About Telltale’s Guardians Of The Galaxy

We’ve heard a near ungodly amount of news regarding the impending Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. There are like a dozen post-credits scenes and writer/director James Gunn will continue for another 20 sequels. Or something. But what about Telltale’s take on the franchise. What about Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series?

Upfront, it sounds like the perfect marriage betwixt material and developer. These interstellar misfits were made for episodic content, freely flowing between sitcom-style predicaments and action-oriented cliffhangers. And with the guiding hand of a seasoned storyteller like Telltale, we can expect some rock solid drama to boot.

And it gets there. Sort of. The biggest problem it has is a lack of confidence. It doesn’t really know if it wants to be its own thing or something closer to the MCU version or a more strict interpretation of the comics. That identity crisis creates an often shaky and only occasionally intriguing story.

Technically, it should be based on the comic series, but there are distinct elements that muddle the delineation between that foundation and the movies. Characters look far closer to their Hollywood counterparts than those of the page, for instance. (Star-Lord is an especially noteworthy departure.) And the deeply infused musical schtick of being named after a Bob Dylan song and featuring silly moments to the tune of The Buzzcocks and Hall & Oates.

Given the massive success of the film, it’s not all that surprising that these inspired bits work the best. Running up a close second, however, is when the game chooses to eschew the silver screen entirely and do something different. Throwing Thanos (yes, the Big Bad of the entire MCU) immediately at the gang and making him, more or less, the genesis of the broader story is attention-grabbing and fantastic.

It puts upfront the drama that unfolds by putting this group of loosely tethered semi-heroes together. Each one has individual gripes, and those laundry lists of personal grievances shift into an albatross around each person’s neck. This is where the episode really shines in terms of storytelling. It lays out separate stakes and motivations naturally and clearly, propping up the rest of the season as well as this diminutive arc.

Guardians of the Galaxy: The Telltale Series

The problem is it is an interminable slog to get there. Walking between crew members just to initiate conversations is exhausting, let alone the entire preamble where a protracted investigation and exciting-turned-tepid showdown feel perfunctory—strangely punitive at times, in fact. It’s something Telltale has struggled with for almost its entire existence. When does its desire to make games get in the way of telling a story?

This is especially true of those classic Telltale moments when you see that someone will remember that. There’s a moment when you have to choose between two bickering teammates, but the choice doesn’t make a lot of sense. Any reasonable person would see that addressing either individual would be a losing proposition. It feels forced in a way that is entirely unpleasant.

And that’s a serious shame because there’s a lot of meat on these bones. These characters are way different from their innately charming MCU iterations, but Telltale found a way to make them relatable and likable quickly and effectively. And seeing their threads pull away from each other is almost inexplicably heartbreaking, pushing the momentum forward into the next episode. Whether or not that carries into the rest of the season, we’ll just have to wait and see.

The Year In Review: #9 Halo 5: Guardians

Sure, sequels are hard, but they’re made even more difficult when you have to follow what was the dramatic climax and culmination of a then 11-year-old franchise. Halo 4, despite the nonsensical nature of the ending, managed to imbue genuine emotion into a relationship between what many originally thought was a robot and what mostly is a robot when she’s controlling machinery.

That challenge, though, is actually what makes Halo 5: Guardians all the better because rather than try clear to that high narrative bar, it instead chose to go around it. Or maybe it did try and just failed, resulting in a “baffling, meandering, predictable, somewhat dull story,” but the point is that the gameplay in Guardians is the best it has ever been.

And standing against some of the most fun and best shooting and driving in the industry, that’s saying a lot. Consider that Halo not only revolutionized the shooter space with its limited armaments and more intuitive stick-based driving but also introduced the idea of orchestrating large, strangely operatic battle sequences.

“Orchestrating.” “Operatic.” These are very deliberate word choices for describing the series because not only is Marty O’Donnell’s iconic musical score integral to the success of the games but there is a rhythm to the combat of Halo that is indelible to the minds of anyone who has played the games, owed in part to each encounter’s design but also the artificial intelligence, or AI. There’s a reason why there has been so much written about the game’s enemies.

