It may be set in the Marvel universe, but Guardians of the Galaxy looks to be very much in the tradition of the Star Wars movies, especially the first one. It’s a big, crazy, colorful adventure full of wild aliens that pits a group of underdogs against a powerful enemy that outmatches them in just about every obvious way. Moreover, Guardians clearly realizes that the rogue-ish Han Solo was one of the best parts of Lucas’ movies, so it gives us an entire crew of Han-like reluctant heroes and skips the wide-eyed Jedi farmboy entirely. Instead — as the Guardians trailers keep reminding us — we get a thief, two thugs, an assassin, and a maniac, all tasked with, well, guarding the galaxy, even if only because it’s the place where they keep all their stuff. But how well would the tone and feel of Guardians line up with those other Star Wars movies? You know, the ones with the pod racing and the Gungans and the speeches about sand?
Last week we shared a clever new mash-up from YouTube wizard The Usual Suspect, who has made a name for himself by doing things like taking Pacific Rim or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. and creating alternate “opening credits sequences” to the tune of various Power Rangers theme songs. This time he had taken the most recent full Guardians of the Galaxy trailer — the one that added Norman Greenbaum’s “Spirit in the Sky” to Peter Quill’s Walkman playlist — and cut together footage from the original Star Wars trilogy to give us a rather brilliant hybrid. It became a huge online hit, so naturally it wasn’t long before folks started pestering The Usual Suspect to do the same thing with the prequels. Does it work as well? Check it out for yourself up top if you haven’t yet, but here’s a spoiler: the answer is no.
It shouldn’t be surprising, really. The Guardians trailers work as well as they do because they’re funny and self-deprecating but also somehow effortlessly cool, floating along on the sheer charisma of the cast and director James Gunn’s talent for cooking up crazy-looking corners of the Marvel universe we would love to visit. On the other hand, the Star Wars prequels are plodding and hamfisted and manage to drain every bit of charm out of their mostly talented cast. I’m sure George Lucas would have loved Obi-Wan and Anakin to be as charming and likable as Chris Pratt’s Quill — hell, he may have even thought he’d succeeded — but instead the prequels came off like a terminally uncool middle schooler trying to write dialogue for James Dean. That’s painfully apparent in this mash-up. The Usual Suspect gives it his best, and he actually does manage to find the odd genuinely funny moment from the prequels and turn it to his advantage, but he’s working uphill from the start.
And I think he’s totally aware of that, as there are several sly little nods throughout the video, such as the lines, “We have a plan: Jar-Jar Binks will be killed.” It’s a nice little bit of editorial sleight-of-hand, and just one moment of several that suggests The Usual Suspect realizes just how crummy the source material he’s got to work with is. Why else would he make sure to include Yoda’s cumbersome line, “Not if anything to say about it I have?”
Kudos to The Usual Suspect for giving it his best shot, but we’ll stick with his first Star Wars/Guardians mash-up — you can see it below, along with the original trailer it’s riffing on. Maybe that’ll make the wait until Guardians of the Galaxy’s August 1 release date fly by a bit faster.