You’ve heard about that new movie that just opened in theaters this weekend, right? The one where Chris Pratt from Parks & Rec uses those hunky new abs he began sculpting for Zero Dark Thirty and puts them toward attaining leading-man status? And we meet the best CG characters since Caesar and Gollum? And there are about forty other characters you get to meet from the deepest corners of the Marvel universe?
If you believe 25% of my site traffic over the past two days, that movie is called…
Rise of the Guardians!
On a related note, 25% of my site traffic is wrong. Rise was a Dreamworks Animated joint that I reviewed when it was released back in November 2012. It was okay, not great, and certainly not urging the world to learn more about it this weekend. And yet, I’ve had a plethora of visitors convinced otherwise, through no conscious suckering on my own part.
If you can’t tell one astronomy concept from another, you might also have thought this weekend’s #1 movie was…
Guardians of the Universe!
But no, those Guardians are the little blue men in charge of the Green Lantern Corps, which you might remember from that one Ryan Reynolds film —
WAIT! NO! COME BACK! DON’T GO! PLEASE DON’T CLOSE YOUR BROWSER! I promise I’ll stop talking about it now, honest.
Marvel’s newest sensations are also not called…
The Global Guardians!
These folks were imaginative but forgettable third-stringers, occupying the same DC Comics universe as those other Short Guys Who Must Not Be Named. They came from all over the world to unite, network, and fight evil on behalf of their homelands, but they never left Earth and they never had their own series. The #1 movie in America this weekend is a bit broader in scope.
And just to be clear, they’re no relation to…
Guardians of the Globe!
…who are the Image Comics version of pretty much the same concept, but they’ve had their own series and they were co-created by Robert Kirkman, mastermind of The Walking Dead. In that sense and numerous others the Guardians of the Globe trump the Global Guardians, but they’re not completely the same thing. They’re only mostly the same thing.
You’ll also note the movie with the highest August opening in American box office history does not star…
The Guardian of Forever!
…although one has to wonder why this fondly remembered, sentient space-time gateway has yet to pop up in the big-screen Star Trek reboots. Maybe in the third one? If nothing else, somewhere out there should be a fanfic writer who’s pitted the Guardian against the TARDIS for the benefit of a rousing Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover. If it hasn’t happened, hundreds of you should get on that.
And please take heed: if it’s all-CG “guardians” you’re seeking, think twice before flocking toward…
Legends of the Guardians: the Owls of Ga’Hoole!
These are OWLS. Do you remember any recent commercials with owls in them? Yes, they’re cool-looking owls, and yeah, this is arguably one of director Zack Snyder’s best films, and for the record my son can tell you one hundred ways Snyder’s team failed at adapting the original “Guardians of Ga’Hoole” book series, but they’re not the obscure, scruffy, wild-mannered, ragtag team you should have in mind.
You’ll know you went thousands of miles off the right path if you visit your local Family Video and come home with…
Here, I’m cautioning you about more than just confusing your nondescript titles. I’m just saying that Ashton Kutcher dramas in general are a losing proposition.
Speaking of titles that mean next to nothing, here’s some practical advice about …
Defenders of the Earth!
Maybe including this one seems far-fetched to you. True story, though: when I arrived at work Friday morning, even before I clocked in, a coworker ran up to me and asked what I thought of that new film “Defenders of the Universe”. I gave him the blankest of blank looks until my coffee woke up the decoder side of my brain and helped me figure out what he was trying to ask.
I’m sure he’s not alone in accidentally making up his own misnomer. If other well-meaning folks are likewise half-listening to the TV ads and coming away with “Defenders of the Universe”, it’s not much more of a stretch to imagine them instead coming up with Defenders of the Earth, a short-lived ’80s attempt to reboot Flash Gordon, the Phantom, and Mandrake the Magician as a globetrotting, post-comic-strip supergroup. Following that short trail off the pop-culture roadway will lead to a very abrupt and desolate dead end.
No, gentle readers who have no use for sorting adjectives or celestial body types, the new biggest film of the summer is called…
Guardians of the Galaxy!
It even comes with a built-in mnemonic device: the first and last words both begin with G. And neither of them contain “globe”. No rising, no defending, no Earth, no owls, no Costner.
GUARDIANS. of the. GALAXY.
Hope that helps. Go forth, buy tickets accordingly, and stop confusing Fandango’s search widget with your creative, desperate, near-miss guesses.
Due to family scheduling priorities, I regret I won’t be seeing GotG till next weekend. When that time arrives, if I walk into the theater and the first scene I see is Ryan Reynolds sputtering nonsense at some defenseless lady trapped in his Oscar Madison bungalow, the projectionist and I are gonna have words.