Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Thoughts on the upcoming GI Joe movie, and the burden of being a nerd.

As you guys almost certainly know, the live action GI Joe movie, GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra, is coming out next month (August 7th, to be exact). Obviously, as this movie is, just like the Transformers films, based off an 80's toy property, there are new action figures (Which you can now find in stores)! As a toy collector and GI Joe fan, I have already bought a number of these figures (Yo Go Re of OAFE has suggested waiting until they go on sale, but every time I do that, I can't find what I want). Now, my hope for the film has dropped considerably in the past few months, but we haven't gotten any new Joes in months, and these new ones are rather good, and I'm not about to pass on good toys.

So, what exactly do I think so far of the movie? Well, I already have some problems. Now, I should mention I don't care that Snake Eyes has lips, Ripcord is black, Storm Shadow is wearing a coat, or any of that stuff. It either doesn't matter, or, in Storm Shadow's case, is something I like.

But then there are things like the Accelerator Suits. While I wouldn't be surprised to see some sort of power armor in the old cartoon, it would show up once to help sell the toy, then maybe appear every once in a while as long as the toy is on shelves. But in the movie they appear to be much too prevalent. Of course, this is just going off the trailers, so it's entirely possible that they appear in one scene which has gotten more attention in the trailers than the other scenes. Hopefully, this is the case, but, and again, I'm going off the trailers for this, it doesn't appear to be.

Next are the Cobra vipers. Seriously? In stead of the old Cobra Troopers, we get these ugly guys? The old Blueshirts were great. They looked like actual members of a paramilitary force, had the great helmet/half mask combo concealing their identities, and looked very distinctive amongst the various villainous henchmen of pop culture. The new Vipers have none of that, instead looking more like generic sci-fi bad guys. And while the old Real American Hero version of Cobra had Vipers, the only thing they have in common with the movie guys is the name and full face masks. Oh, and maybe the elbow pads.

Cobra Commander. Goddammit. GOD. DAMMIT. LOOK AT THAT THEY DID TO HIS FACE! WHY?! The only reason I can possibly think of for doing that is to make him look creepy. What a featureless metal mask isn't creepy? Or, you know what's would be really creepy? Cobra Commmander's fucking executioner style cloth mask. Also, from what I've read on Joepedia, ROC Cobra Commander's origin is as follows: He fought alongside Duke and Ripcord, but was injured in an ambush. Duke and Ripcord were rescued by the Joe team (After this they joined the team) while Cobra Commander, real name Rex Lewis, was left behind. He then went nuts, becoming first "The Doctor" then Cobra Commander. Oh, and the Baroness is really his sister, Ana Lewis. And she was engaged to Duke. This means three things. 1. They're not using Larry Hama's great origins for Cobra and Cobra Commander from the comics. Any Joe fan will tell you that you should always use stuff from Larry Hama. 2. We know Cobra Commander's real name. And 3. We see his face. It could be worse I guess. He could be a snake man.

There are various other elements I fear will be left out. Will the connection between Snake-Eyes and Storm Shadow, which has been hinted at on their toy file cards, be a plot point? Will Snake-Eyes and Scarlett be an item, or will the movie be like Resolute and have Duke and Scarlett together (The only thing I disliked about Resolute). And so on. Speaking of Resolute, I think many people hoped the movie would be serious like Resolute but instead, it looks like we're getting a heaping helping of 80's goofiness.

However, despite all this, I'm still going to see the movie. I'll be at the midnight showing even. I'm not like those RotF haters who won't even see the fucking movie before hating on it. Besides, there are some things I'm still hopeful for. Ray Park as Snake-Eyes, for example. As long as he can emotes effectively as a silent character, there's really no way that can turn out bad. And who knows. Maybe the film will surprise me. Basically, I'm going to see it, and keep an open mind.

Finally, there's what I said in the title about the burden of being a nerd. You see, to the average movie goer none of what I've said here matters. They don't know enough about GI Joe to care. Even if they watched it as a kid, it's doubtful they remember enough. But as nerds (Or, if you prefer, geeks) we know all about this stuff, and we've kept up with it much longer than most people. Much longer than is healthy, some might say. So to us, it does matter, and it could make the film less enjoyable.

Anyways, I'll review some of my new figures soon.


  1. The Neo-Viper figures will make excellent Goa'uld troop builders for a Stargate SG-1 collection. But the rest of the figures pretty much look the same to me. It's a wash of Accelerator Suits and grey/white camo print. Notice that the best of the new figures (Cobra specialty soldiers, etc.) won't actually be appearing in the movie. That should tell you something.

  2. I have read that the Accelerator suits are only in one scene towards the end.

  3. You make a good point about the burden of being a geek. Normal people don't angst about Jetfire being a black jet, or Cobra Commander's face, or X-Men not being filmed by Marvel Studios.

    But hey, that's the great thing about Marvel Studios. Not only are they making their own films in such a way as to be true to the idea of the source material (so geeks can enjoy it relatively angst free [I say 'relatively', because nerds (who I view as more anal and whiney than geeks) are always going to find something to bitch about]), but they've proven it can be done in such a way that the general public loves the material too!

    There is a reason that GIjoe has been around for so long. There is a reason that Transformers has been around so long. There is a reason that Spider-Man, Batman, Iron-Man, Thor, The Avengers, and other comic book characters have been around for so long.

    The stories, or at least the concepts, are good! The only reason that wouldn't translate to the general public is if you mire it with decades of confusing and contradictory continuity.

    But some films get scared. They think, "Oh well just because Iron-Man just tweaked the concept, doesn't mean that will work with this movie." Instead, they think, "Fuck the source material. Lets do the extreme route. Pander to the middle of the bell curve and we'll get the most money."

    Yeah, they could potentially make more if they did the movie right, but if they follow the tride and true formula it's a safe bet they'll at least make a profit.

    Who needs home made stromboli when you can have cheap and easy frozen pizza?

    The Vipers look like evil umpires. Cobra Commander was awesome as a used car salesman. Seriously, this woulda been a great time for it too, with the car industry doing poorly.

    CC, "My dealerssssship didn't get a goverment hand out. I'll ssssssssshow them!"

    Any idea if they have plans for B.A.T.s in at least the toyline?

    ~Matt Booker

  4. I don't know about the B.A.T.s. You can see the confirmed figures (And what assortments they'll be in) here:

    Of course, it's entirely possible that this will end up like the TF movie line, with new stuff made for the toyline that was not in the movie. Really they've already started doing that, teasing me with a Shipwreck figure when he's not in the movie...