G I Joe-mangous!

8 08 2009

G I JoeOkay. I know I’m going to take some flack for this. Lack of intellectualism and such. I could’ve gone this weekend to see such movies as “Julie and Julia” and talk about the need to develop passions for success in life. Maybe I could’ve gone to see “Funny People” and bloggged about finding life’s true priorities in the face of our mortality. I guess I could have even have gone to see “Aliens in the Attic” and opined about the glories of pulling together against the odds or even made some over-spiritualized reference to the removal of evil, outside influences from your “attic, ” that place that is hidden away in your life, oft-neglected, but still influential on your monthly power bill.

No, instead, I went to see G I Joe. I couldn’t help myself. After all, did I mention it was G I Joe? In my childhood, I had the action figures, for Pete’s sake.

Needless to say, I can NOT be objective here. Sure, the plot line was atrocious. Of course, the acting was bad. Some of the effects were bordering “Land of the Lost” quality.  I’m pretty sure there was nothing there I could stretch into a spiritual metaphor or even one of Aesop’s moralisms. Still, I admit I didn’t go for plot or Oscar-level acting. I did go for effects and action, and, despite the few times when the effects were leaving me longing for Christopher Reeve’s “man-on-string” Superman flight scenes, I came away fairly pleased with that. After all, when you have to spend all your dough on CGI’ing the collapse of the Eiffel tower, something’s going to suffer. And, given my feelings toward the French, I would rather have the big bucks making that fantasy as real as it possibly could be. The rest I can forgive.

The thing I was most disappointed in was my “great American hero” was turned into a “great international coalition of heroes.” Again, forgive my over-ripe Americanism, but it just felt all so forced and politically correct. “Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition” became “We are the World (with highly developed weapons).”I didn’t go to see G I Jacques. Lesson # 1 learned for the sequel.

Still, the action scenes were over-the-top and non-stop, thoroughly unrealistic and highly imaginative – exactly the kind of stuff that I imagined as a child and acted out with my action figures (which is why the ones that still survive in the old toy box at my mom’s house are missing arms and legs (and maybe even a head or two). That’s what this movie did for me. It brought all my days of G I Joe-ing to life on the screen. All the days of playing army and saving the world with impossible feats were justified. I discovered my old “I shot you, you’re dead” response of “Uh-uh – I was wearing my special bulletproof metallic suit that gives me extra speed, agility, and pretty much everything short of heat vision and freeze breath, so I’m still alive” was not cheating after all. I hope the guys from the old neighborhood were watching, because I think they’ve always held a grudge about that.

Many will see this movie. Many will hate it. But I have a feeling they never played G I Joe. For those of us who did, the movie has all the stuff we needed , plus some backstory that we probably didn’t. All that did was shorten the destruction of Paris scenes. Lesson #2 learned for the sequel.

Lesson # 3? Make a sequel.

See the movie? What did you think?




6 responses

8 08 2009

I’ve been pretty nervous about this one since it was announced. I credit Larry Hama, who wrote the GI Joe comic for Marvel back in the day, for making me the person I am. (He also made me want to be a ninja, but I’m still working on that.) Reading Hama’s Joe rooted my interest in the military. As fantastical as much if it was, there was a seriousness and a realism to the characters. I have detected none of that from the marketing of this movie. Aside from the look of Snake Eyes, pretty much everything seems wrong.

All that said, I have seen many people suggest that the movie isn’t nearly as bad as I fear. I will see it. I still follow all things Joe. I spent more than a hundred bucks on an action figure just a few weeks ago. I just think it’s unfortunate that the studio didn’t take more of a “purist” approach to the material.

10 08 2009

I was going to say if you need someone to go see it with you that you can trust, give me a call. However, the fact that you mentioned Larry Hama by name is a little scary to me, maybe a little too much of an enthusiast for me. on second thought, call my son Colin. He can’t wait to see it again. Buy him a ‘frozen motion’ and he’s yours.

10 08 2009

I played GI Joe with my neighbor, Russ, but I brought my Barbies. Good post. You write very well. However, since you’ve just started your own blog…you must go see “Julie & Julia”. Think you’ll be pleasantly surprised and I look forward to what you have to say about it. (I laughed so hard and did walk away inspired.) In fact, the inspiration might be synchronistic for you. (Gee, is that really a word?) P.S. I once read an article, I think in Scholastic, about how kids who played a lot with action figures/dolls transferred the dialoguing/verbal development over into writing. Your creative process is obviously reflected here. Well done. Best with your blog!

10 08 2009
Stephanie Latta

Your GI Joes should get together with Brad’s, then Lisa’s Barbies could open a triage center for all the missing limbs and decapitated heads. Rhett can make sure it’s all historically accurate…

11 08 2009

Kris, I’ve needed someone to push me over the top to see the movie. I’ve always been a huge fan, collected the comics and and the toys along with my brother. (we never got the aircraft carrier though) I’m just worried about being too disappointed by it, because I’ll probably be looking for a direct transportation back to myself as an eleven year old. I think I’ll just have to go recruit a geek buddy and go.

11 08 2009

It can be scary when they start taking on our childhood icons. It’s not a great movie in one sense, but if you don’t take it too seriously, it’s just kinda fun. Lots of action that leads to reminiscing. I’m not recommending it because I don’t want you coming back to me later and blaming me for your disappointment.
I had some G I joes, but was more of a Batman guy, so I may not be the best judge.
Although my son thought it was the best movie he’d ever seen.

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