"Look, if I wanted to watch Spaceballs, I'D WATCH SPACEBALLS!"
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These were just a few of the things overheard after the much anticipated trailer debut of director James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy last night. While fanboys and comic book aficionados 'get it', the general public is non-pulsed. In their eyes, this looks like a campy space movie. And if the second trailer doesn't step it up, it will surely be another flop for Disney on par with John Carter and The Lone Ranger. Right now, we can compare it to the now classic midnight movie staple Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World, which tanked hard but found solid support amongst true believers. While it's viewed as one of the great comic book adaptations of all-time, the general public just didn't get it. After hearing some of the responses last night from 'normal' folks who watched this trailer, the same fate may befall this truly odd Marvel experiment. We all know what happened to Howard the Duck! We've collected the 5 biggest complains about the trailer here. Maybe you agree, maybe you don't. But before you call us out as haters, know we love James Gunn and his past work. And we want to see this movie succeed. We also know a bad trailer when we see one. (The key word here is TRAILER...)
1 The Acting
Love or hate the trailer, we all have to agree on one thing: Djimon Hounsou as Korath the Pursuer is truly awful in this thing. We watched it four times just to make sure, and it got more cringe inducing as we went along. This is heightened, sci-fi acting at its worst, and if you didn't know the man, you'd be surprised to learn he has been nominated for two Best Actor Oscars. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe he doesn't get the material. Or maybe we're not in tune with the tone of the movie just yet. These hammy, Drive-In style theatrics also seemed to plague Benicio Del Toro as The Collector in the footage that was seen at the end of Thor: The Dark World. It looks tailor made for an episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000. Its more Barbarella than anything else. Its pure, unadulterated schlock, which can be a turn off to a mass audience. Then we have Chris Pratt as the lead. We love him on Parks and Recreation and he's always been a fine supporting actor, but the yawny, nonchalant Han Solo type of indifference he plays up in the trailer seems disingenuous. It doesn't lay flat as a natural act. We've only seen two minutes of footage, but so far Peter Quill's cool demeanor seems kind of forced. And is it just us, or do John C. Reilly and Peter Serafinowicz seem oddly out of place. (Noted, the scenes we see here were shot exclusively for Comic Con 2013 and will not be in the finale movie...So all is not lost!)
2 Corny Humor Posing as Edgy Humor
The humor in the Guardians of the Galaxy trailer doesn't seem edgy. It plays at being cornball and juvenile. It reminds me of reading certain comic books in the 80s (like Howard the Duck and Groot), where a middle finger or the word asshole seemed mildly shocking in the pages of a comic book, to a child of that era. But no one else. And certainly not now, in 2014. Here, it all seems rather innocent and very childish. Again, perhaps that's part of the playful tone the movie is going for. And it works for a Disney movie. Very young kids will love it, and maybe that's all that matters. But calling it edgy is weird, especially since this is coming from James Gunn, who gave us Super. He made us fall in love with Boltie, and then he blew her face off in full-view. This is the guy who gave us Slither. After such a stellar resume that includes quite a few surprises, the humor in this first trailer feels like the lowest common denominator. Flipping the bird is old school. Peter Quill is a child of the 80s. And we get it. We just wish this felt more like The Specials and less like Scooby Doo.
3 We Don't Get to Hear Bradley Cooper or Vin Diesel
The one-two combination punch of Groot and Rocket Raccoon is either going to make or break the movie, and its certainly fun watching them in the trailer. But the biggest complaint heard so far is, 'Where's Vin Diesel and Bradley Cooper?" Both have recorded a good portion of their dialogue. Yet we don't get to hear any of it. Guess what? Its all being saved for a later date, as are the first appearances of characters played by Lee Pace and Glenn Close. We've hardly seen anything from the movie yet, so I guess we should calm down. Maybe it will get better. Or...Are we not hearing and seeing these things cause they only add to the schlock value? We'll know by August.
4 Hooked on a Feeling
While not hearing Groot or Rocket in the trailer came as a disappointment, the biggest disagreement amongst fanboys in general was the use of "Hooked on a Feeling" by Blue Swede. Some feel Quentin Tarantino owns this song, or rather his directorial debut Reservoir Dogs does. It played as an important part of that soundtrack, and if you're a fan, it's hard not to associate that particular movie with this 1974 cover. Those on the apposing side of the fence feel that kids (who this movie is aimed at, but come on, we know its aimed at just as many adults) won't have any feelings towards it as a seminial piece of Tarantino's oeuvre. The song also brings back bad memories of Ally McBeal and that horrifying dancing baby. But that's not the biggest complain by purists. Peter Quill is supposed to be a 'child of the 80s', hence his Walkman and mix tape, which includes this song. So why not an actual song 'of the 80s'?
5 Human Actors that Look CGI
The last complaint? If Dave Bautista and Zoe Saldana are human actors wearing make-up why do they look like CGI aliens? Why do they look less human than Groot and Rocket? Well, again, we think its because what we're seeing here is mostly repurposed footage from the Comic Con trailer, and not a representation of the final film itself. We could be wrong...
We know, we know...You love the trailer and the hate should be saved for a movie that really deserves it. As we noted a few times above, the footage seen in this first trailer was all shot within the first two weeks of principle photography with a great big portion of it created solely for Comic Con 2013. The scenes we see now playing out between Peter Serafinowicz and John C. Reilly won't even be in the movie. This is just a way to introduce all of these characters. When the gang goes to prison, they don't even know each other yet, and aren't a fully functioning 'team' of guardians until midway through. Just remember, these are all things we hate, and others hate, about the trailer. In terms of recent Marvel trailers, its not their best work. We're holding out hope that the movie is awesome. Cause, seriously, if we wanted to watch Spaceballs, it's streaming on Netflix right now!