Guardians of the Galaxy is fast, fun, funny, original — kind of — and is certainly the most fun you will have in a theater this year. That applies to any year for that matter.
Pick any adjective describing fun, and it pretty much fits.
The plot isn't that complicated. Set in space in the near future, Chris Pratt's (TV's Parks and Recreation and Her ) Peter Quill is an outlaw who steals a mysterious orb from the ruins of a long gone civilization. He double-crosses his partner, who is the alien who kidnapped him from Earth as a child and decides to sell the orb to the highest bidder.
Enter the villainous Ronan. He wants the orb because its power will let him rule the galaxy. Ronan also wants to take revenge on an enemy race, and the first way he'll use the orb is to destroy their planet.
The nasty dispositioned Ronan sends Zoe Saldana's ( Star Trek, Avatar ) Gamora to retrieve the orb from Quill. Gamora has the butt-kicking skills to get the job done. She also hates Ronan and does her own version of a double-cross and teams with Quill. They're joined by the child-sized raccoon Rocket -- voiced by Bradley Cooper -- and his pal the tree-like Groot, played by Vin Diesel. The last member of the team is pro wrestler Dave Bautista, whose Drax wants to kill Ronan for murdering his family.
The credit for the fun goes to writer/director James Gunn who wrote 2004's Dawn of the Dead and helped do Scooby Doo in 2002. He teams with co-writer Nicole Perlman, who pens her first screenplay. Their movie is based on the popular Marvel comic book series.
They pack it with action, wonderfully funny comedy and odd-ball characters.
Gunn does a great job with the special effects. And he paces Guardians at breakneck speed.
The fun starts at the launch pad and ends with you wanting more. And you'll get it in the sequel in July 2017. Nooooo. Do we really have to wait that long?
Pratt's space movie hero is the most fun since Harrison Ford donned the garb of Hans Solo and saved the empire. He's perfect as the movie's focal character and the group leader. Pratt has a natural, bad boy swagger. He's also -- like Ford -- a brilliant comedian with impeccable timing.
A superb supporting cast helps Pratt. The chemistry is obvious, and these actors have a blast doing this movie and probably as much or more fun than you'll have seeing it.
By the way: The most fun of all is Diesel's Groot, who has a few well-placed but hysterically funny lines.
A friend asked if he could take a 6-year-old boy to the PG-13 rated film. Absolutely. Don't let the rating intimidate you. It's one of those rare movies that has the potential to end up with the legendary status of Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Kids of any age will love this one. It's the most fun anyone can have in this or any galaxy.
Director: James Gunn
Stars: Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista, John C. Reilly, Benicio Del Toro, Lee Pace, Djimon Hounsou, Glenn Close, Stan Lee
Mr. Movie rating: 5 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes and some violence and language. It's playing at Regal's Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it's your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don't bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.