Saturday, August 8, 2009
G.I. Joe: Memories come off the shelf
This morning I saw G.I. Joe with some friends. It's a bad movie, but I had fun. It's totally mindless and it feels about an hour too long, but I view it with a sort of affection even if I don't recommend it. I feel like the team making this movie wanted to give you the sense that you had while being an 8-year-old playing with the toys, pretending to blow tons of stuff up, playing fast and loose with logic and the laws of physics. The problem with the movie is that it's more like watching two 8-year-olds playing with G.I. Joe toys, which is not as fun as doing so yourself. You watch, and the absurdity is amusing, but you feel like you can come up with something a lot better. I honestly didn't expect much going in. All I wanted was for Snake Eyes to kick some ass, Scarlet to have pretty red hair and someone to say "Knowing Is Half The Battle" as the last line. All that pretty much happened (they said the line, but it didn't close out the movie) so I was pretty content even though the movie could easily be considered a ludicrous turd.
About an hour after the movie, I could hardly remember anything that I had just seen onscreen. It was as if the movie was so stupid it short-circuited my brain and the movie got lost in the shuffle. But now, several hours later, images and lines are popping up in my head, so I can piece together the puzzle of what it is was that I had sat through at this movie.
I've started mapping out the over-the-top craziness. Here are the highlights/lowlights. Beware of SPOILERS!!:
Duke is boring. He just was not interesting at all. I can't remember a single thing he did that was worthwhile the whole movie.
Marlon Wayans doesn't have a believable line delivery throughout the whole movie.
Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow are pretty awesome. The flashbacks to them as children are fun and the transitions to those flashbacks are kind of hilarious. Now that I think about it, Snake Eyes probably benefited from the fact he did not have any lines and therefore was spared sounding stupid.
The Baroness was kinda cool until they explained her backstory and then her coolness sunk like a stone.
Everyone is related. In this movie, the Baroness and Cobra Commander are brother and sister, but Baroness doesn't know the Commander is her brother cause he's supposed to be dead. Also Cobra Commander and Duke were best friends in the army once upon a time four years ago, and Duke was going to marry Baroness before she became Baroness. Was this to "up the stakes?" It was totally laughable and unnecessary.
All the Joe's and cobras wear extensive armor with helmets except for Scarlet and Baroness because apparently we wouldn't be able to identify them if we couldn't see their pretty hair. Baroness and Scarlet DO fight each other which is pretty cool.
Scarlett has ninja skills, crossbow skills, language skills and the amazing ability to state the obvious as it happens around her.
The movie starts off in France like 300 years ago. It was very strange. It was a Destro origin story, but having it be the first thing you see you're like "what the eff movie am i at? I came to see G.I. JOE!"
there was a polar bear. he was at the north pole.
there was a mime. he was at the Eiffel tower.
they wear super suits at one point and it's the lamest thing you see in the trailers, but it's not the lamest part of the movie.
the Eiffel Tower is evacuated when it's at risk of attack, but apparently that doesn't stop tons of people from still walking directly under it during the terrorist threat. After the Tower falls (rather uncomfortably in a 9/11 way, in my opinion) the US President is told "the french are not happy." which, I'm sure you'd agree, would be the understatement of the century in that situation.
The Cobras live in a giant station underwater at the north pole. It looks really expensive and they blow it up for no good reason.
Cobra Commander and Destro get captured at the end. But I think initially they were meant to escape, because it's done very hastily with some horrible CGI that wouldn't even belong in Spy Kids 3. It's weird.
The End Credits of the movie scroll out over a remix of Boom Boom Pow. WHY??? Is there really no Joe Theme Song we could play? Really??
Okay, my brain has stopped working again. Suffice to say, there is no plot or sense to what is going on. Ebert's review of it is spot. on. Here is the opening to the much more comprehensible cartoon movie from the 80's. Enjoy that if you need your Joe fix. The movie is bad. Now you know. And knowing is half the battle.