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The Borderlands movie is just like Guardians of the Galaxy with more Jamie Lee Curtis, and that's maybe not a bad thing

If nothing else, we know the formula works already

Image credit: Lionsgate

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A colorful group of morally ambiguous outcasts, coming together for a common goal that could impact intergalactic safety, all soundtracked by some classic songs? It was a recipe for success for Marvel’s three Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and judging by the first trailer, Lionsgate and director Eli Roth seem to be hoping it’ll work just as well for video game adaptation Borderlands.

That’s not exactly the complaint that it might seem like, I promise; there’s no denying that the Borderlands trailer, as frenetic and explosive as it is, looks like it’s going to be a fun movie, and beyond just James Gunn’s three Guardians movies, last year’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Among Thieves demonstrated that “rogues who don’t necessarily get on working for the greater good despite themselves” is a formula that can really work, if the cast and chemistry are right. On that front, things look good for Borderlands: the movie centers around Lilith (Cate Blanchett), who partners with Kevin Hart’s Roland, Jack Black’s Claptrap, Ariana Greenblatt as Tiny Tina, and most exciting of all, Jamie Lee Curtis as somewhat deranged scientist Dr. Patricia Tennis, to get what she wants.

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What she wants is left somewhat ill-defined in the trailer, but Lionsgate’s official description of the movie offers a lot more info: “Lilith (Blanchett), an infamous bounty hunter with a mysterious past, reluctantly returns to her home, Pandora, the most chaotic planet in the galaxy. Her mission is to find the missing daughter of Atlas (Ramírez), the universe’s most powerful S.O.B. Lilith forms an unexpected alliance with a ragtag team of misfits – Roland (Hart), a seasoned mercenary on a mission; Tiny Tina (Greenblatt), a feral pre-teen demolitionist; Krieg (Munteanu), Tina’s musclebound protector; Tannis (Curtis), the oddball scientist who’s seen it all; and Claptrap (Black), a wiseass robot. Together, these unlikely heroes must battle an alien species and dangerous bandits to uncover one of Pandora’s most explosive secrets. The fate of the universe could be in their hands – but they’ll be fighting for something more: each other.”

See? The sentimental coming together of the group is telegraphed even in the official synopsis! Everyone involved in this movie knew exactly what they were making, and they’re not afraid to lean into it, which is likely going to help audiences understand exactly what they’re getting when the movie hits theaters this August. After all, when it comes down to it, “it’s like Guardians of the Galaxy or The Suicide Squad, but with less other movies to watch to understand it all” isn’t that bad of a sales pitch, really.

The movie was directed by Eli Roth from a screenplay he co-wrote with Joe Crombie. It’s been in the works for some time; footage was originally shown during CinemaCon in 2022, although portions of the movie were reshot afterwards — with Deadpool and Terminator: Dark Fate director Tim Miller stepping in for Roth, with the latter’s approval.

Borderlands is set for release August 9.

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Graeme McMillan: Popverse Editor Graeme McMillan (he/him) has been writing about comics, culture, and comics culture on the internet for close to two decades at this point, which is terrifying to admit. He completely understands if you have problems understanding his accent.
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