Imagine my excitement! After getting hooked on the Guardians of the Galaxy books in 2008, written by Dan Abnett and Andy Lanning, I have been drooling to see this movie. This was going to be a spectacle of an evening for this father of two who rarely gets out!
After arriving 2 hours early, I found that not only was there no line yet, but the rep from Disney hadn't even shown up (to the theatre manager's surprise). So, it was off to Boston Pizza I went with my friend until 6:30 for the 7PM screening. We arrived to a small line-up of about 40 people where there was a security guard with nothing to do and a rep from the theatre asking us to not keep our IMAX 3D glasses after the show, as they were theatre property.
As you can imagine, this potential spectacle was turning out to be a non-event. I thus turned my excitement to the footage itself. A good choice since there was absolutely zero buzz or build-up on the part of the Disney rep before the footage played. He came out in a horizontal striped polo and pumped us right up!...
"Hey guys, there seems to be some confusion, just to be clear, this isn't the full movie, it's just 17 minutes of footage," he explained/revealed, to a few groans from some people who apparently can't read, "Just turn your phones off or you'll be kicked out. Okay, enjoy!"
If there's one thing the animated villain Megamind could teach Disney, it's presentation!
Anyway, on to the footage!
The footage opened with James Gunn introducing how they ramped up this existing footage exclusively for IMAX. He used a lot of buzz words and this was the closest thing to "ramping us up" as we could get.
We opened immediately with the team captured, the classic footage as John C. Reilly goes through their CV's. Something that stood out to me here that I had never noticed before is that when Groot bends down to get his face on-screen, you see how his body works. There is an internal root and vine system that moves as he bends and twists, really neat.
We then see another familiar scene but with a bit more dialogue. The team is being directed, handcuffed and in a line, to their cells. Star Lord (Peter Quill) can't believe he's going to die next to a tree and a talking raccoon, to which Rocket responds, "What's a raccoon?".
Soon, Peter gets upset at the guy with his walkman (as we've seen in the trailers) and gets stunned. We cut to a scene of them first entering the Kiln prison inmate area (to the tune of "Hooked on a Feeling"). They appear to be very unpopular and Peter gets threatened very quickly. Groot steps in. A large, blue hulk of a baddie gets up in Peter's face and Groot extends his fingers and shoves them up the dude's nostrils, incapacitating him. Rocket pipes up and announces to the entire prison population that if you want to mess with Quill, you go through them (Rocket & Groot), or more specifically, he says, "..we go through you".
Through dialogue, we learn that Gamora is known to most of the inmates who both want to kill and have sex with her.
Drax is seen so far in the background, possibly having appeared in earlier footage as we later learn of a previous conversation he's had with Peter Quill.
The team grab a table in the mess hall(?) and discuss breaking out. Rocket is clearly the brains at this point in the film, taking lead on a plan. He explains that he needs some electronics, including an inmates prosthetic leg, a canister I can't recall where it was originally and a batter pack from the security system sensor. The sensor battery is the most important part and must be retrieved last, or the alarm will sound. Unfortunately, while they were talking, Groot was in the background stealing the battery for his pal, Rocket. The alarm sounds, Rocket face-palms and all Hell breaks loose.
Drax comes into play now as a classic inmate battle sequence breaks out, he beats down inmates and guards alike.
Groot is being shot at by floating security drones and we see his defence powers in action; he can grow vines and bark shields at will as well as taking plenty of direct fire.
Rocket climbs onto Groot's shoulders as Drax beats down a guard and tosses Rocket a gun (where we get the "Oh…yeah" line from the TV trailers).
Start a good 30 seconds of Groot smashing drones and Rocket blowing shit up and screaming while firing somewhat blindly (yet hitting every target).
Gamora is jumping around the second level taking down guards as the team tries to get to the centre control console in the centre of the room at the top of a 40-foot tower.
Peter Quill is tasked with retrieving the prosthetic leg from a fellow inmate. We get a small comedy moment amongst the battle where the two men are in a separate, quiet room and the inmate simply says, "…you want my what"?
Cut back to the action as the rest of the team is fighting off more and more baddies from both sides. Quill turns up with leg in hand and joins in on the action.
Groot raises up tall, tall, tall to reach a 40-foot, second level walkway and the team climb up him.
Drax seems to just be befriending the members at this time and joins the climb.
They all appear at the guard tower door in this shot here we've all now seen:
Once inside and they dispatch the only remaining guard, Rocket immediately starts building something out of the pieces the team got him and the electronics of the console. Peter tosses down the prosthetic leg and Rocket laughs. "I don't actually need that, I just thought it would be funny!"
Peter's pissed, "What!!??"
"Yeah", Rocket finishes, "Now can't you picture him, hopping around everywhere?".
At this point, we've got a pretty good idea of the characters and their priorities. As cartoonish and funny as they play Rocket, he's still the man with the plan and ends up turning the artificial gravity off in the complex.
The guards and inmates all float uselessly and Rocket directs the drones to push the, now floating, top tier of the guard tower out of the mess hall to the nearest exit.
Peter proclaims, "…well…that was a good plan."
The end. We then get a few snippets of footage and an extended trailer before the lights come up and we all exit, leaving our IMAX 3D glasses with the theatre staff, where they belong.
Here is the extended trailer!
I was definitely left with wanting more. The slightly slower pacing at first took a few minutes to get used but once you see the team interact with one another you get a good feel for what the rest of the movie will be: good.
Also, everyone in attendance got this poster:
So? Did anyone reading this also attend the pre-screening? What did you think? If not, what do you think this movie will be? An overhyped disaster or a smash hit?