Monday, August 17, 2009

GiJoe: Rise of Cobra or where I go bitchy fanboy mode

Sorry for the lack of activity. I'm busy with the SWF update.

First, some background info. For those who might not know, GiJoe was a huge influence on Miss Dynamite. Eva basicaly started out as a Scarlet rip-off (Original character; do not steal!). I was always more of a GiJoe fan than Transformers as you could have a more complete Joe collection with a tight budget. I think you could get figurines around 3 or 4$ in the early days. Even middle sized vehicules weren't too expensive, being 100% plastic. While the Transformers cartoons had a better continuity, the GiJoe comics had some anthology moments, like the Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow origin. And #21 Silent Interlude should be read by anyone studying sequential art. But except for the first 3 episodes of each series, I can't watch either cartoons anymore; they're just horrible. I sold all my figurines and vehicules to my cousins in the early 90s, but I kept my original Night Raven. Might be one of the best looking 30$ plastic toy ever made.

I saw the movie last Saturday and as some people said, it's better than Transformers. But that's setting the bar pretty low. At least, this is a movie about GiJoe. It's not a movie about some teenager who must protect a pair of sunglasses and oh btw GiJoe. When you see the huge Hasbro logo at the beginning, you know the purpose of this movie is to sell merchandise and that's ok. The story is convoluted, but I don't think it matters. It's not a case of "check your brain at the door", which annoys me to no ends. There's nothing stupid about entertainment for the sake of it. You need to be pretty bright to make good pop. I think what made GiJoe great was great characters. Especialy on the side of Cobra. The only good part of the cartoon is usualy the first act where we see Cobra's new plan enacted. The Cobra elites is a dysfunctional passive-agressive family. That's a sitcom. So instead of reviewing the story, I'll review the characters.

Destro: Exagerated Scottish accent is exagerated, but I wasn't expecting subtlety. I've seen people complain about Destro, but I think he does the job.

Zartan: I think it's useless to complain he doesn't look like the comic/cartoon version. He's the master of disguise. But for people not familiar with the character, he comes out of nowhere. He's Zartan, master of disguise, k thx bye! Uh, who? It's like they introduced some charcters for the fans without bothering to explain who they are, but then don't introduce others that could've helped the plot, because...? They didn't know their source material?

The Baroness: When Sienna Miller was casted, I was afraid she looked too young. My ideal Baroness was a MILF. But I think she looks a bit older in the movie. Maybe it's the hair and the glasses. I think the biggest problem is the origins. In this movie she's under Destro and Cobra's hypnotic control. I always thought of the Baroness as this Euro-trash rich spoiled pseudo-'revolutionnaire', sort of like Patty Hearts. Also, she used to be Duke's fiancée....... LAME! At least they imply that she's probably uncurable and will revert to evil again.

Storm Shadow: Nothing to complain here. He's a white ninja. He has a family feud with Snake-Eyes. Close enough. We're told apparently Storm-Shadow doesn't kill women. Why? Who knows. This useless bit of info is never expended upon.

Duke: No charisma. Ok, but kinda boring.

Rip-Cord: Who the fuck is Rip-Cord??? I barely remember him from the comics. At least Wyant (sp?) wasn't in Jar-Jar-neoministrel mode.

Heavy Duty: That guy I never heard of! He's from Sigma Six apparently? Why not Road Block?

Scarlett: Not bad, but unfortunatly for the actress she's given one of the worst line in the movie. Also, they hint at her relation with Snake-Eyes, like in the comics. But then it's completly ignored after.

Breaker: He likes bubble gum, like in the comics. Thanks for the bone Hollywood, that made this movie fucking special. e_e

General Hawk: Quaid was acting like he was in Spy Kids, but that's not his fault since the movie's tone was very unequal.

Snake Eyes: That mouth on the mask is creepy. I know the figurine was like that, but I never liked that version. I never understood what that medieval armor-like visor was supposed to be. I always like the original Snake Eyes better. The whole Snake Eyes/Storm Shadow story was thrown in just for the fans. Jee, thanks, but it serves no purpose to the story. There was material there for an entire movie. Instead it's delivered with two quick flashbacks and no emotion.

The origin story of Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow is tragic. The Cobra crazy plans is comedic. And you've got stuff in the middle. This movie doesn't know what kind of movie it is. Is it dark? Serious? Funny? While I'm sure most people would've wanted more grimdark ninja badasserie, I think they should have gone the America Fuck Yeah satire way.

