Review Summary: Music to fly your spaceship around and steal ancient interstellar artifacts to.
There's no doubting that Guardians of the Galaxy
is the first truly fun movie you'll see all summer. In a summer where the truly fantastic movies' themes have been the daddy issues and nuclear nightmares of gigantic radioactive dinosaurs, and xenophobia in an planet where humans and apes struggle to coexist, halfway through the summer comes the first film that has been the total escape of the year. Sure, it isn't a perfect movie- there are some issues with pacing, and the villains' dialogue is a tad corny, and some underdeveloped character relationships, but none of that matters when you're having so much fun and reveling in the action, clever dialogue, amazing visuals and in general, the nostalgia that the themes conjure up such as elements of Star Wars
, Indiana Jones
and even The Avengers
. But one thing that is perfect? Its soundtrack. I say without exaggeration that you will walk out with several of its 1970s retro gold tracks in your head. And since I've picked up the soundtrack CD on Friday, I haven't been able to stop listening to it since- it's been on my iPad, my phone, on the way to work during dinner, etc. And I can say that one listen is enough to get this effect going.
Mix tapes play a big part of the film's themes. The protagonist, Peter "Starlord" Quill, has a Walkman he keeps on him as he goes around and steals ancient artifacts from far-off planets- something he's had since he was a kid, and a tape deck on his spaceship. He has his "Awesome Mix Vol. 1" he has had since childhood, and its music, in addition to Tyler Bates' incidental music, is what makes up the heart of the film. And on its own, it's just as great, if maybe even better. The entire album is 12 1970s hits, some you can sing along to by heart, some you forgot even existed, and others you may have never even heard. And it works- the soundtrack isn't just nostalgia for nostalgia's sake. It's music that people of all walks of life will love- in fact, when's the last time you can say you've played tracks like "Hooked on a Feeling" or "Come and Get Your Love" at full blast? That's why the soundtrack works- it's an eclectic mix of classics that's suited for any occasion whatsoever.
In a nice touch, the executive soundtrack producers (director James Gunn, Exec. producer Kevin Feige and Dave Jordan) have re-mastered the tracks in a way to make the tracks sound as if they're being played through an old tape deck, to keep the feel of the tracks. In addition, the track selection is nothing short of perfect. If this were any other film, tracks such as "I Want You Back" or "O-o-h Child" being on the soundtrack would come off as passé, but here, it makes perfect sense, given the film's themes and nostalgic feel. Starting off the tracklist on an energetic note with Blue Swede's cover of "Hooked on a Feeling" and ending with "Ain't No Mountain High Enough", the tracklist is consistent- a rollercoaster of high energy uptempo rockers ("Cherry Bomb", "Spirit in the Sky"), smooth ballads to even things out ("Fooled Around and Fell in Love", "I'm Not in Love"), and funky pop classics ("I Want You Back", "Come and Get My Love"). Every track on the disc is perfectly placed, and not once does the energy come to a stop. In the context of the film, they work equally as fantastic- watching our heroes get ready for war to the sounds of "Cherry Bomb", watching Quill get down and boogie to "Come and Get My Love" over the opening credits, watching Quill fly his way back to his ship in his battle gear to the funky sounds of "Escape (The Piña Colada Song)". What's not to love?
In short, this soundtrack is for everyone. The older crowd will love having a collection of hits to remind them of the good old days of the seventies, the younger crowd can use this to put themselves in their dad's shoes and remember what it was like to be a teenager and be groovin' to tunes like "Hooked on a Feeling" and "Spirit in the Sky". As of writing, this album is currently the highest selling soundtrack of the year, and it's hardly a surprise to me- both in the sense that it's just so fucking good, and in the sense that the day I bought it, I had to go to three stores
just to get it. So, by all means, buy this album. Get out your red leather coat, protective helmet and hook your mini Jetpack to your shoes, rev up your spaceship, fly around and dance around in the vast deserts of interstellar planets to these songs. Go join a group of heroes that includes a bitter and cynical raccoon, a walking tree, an angsty alien and a green warrior woman. Play these songs just to annoy them. Whatever the case, this is an absolute must-buy.