Monday, August 10, 2009
G.I. Joe, Oh no...
Take a good look of the above pic. Got it? Good, now I just saved you ten bucks, go buy a cool miniature instead and paint it, it'd be an infinitely better use of your time. Heck, taking a hammer and deliberately smashing your hand with it, over and over, for two hours is actually a better use of your time than going to see this movie.
I'm thirty five years old. This means that when Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Rock 'n Roll, and the MOBAT tank came out in 1982, I was at the magical age of eight. This age is particularly magical because an eight year old boy, kitted out with tanks, laser cannons, jet packs, and the coolest action figures ever to come out, can sit in the backyard for hours imagining all kinds of missions and battles. Around high school, most kids lose the urge to play with toys, others don't. For me, getting my driver's license at sixteen just meant I could now drive myself to the toy store to browse the racks for what? GI Joe figures. So for a solid eight years, conservatively probably more, I was an active GI Joe "fan", collecting as many of the toys I could get my hands on, watching the cartoon, and collecting (memorizing) the comic book.
It's important to note that I realize that big screen translations can't mimic whatever original form we all know and love. Take the X-Men movies for example. The first two were nigh-amazing, even though they had to really mix things up to make a cohesive story on screen. They did, however, keep the soul of the X-Men alive. Same thing with the Hulk movies, Hellboy, Batman, and countless others. Some movies like 300 and Watchmen stick even closer to the source material which is an impressive feat in and of itself. I knew all of this going in and wasn't expecting them to adhere to strict GI Joe dogma.
I'm not going to pick it apart, frankly, it'd be too easy. From the tiniest, minute contradictions that only a 'true fan' (ie, someone as a kid in the 80's playign in the backyard) could pick up on (which isn't fair to do with any movie anyway) to the largest, overarching basic movie 101 concepts that shock me to have escaped such a large budget, big screen debut, this movie had it all.
There's a couple of pieces of eye candy they tried to throw in there 'for the fans' I suppose, but it felt too little, too late; for instance, Breaker chewing bubble gum, Heavy Duty actually saying "Yo Joe", Scarlett riding a motorcycle, and the Baroness being, well, mega-hot. Yes, they even threw in the 'knowing is half the battle' line as well.
The story made zero sense and paced as if written by someone with the worst ADHD case imaginable hopped up on twelve cups of coffee with near-diabetic coma causing levels of sugar in their bloodstream. You start the movie out with basic troops armed with standard M4's and Humvees, and end it with a technology level more advanced than the highest tech in any sci-fi genre. Literally, what they sported in GI Joe put the tech in Star Wars to shame. If the grunts of Starship Troopers had access to this equipment, their war against the Arachnids would've been over in about five minutes. There weren't any rules set to the genre, no parameters, no natural ceilings in the movie to reel all this tech back with. Once they started with an idea, it just snowballed and snowballed until it was mind-numbingly out of control.
The actor who played Duke does deserve special mention. Either the actor didn't want to be on set, or the direction was that the character Duke just shouldn't care about anything and be bored in every scene. Bottom line, he singlehandedly made a bad movie even worse. Oh, and adding the token minority character for comedic relief? Insulting.
I guess that's how I can sum up the whole movie, it was beyond bad, it was insulting. Did I expect a masterpiece? No. I expected a fun romp down memory lane, with lots of cool cameos and neat explosions. I didn't even get that. I had a free movie pass leftover from my birthday, but since 'Joe was a new release I had to "upgrade" my free ticket for an extra buck fifty. Yes, I consider the dollar fifty I paid entirely too much.