I finally had a chance to go over Charlie Jane's wonderful article about the forgotten secrets of 80s filmmaking which was was chock full of some great discussion. Even if you only read lightninglouie's insightful bits you can go ahead and give yourself three credits for any institution of higher learning which offers a program in film studies.
But the thing that really smacked me in the face was a very simple entry by Frank Exchange of Views where they attached poster after poster of the delightfully weird and original buffet of genre films that the 80s offered up to us back in the day. Included are Buckaroo Bonzai, Brazil, Blade Runner, Scanners, etc....I will go ahead and include Videodrome as well just out of a personal love for how mental the damn thing is.
The reason these films got made is because nobody really knew what the fuck they were doing. This was the Wild West of genre filmmaking and the inscience in regards to box office success is one of the primary reasons it was such a fecund period. It is all so corporate and slick now, with endless, cynical reboots which inevitably strip mine the creative richness of the 80s, but that period was creative because, while movie making has always been a business and business has always been about making money, the movie makers were not under the pressure to produce monetarily at the level expected of the modern film industry. Because they had more freedom they could take more chances. Chance taking is inherently experimental. And experiments, though some if not most are terrible failures, yield the fresh discoveries that push the way forward. This is just as true of art as it is science.
This is why Guardians of the Galaxy appeals to me so much. It doesn't feel like a sure thing at all. It isn't a reboot or based on a popular novel nor is it some archaic IP weirdly dredged out of the past like Disney's bizarre attempt to make John Carter and The Lone Ranger a thing. It is a relatively new story, known to only a handful of acolytes, and it is decidedly weird looking. At first the oddity of it and my unfamiliarity with the universe it inhabits unfortunately acted as a turn off but, once I saw the trailer, I realized this is the kind of thing that's been sorely missing from the landscape of popular genre movies. It quickly morphed into something I was barely interested in to the very thing I desperately NEED.
Guardians feels like an experiment. It feels like a risk. It is most certainly a gamble...and this is why it should be celebrated.