But we already know about that flow, that cadence. We already know how battles are crafted around the idea of moving to a beat. Shoot a guy here, dump this gun for this other gun, spin around to toss a grenade, pick up a sword and dice a few fools, all before making it to the Wraith tank and blowing it up. That’s a done deal and surely you’re tired of hearing about it like how a college student is tired of hearing about their bank account being overdrawn.

What needs to be highlighted here is how many fresh ideas Guardians manages to inject into that formula and not only keep that nearly indescribable quality up but also improve on it. Of course, Halo has been expanding on Spartan abilities since forever. From dual wielding to armor abilities, Bungie and 343 Industries have slowly been taking Master Chief and his cohorts from extraordinarily tough jarheads to relative demigods.

Halo 5: Guardians

Guardians, however, has had the most impactful expansion yet, partly in due to its brush-up against some more modern sensibilities; sprinting and iron sights are just there. But even these were smartly integrated, being that sprinting is also a gateway to more abilities and smart-linking—the idiomatic term for scoped aiming—doesn’t actually improve accuracy. (Well, it does, kind of, but only with unwieldy things like the SMG.)

While the indistinguishable difference in precision is vital for maintaining Halo‘s freedom of and impetus for mobility, the increased ability to get from place to place has opened up a whole new range of options when fighting. Sprint to shoulder charge and then thrust dodge off the edge to the right before hovering with smart-link to get a few headshots, all just to ground pound the fuck out of the clueless Grunts below.

Rather than becoming more like every other shooter (read: Call of Duty: Black Ops III and Titanfall) by integrating these commonalities, Guardians has actually made itself stand out even further. That rhythm has learned new meters and measures, offering not only more of the best but new facets of the best. It’s not just a new chapter. It’s a whole new god damn book.

Dragon Models 1/9 Guardians of The Galaxy – Star Lord Model Building Kit

The Marvel Super Heroes Vignette line-up from Dragon features blockbuster characters in 1/9 scale. Each highly detailed and accurate figure is pre-painted and separated into just a few parts. This means collectors and modelers can rapidly complete the plug and display process. The figures are accurately colored and textured to movie likeness in a dynamic Marvel approved pose on a diorama base.

Product Features

  • Engineered for modeling enjoyment
  • Plastic parts with enhanced detail
  • Unprecedented value
  • Ready for immediate assembly!
  • Paint & glue required, not included

Reblogged 3 years ago from www.amazon.com

Marvel Guardians of The Galaxy Star-Lord Figure, 6-Inch

With the universe in peril, interstellar adventurer Peter Quill (a.k.a. Star-Lord) assembles a ragtag team of cosmic misfits to defend it: the Guardians of the Galaxy! The Guardians of the Galaxy need all the help they can get to save the cosmos from destruction and this is your chance to build them a mighty ally! This 6-inch Star-Lord figure looks just like Peter Quill and he’s ready for battle with a weapon in each hand. But he also comes with the left arm part you need to build the plant-humanoid warrior Groot! Collect all 6 parts (other figures sold separately) and complete the hero’s body! Then send your Star-Lord and other figures (sold separately) into battle at his side. The action is epic when you build your own Groot figure! Marvel products are produced by Hasbro under license from Marvel Characters B.V.

Product Features

  • Awesome Star-Lord figure
  • Comes with left arm part to build a Groot figure
  • Includes 2 weapons
  • Other figures – sold separately – come with other Groot parts
  • Collect the entire Groot series – other figures sold separately

Reblogged 3 years ago from www.amazon.com

Guardians Of The Galaxy Review: Blasting Off

Sometimes it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that leisure was originally a source for fun. Movies, music, and the like evolved from singular instances of encapsulated jollies to include the potential for wreaking emotional havoc. It’s nice, though, to remember what it’s like to watch something like Buster Keaton in The General and just smile. And for that, we have Guardians of the Galaxy, an impossibly electric and exciting film bringing irreverence to the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Based mostly on the 2008 revival of a long forgotten Marvel team from 1969, Guardians of the Galaxy finds Peter “Star-Lord” Quill (Chris Pratt) leading a ragtag and unexpected team of heroes in stopping a potentially universe-ending threat. This includes Gamora (Zoe Saldana), a cybernetically augmented assassin; Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista), a hulking and literally-minded warrior; Rocket Raccoon (Bradley Cooper), a genetically enhanced and massively intelligent raccoon; and Groot (Vin Diesel), a living tree who acts mostly as Rocket’s muscle.