Speaking of which, I forgot the most important. Cobra Commander! Much like General Hawk, the actor isn't bad, but the movie is so uneven his acting looked awkwardly comical. He's Snidely Whiplash evil. He's the brother of the Baroness and former friend of Duke... That's not necessary, I'm not sure why Cobra should have an origin. He's evil, let's leave it at that. If you give him an origin, you make him more human. But that would only work with a realistic tone and that's not gonna work with Cobra. And the fucking costume.... christ! I would have been ok with Cobra only becoming 'the Commander' at the end, but why didn't he get the original costume??? And don't tell me it would have looked too cheezy. The helmet maybe, but not the hood. I heard (might not be true) they were afraid it would look too much like the KKK. Wha? Who cares, he's the bad guy, he's allowed to look like a bastard.

Crank 2 made more sense, I didn't even saw the first one and it cost dozens of millions of dollars less. If they don't bother improving, I'll do as I did with Transformers 2 and won't bother watching the sequel.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Crank 2 was better? Ouch!!!!

And I watched transformers.. if it means anything... I SKIPPED Transformers 2

12:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Silent interlude!!!

I still remember that issue! It is a neat 'eperimental' story, one really memorable. Sadly, mine didn't survive my childhood...

Did you read the one where the Dreadnoks "Borrowed" Zartan's holo camouflage and went on a rampage?

Frankly, RL and the post 9/11 actions ruined "GI Joe" for me. "GI Jokes; Real American Zeroes" with an "Abu Grahib" playset. Includes the figures "Lynde Englande" and "Mr had so much fun he died" figure with a tiny roll of plastic wrap and "Bitey the Patriotic Dog"...

Though, let's face it: GI Joe was actually worse than the current administration's military, despite better technology and troops free to act independently, not just go on mindless patrols or sit as targets/guards. In RL it's quite possible they were betrayed by a treasonous administration willing to stage mass murder for control and profit, but I don't know what the excuse of the millitary/FBI/CIA in GI Joe's world of letting things get that bad first...

From what I remember:

1. A massive terrorist organization operating within the USA's borders, including one 100% "Cobra" controlled town - "Springfield" - that was used as a base of operations, along with many hidden citadels and things like F-16 equivalent powered fighting vehicles and some "Next Gen" equipment reaching possibly a century ahead.

2. The actual loss of US territory by trickery. GI Joe blew up a blatant Cobra base and it turned out to be a trick to set off a dormant volcano. The volcano created a mini-island that Cobra quickly planted their flag on. I suppose due to Destro and the Baroness's ties, they got it registered in the U.N. GI Joe's commanding general died of a heart attack due to stress over this...

3. The countless mini-wars inside the US.

Still, I'd rather live in the universe GI Joe lived in... They remained unquestionably the "Good Guys" and they didn't consider the "Constitution" a scrap of paper to shove in other's faces but abandon as a "Creature of Convenience" whenever they felt like it. They lived and died by their system of honor. And America didn't go bug nutz with one tiny "Attack", they remained America, not AmeriKKKa. Cobra's attacks if anything strengthened America, rather than turning it to the path of becoming a terrorist dictatorship itself over a scare or two.

Also, note, G.I. Joe didn't go bug nutz demonizing and using labels like "Terrorist". They called Cobra "Criminals" and treated them as such, pointing out that their schemes were centered around money as much as power and their "ideals" paper thin at best. I think they got many captured COBRA soldiers and agents to turn by playing "Plea Bargain" and pointing out how their commanders had thrown them away.

Oh, well, just my opinion. Don't know if I'll see the movie, but I think not...

1:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hollywood should burn for putting out such things.

9:01 PM  
Anonymous Jonas said...

I hated the Cobra Commander in the movie they totally ruined one of the Coolest bad guys buy turning him into a Corporate Ass kisser. What happened to his hole SS Nazi look? at least that made him look scary. Quite frankly a four year could put this Cobra in a headlock and noogie him into submission.

I loved the Baroness she lived up to her original concept. Anyone else masturbate to her when they were a kid?

11:45 PM  
Blogger Sirkowski said...

No. That's perverted... a_a

12:48 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Besides the obvious problems. (Changing Cobra Commander's uniform, the whole Baroness is a blond woman with 20 20 vision from Seattle and not REALLY a badguy, Duke being a lunkhead, etc)

My main problem with it was that it felt so indoorsey. Half the movie was on sets and the big battles were either small in scale, or took place underwater. When I think of G.I. Joe I think of huge land battles with tanks and planes. By the end of the movie, I was feeling a little claustrophobic. It looks like they blew half the effects budget on those Iron Man/ Transformers ripoff suits. Kinda cool, but not in keeping with the G.I Joe spirit in my opinion. Give me HISS Tanks any day.

10:32 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

GiJoe Resolute wayyyyyyyyyyy better!

2:09 AM  
Anonymous Ramirez said...

Yeah.... That movie definitely seems more Like G.I. Schmo than G.I. Joe. G.I. Joe should stay animated. :|

8:31 AM  

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