Star-Lord and Laser-Brain: The Phenomenon of the SF Hero

Devised: 8 & 11 August; Revised: 12 August 2014. Uh, everything’s under control. Situation normal.

prattHAN-SOLO

^ Hmmm, two galaxies appear to be colliding with each other here…

 

“[What we seek in space] is not knowledge, but wonder, beauty, romance, novelty – and above all, adventure”                                  – Arthur C Clarke.  

Somewhere in the far cosmos, a space rogue named Peter Quill aka Star-Lord leads the Guardians of the Galaxy – an unknown and untried band of misfits against the threat of Ronan the Accuser. With a most urgent task thrust upon him, he had to prove his worth as… a hero. After too-long-a-wait, the SF Hero is back on the Big Screen where he belongs.

One of the most popular staples in the science fiction canon, it was only a matter of time before this Blogger – who has created several such far-out heroes throughout the course of his fascinating and frustrating forays into fantastic fiction – weighed in with what the position entailed. In order to concoct the archetypal galactic hero, a code of certain characteristics needs to be adhered to:

  • They must immediately grab the viewer’s attention, either through badass dialogue or some killer moves.
  • They must be dressed in the sort of garb that you would not feel sheepish to don for some heaving comic-con.
  • And they must have ultracool spaceships.
  • And rad blasters.
  • And maybe a furry anthropomorphic accomplice to interact with, especially if the scriptwriter has lost his/her flow in some seedy bar somewhere…
  • Oh, and an Awesome Mix tape ought to be obligatory (you younglings did ask your parents what cassettes were? Sweet!) Moving on…

quill orbstar-lord imagesKC4XP9H4

^ Chris Pratt as Peter Quill/Star-Lord – didn’t take him long to become popular…

 

“Traditionally, SF heroes solved problems by application of intelligence and scientific knowledge. These days you can substitute lasers for scientific knowledge. Or swords” – How To Write a Generic SF Novel.    

Sure, the title: Guardians of the Galaxy didn’t ring any bells, but that space rogue looked familiar…

The name: Star-Lord brought a bright spark of recognition as – once upon a time – he may have occupied my long-gone copious comic-munching days. Peter Quill made his first appearance as Star-Lord in Marvel Previews No. 4 in 1976, but it’s more than likely that a short-lived UK weekly comic in the early 80s by the name of Future Tense is where our paths met, so to speak.      

Reasonably intelligent, this “Star-Lord” seems inclined to just drift around the galaxy, until snatching an orb of great significance changes his fate entirelyIn the comics he looked distinctive, but here in the movie he sports some groovy get-up and a not-so-dorky helmet; and his ship: the Milano has a certain flair about it.

Naturally, a film as fun and frothy as this does not dwell on complexities such as plot and characterization, so his background story is still to unfold. The twist (revealed towards the end of the movie) that Quill is only half-human presents the promising prospect of some intriguing plot developments for the inevitable sequel (provided the right material is handled properly!)

XXX GUARDIANS-GALAXY-MOV-JY-0693.JPG A ENTmillennium falcon

^ Which do you prefer: the Milano, or the Milliennium Falcon?

 

“Hokey religions and ancient weapons are no match for a good blaster at your side, kid” – Han Solo.

Chris Pratt was entertaining as Peter Quill/Star-Lord, but he trails umpteen parsecs behind the definitive space hero –ultimately, Han Solo has become THE iconic figure of SF cinema and deservedly so.

What makes his character so enduring? For one thing, he’s cool, bad… and mad enough to chase a bunch of stormtroopers through their own space station, because – as every seven year old will tell you – a hero gains instant respect if he prefers a straight fight to “all this sneaking around.” He only takes orders from one person (himself) even if he is half-witted.

And never tell him the odds…

Much of this instant appeal was obviously due to the charm and laconic swagger which then-jobbing-joiner Harrison Ford brought to the role. Plus, Han Solo had the Millennium Falcon – one of the most awesome spaceships of all time… and a Walking Carpet as First Mate.

There are certain similarities between these two overwhelmingly popular characters: Star-Lord had to contend with a Raccoon with a penchant for prosthetic legs, and Han had a Wookie with a penchant for pulling peoples arms out of their sockets (only if they lose); while Han had no plan (to rescue the Princess), at least Star-Lord pretended to have a plan (or at least part of one), and so on. And so on…

Ah! but are they worthy?

Well, on paper they sound too dodgy: one’s a thief, the other’s a smuggler. Not so honourable. So why root for them?

They are the antithesis of the more conventional space adventurers such as Flash Gordon (sporting hero) and Buck Rogers (astronaut) but, regardless of background, against all odds, they managed, nevertheless, to (help their friends) save their respective galaxy, defeat the bad guys and, perhaps, get the girl, ultimately ensuring their place in the highest echelons of SF stardom i.e. they would never, ever, get killed off…

star-lord gunhan blaster

Now, who’s scruffy-lookin’?

 

 

Advertisements

9 thoughts on “Star-Lord and Laser-Brain: The Phenomenon of the SF Hero

  1. Great post! Growing up, Han Solo was my favorite movie character. I thought he was the definition of cool (ok, I still do). 😉 guardians of the galaxy was so much fun for me because it reminded me of classic Star Wars. Loved Chris pratt as Peter quill, looking forward to the sequel!

  2. Thank you for stopping by, Ashley! Always appreciated.
    I cld have sworn that Leia was your fave! Anyway, as I have talked about Han here, it’s only fitting that Leia gets a write-up in my next Post!
    Cheers!

  3. Awesome post, I’m really hoping Guardians becomes the next Star Wars, haven’t watched a space film as fun as the original trilogy until now. And what’s so awesome about Guardians is that it’s as if we have five different Han Solo’s in one movie XO

  4. Thanks, Rozeminho!
    The reason GotG has succeeded beyond anyone’s expectations is that it is fun, pure & simple.
    Hopefully, GotG 2 will continue that style and develop the characters further!
    cheers!

  5. Great post. And I do agree with you about the similarities between Star-Lord and Han Solo not the least of which is a healthy dose of self interest. That self interest that gets awful close to selfishness not only provides comic relief it accentuates the actions these men do in the name of saving the world or, at the very least, their friends. I am just hoping against hope that the Guardians sequel is not a steaming pile of horseshit.

  6. Thanks for your Comment, Natalie.
    Chris Pratt puts in a particularly likeable turn, but would Star-Lord have made such an impression if there was no Awesome Mix tape…?
    Thanks for stopping by!
    Cheers!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s