Much of this movie’s success lies in its seemingly effortless but impressive pairings. Pratt as Quill is pitch-perfect, channeling some amount of his blissfully ignorant Andy Dwyer from Parks and Recreation but also flexing (literally, in one instance) his ability to spout verbal jackassery and physical intimidation. The character itself is one trapped in perpetual adolescence given his abduction from Earth as a child, playing towards Pratt’s ability to play immature exceedingly well.

Not enough can be said about how well Diesel and Cooper bring wholly digital characters to life. Especially in the case of Groot, Diesel only had three words to work with, and even then, they only were said in a single order of “I am Groot,” but he consistently found ways to grumble them out with unexpected heart. And Cooper, with his vocal flair for speed and confidence, finds a familiar home in the fast- and dirty-talking Rocket who often sees himself bigger than he actually is.

The overseer of the project, however, is perhaps the most incredibly magnetic pairing. There is rarely such a flawless match between writer/director and his project, but James Gunn fills the Guardians space almost perfectly. His past endeavors have always favored irreverence and self-awareness over attempts to find constant emotional resonance with the audience (though he has a knack for picking that up, too, if given the opportunity).

Most relevant to this penchant is the core conceit of the movie, which is to say it’s about its reluctant heroes rather than the overarching drama. The film’s actual story is a sizable one, spanning the entirety of a galaxy as Quill steals a mysterious orb from the planet Morag (intending to betray his Ravagers clan of miscreant treasure hunters), learns the universal implications of letting its contents fall into the wrong hands, and lashes together a team of unlikely friends and fighters into risking their lives to end the threat imposed by Ronan the Accuser.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Quill even acknowledges that the impetus provided by the orb and its hidden Infinity Gem is rather inconsequential, likening it to the Maltese Falcon, one of the most iconic examples of a MacGuffin. What’s more pertinent is the growth of these five characters as individuals into a single, cohesive unit. And that is the most fitting aspect of Gunn’s directorial abilities. Having more recently focused on character-driven experiments with biting, meta, and funny dialogue, it makes sense his tendencies play into the disadvantages of doing what The Avengers did with an overflowing cast but without preceding, individual movies delving more meaningfully into each character’s backstory.

That’s not to say, however, that each character doesn’t have his or her own moment. With surprising moments of intense poignancy, we are treated to brief interludes of emotional showcases. There’s a scene with Rocket that you learn he’s not just a happy-go-lucky, inexplicably dickish space raccoon that unexpectedly grabs you by the whole of your heart and squeezes it to a pulp. Drax, while ceaselessly lamenting his need and reason for vengeance, even finds time to impart the pathos in one scene rather than spout cold prose.

It’s unfortunate, though, that this also proves to be a weakness of the film. While the contrast makes these moments hit hard and stand apart as relative paragons of character intimacy, the other moments feels incredibly one-note. It largely stems from the fact that this serves as a broad and shallow origin story for several characters that each have tomes of comic history but only have a fraction of a two-hour movie here. Like, we get it. Groot is a sweetheart and everyone else is pretty much dicks.

Guardians of the Galaxy

This makes the side characters more apparent as wasted focus. While the actors behind them do well to excel with what they’re given, the characters are almost irresponsibly given time to shine (well, maybe more like mildly shimmer). Corpsman Rhomann Dey (John C. Reilly) and Nova Prime Irani Rael (Glenn Close) are given a bit too much import when more time could have been spent on the collective Guardians.

But even in their moments and just about every other moment in the movie, there are laughs to be had. This is a genuinely funny film. The hits hit hard and the misses rarely feel less than casual grazes of smirk-inducing interactions. A large portion of this can be attributed to the writing, of course, but the acting really delivers it all with aplomb.

