If I’m honest, this is what I want to see in an action movie released during a pandemic: hideous man-eating extraterrestrials, gunfire, explosions, a plot with holes so big you can drive trucks through … and Chris Pratt.
The premise is somewhat familiar, though it does take it in a slightly unexpected direction: present-day humans are recruited and transported (in bigly numbers) to fight a war some thirty years into the future. Service is compulsory, but all they have to do is fight and survive for seven days, then they’re done and beamed back home. For the folk who’d never seen combat before, seven days didn’t sound like the end of the world … until they saw what they were up against. If you’re a fan of Independence Day then this’ll be right up your street: great adult-ish entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously.
You know what it’s like. Marvel Comics hands you one of the their B-teams and tells you to go make a movie. It’s a surprise smash, and now they want a sequel…
This is often where the trouble starts, and that’s why I can count on one hand the number of sequels that are better than the original. Fortunately, the director of Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t get a god complex and jet off on a wild tangent to find his artistic centre; nope, he looked carefully at what made his first outing such a huge success and then delivered exactly the same … only more so.
I was in two minds about seeing this because I wasn’t sure it was going to be my sort of thing. Had a spare evening though, so I thought why not? The good news is that I wasn’t all that disappointed. Yup, it’s an okay film.
Travelling in a huge starship on his way to a new home and a new life, one passenger (played by Chris Pratt) finds himself awoken ninety years too early by a ship malfunction. Another passenger (Jennifer Lawrence) is also woken up, and so the two of them, alone, falling in love, and in a race against time to repair the ship and save the lives of the other five thousand sleeping passengers.
Okay, that’s the plot; sounds simple, but I can’t say too much else without giving the whole thing away. Chris Pratt, in a rare non-comedy role is surprisingly good as the distressed mechanic, and Jennifer Lawrence is… well, surprisingly passable as an even-more distressed writer (trust me, she has good reason) facing a life of total isolation. Both of them, however, were in danger of being outclassed by Michael Sheen, even though he was playing an android bartender with a very limited AI and oddly narrow range of movement.
The design of the ship (inside and out) was simply stunning, and the special effects were top notch. I liked the film a lot, but perhaps not as much as I wanted to. Unfortunately, to tell you why I’m going to have to spoil it for you, so do not read any further if you haven’t seen it yet!