Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Zoe Saldana

While everyone is salivating for the release of Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1st, a select few had a chance to see 17 minutes of the movie in preview screenings across the country. My screening in Toronto, Canada was packed, but featured no surprises beyond what was promised and a short video introduction by director James Gunn. What we did see was 17 incredible minutes of what is surely going to be an awesome movie. Hit the jump for more details.

[Update From The Editor: We have added a new trailer that was released following the 17 minute preview. The original article follows after the trailer. Hit the jump to check it out]

During the preview, we saw what is essentially the prison escape sequence. The group has somehow been arrested (minus Drax), and are prepared to enter The Kyln, a maximum security prison. We’re not quite sure why they’ve been arrested, but the prison looks pretty raw. We get to see that Peter Quill middle finger shot without anything obscuring his hand. Most of the pre-prison stuff has been in trailers thus far.

Guardians of the Galaxy stars Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Zoe Saldana

Rocket Raccoon appeared to be the brains of the break because he comes up with the rather shaky escape plan while most of our heroes bumble along and “improvise”. The guards don’t put up too much of a fight, while Rocket basically gathers all the things he needs (and one thing he doesn’t – to great comic effect) and turns off the prison’s gravity systems. He then hijacks the helipod guns and uses them to steer the top portion of a tower they’ve taken past a door that Rocket closes. Fade to black.

There are some great lines here too. Drax is an intelligent dude that seems to take everything literally. Peter Quill turns around and calls him a “thesaurus” and Drax says, in a serious voice, “Don’t call me a thesaurus”. This is to say the humor is timed well, both vocal and physical. I get the sense that Drax and Rocket Raccoon are going to unexpectedly carry a great deal of humor. In the prison, many of the fights are in close quarters, so much of what seen are the characters beating up on prisoners and guards.

guardians of the galaxy trailer image

From what I’ve seen, the VFX shots look great. Since Gunn has already finished post production, it’s likely the footage I saw was complete some time ago. The two important CGI characters, Rocket Raccoon and Groot, looked quite good except for a few closer shots. I would have expected much of the CGI work to focus on Rocket Raccoon and getting his interactions done right. This is a rock and roll, bad ass character, and for the most part he comes across well. In this preview, Groot’s vocabulary appears quite limited, though I’m sure that will change.

After the prison sequence, we got a short, fast cut, mini-trailer with some new scenes. I could not make out all of it, but it features lots more bickering, what looks like an attack on earth, a crapload of star fighting, Rocket Raccoon kicking some serious ass, and Ronan’s ship, the Dark Aster.

If you weren’t sure if this movie would live up to the hype, I can safely say that you need not worry. Just 17 minutes of this is better than close to two hours of other, more shitty fare. Do yourself a favor and plop your butt into a theatre for Guardians of the Galaxy on opening day.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens on August 1st, 2014. The movie stars Chris Pratt, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, and Zoe Saldana. has been reacquired by its original founders. Please pardon any interruptions during this transitory period.