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HERE'S an unusual one - a kids' sci-fi movie that actually values script and characters as much as CGI and merchandising.

HERE'S an unusual one - a kids' sci-fi movie that actually values script and characters as much as CGI and merchandising.

A youngster is told by his dying mum that he's an angel. So far so weird - until he gets kidnapped by extra-terrestrials.

Years later, that boy, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt), calls himself Star-Lord and is a bit of a dashing space pirate.

He's just double- crossed his crew to try to flog a precious space orb. But that doesn't go down well with tyrannical Ronan (Lee Pace), a would-be buyer who needs the orb to rule the galaxy.

Ronan dispatches sexy minion Gamora (Zoe Saldana) to retrieve the object and, worse still, bounty hunters Rockett (a talking raccoon, voiced by Bradley Cooper) and Groot the tree (voiced by Vin Diesel) are bounty hunters out to collect the bounty on Star-Lord's head.

A dust-up between the bunch lands them all in prison where they nearly come unstuck at the hands of the ferocious Drax the Destroyer (wrestler Dave Bautista).

This unlikely bunch of misfits somehow become a team to keep the orb out of the hands of Ronan and, hey, save the galaxy.

Pratt (playing his 1970s mix tape on a Walkman throughout space) and the feisty Saldana are excellent as the squabbling space couple, but Rockett - a scientifically engineered little rat with great one-liners, and the hilarious Groot steal the show.

It's funny, it's warm, and it's one of the best franchises yet from Marvel.

DVD EXTRAS: Some good deleted scenes, making-of featurette and a gag reel.

>Mark Evans


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