Laughs thrown your way from Pratt and Reilly are familiar and expected (though still and always appreciated), but Bautista might find himself with more acting opportunities after this. His comic timing as Drax is impressive since the deadpan of his literal interpretations and social ineptitudes requires a substantial understanding of what makes this sort of humor funny, but he does it. And it is greatly appreciated it.

Guardians of the Galaxy

While not something I necessarily minded, I do fear some of the jokes were a bit too “in.” The movie references were heavy and heavily 80s-based. Marvel references were even more obscure than the heroes of the film itself, leaving half of the theatre laughing and the other half awkwardly trying to decipher what just happened. Some of that is a strength of the movie, leaving it to the intelligence of the audience to figure out what the Nova Corps and how the gem fits into the grand scheme of Marvel’s cinematic goals, but other times it feels irresponsibly referential.

Something everyone can appreciate, however, is how great the movie looks. It was nice to see hugely personal interactions take place in grandiose, oversized backdrops including the decapitated head of a former Celestial and the eye-watering lattice of Nova Corps members halting impending doom. And that’s not to mention how well the wholly digital characters of Rocket and Groot look, conveying tangible emotions with virtual facades, and that’s in addition to the action being shot and shown intelligibly and impactfully.

Even with its rough, predictable edges, it’s hard to hold any of them against Guardians of the Galaxy. So much of what it attempts, it sticks the landing. It’s immensely funny and fun and takes you on one hell of a ride, ignoring its own faults for the hope that you won’t remember them any longer than it dwells on them. For a good time, call Guardians of the Galaxy.

Guardians of the Galaxy

+ Pitch-perfect pairings between director and subject as well as actors and characters
+ Intensely personal and poignant moments find their time to shine
+ Genuinely funny dialogue and character interactions are found from beginning to end
+ Acting across the board is impressive
– Aside from glimpses of depth, characters end up being one-dimensional

Final Score: 9 out of 10

Reblogged 3 years ago from feedproxy.google.com

Marvel Guardians of The Galaxy Star-Lord Battle Gear Set

Lead the battle against interstellar evil with this awesome Star-Lord Battle Gear set! You’ll feel like the leader of the Guardians of the Galaxy when you pull on your Star-Lord Hero Mask and load up your mini blaster with the included dart. Hit targets up to 40 feet away as you defend the cosmos against the forces of evil! Will any enemy stand against you? Not when you have the Star-Lord Battle Gear set! Marvel products are produced by Hasbro under license from Marvel Characters B.V.

Product Features

  • Take on the identity of Star-Lord with the Star-Lord Battle Gear set
  • Hero Mask makes you feel like Star-Lord
  • Mini Blaster looks like Star-Lord’s weapon
  • Fires included dart up to 40 feet
  • Includes mask, mini blaster and dart

Reblogged 3 years ago from www.amazon.com

Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy – LEGO Time-lapse of Rocket and Groot Statues

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akk1SA6TZcg

Watch 300 hours and 80 builders come together to build the Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” statues that were on display at San Diego Comic-Con 2014 and the film’s London premiere! Get your…

Reblogged 3 years ago from www.youtube.com

Guardians of the Galaxy Minimates to land at Toys ‘R’ Us and select retailers

Guardians of the Galaxy is theaters now and collectibles are popping up all over. A Toys “R” Us exclusive Minimates configuration currently available for order and it will be followed by some comic/specialty shop exclusives which release later this month.

While both the Toys “R” Us and comic shop configurations will feature Starlord, Groot, Rocket Raccoon (as a mini figure), Drax, Ronan, and a Sakaaran Trooper in their 2-packs, Toys “R” is billed as exclusively carrying Yondu. The specialty packs will exclusively feature Gamora, a Nova Corpsman, and Nebula.

The 2-packs are currently available via Toys “R” Us for US$7.50 each while you can order all four 2-packs at Entertainment Earth for US$30.

[ Order at Toys “R” Us / Pre-order at Entertainment Earth ]

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Reblogged 3 years ago from www.tomopop.com