailer suggests that our hero is a stunted adult of that generation, living his adventurous life based on the VHS sci-fi tapes he viewed on the living room floor.

A sci-fi movie influenced by genre classics, appealing to the very generation its lead belongs to. Wonderful.

Super

The director of Guardians, James Gunn, isn’t a household name (yet), but he’s worked on mainstream films like Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed and the Dawn of the Dead remake. His previous directorial effort was a Louisiana shot gem, about a deranged loner turned vigilante. Super is an example of his storytelling prowess, his understanding of comic book fandom dynamics and incredibly subversive humor. How will a man who wrote and directed a movie about a pipe wrench wielding crazy person take an obscure comic book and make it accessible to mainstream audiences? I don’t know. But, I do know that dirty minds exist at Marvel’s parent company Disney, and if there is anybody wicked and clever enough to be seedy without being R Rated, it’s James Gunn.

Star Wars: Episode 4 – A New Hope (theatrical cut)

The grandfather of modern sci-fi, fantasy, nerd culture, etc – yes, there is a crystal clear Star Wars vibe surrounding Guardians of the Galaxy, and the whole MCU too. While any of the Original Trilogy flicks could fit the bill, it’s A New Hope that does so the best. Both that and Guardians are introductions into a world (and worlds) beyond belief, filled with fantastical characters and even more fantastical environments, and somehow remains emotionally relative. The best scenes that represent the feel I expect from Guardians? Everything in the Mos Eisley Cantina and the final moments of the attempt to destroy the Death Star.

HIGH expectations for this one, folks. HIGH.

If you liked this and other articles from the author, be sure to visit patreon.com/neauxreelidea and connect with him on twitter @neauxreelidea.

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