Friday, February 7, 2014

G.I. Joe: The Movie

When I was a kid, I played with toys. Pretty freaky, huh? I had Transformers, He-Man (He-Men?), Star Wars, and Legos. I guess it's pretty obvious that I was a spoiled kid. How else would I have grown into this adult-sized man-baby that you see before you today? But back in the day, nothing came close to the fury and obsession over G.I. Joe that gripped me from age 9 through age 12 when I stopped playing with toys altogether.

After having my brain melted by the amazing Transformers: The Movie (an unforgettable theater experience), rumors of G.I. Joe: The Movie were putting me right up to the edge of heart palpitations. But luck was not be in my favor as the film was never released in theaters. I had to wait until it came out on VHS before I could get to see it.

Having no idea when it was supposed to come out, I was surprised as hell to see it on the "New Releases" shelf one night while my dad and I were at the video store. I remember that my mom was out of town on business so she was going to miss the movie! Yeah, my excitement for G.I. Joe at the time was so insane that I would try and force my parents into partaking of such things.

Dad and I had dinner and I put the tape on. Less than 5 minutes into the movie, my dad bailed. He said he was going to read a book or watch a movie or something. I was shocked. How could anyone walk away from my most anticipated film of all time (that month)? So anyway, I got back to the movie and... and... Honestly, I was disappointed.

In fact, I barely remember G.I. Joe: The Movie at all save for two things. One of them is someone said "shit" which blew my mind. I had never heard someone curse in a cartoon before. I was so glad that my mom was out of town because she probably would have turned it off if she had heard it. My dad was a bit more lenient but I paused the movie when it happened and looked over my shoulder just to make sure he hadn't heard it.

The second thing is actually pretty horrifying and to this day, pops into my head randomly. For reasons I can't remember and this is a SPOILER for any of you out there who are actually interested in seeing G.I. Joe: The Movie. So anyway, Cobra Commander gets turned into a snake. As he slowly devolves into a creature, he keeps hissing "I was once a man! I wassss once-ssss a man!" This completely freaked me out and actually made me feel bad for Cobra's charismatic leader.

Okay, this is as far as I can go without actually watching G.I. Joe: The Movie. Hold on. Let me go watch it.

Hi, I'm back!

Well, sadly, one thing didn't change: I'm still disappointed in G.I. Joe: The Movie. The story (which loses steam way before its conclusion) is that during a battle in the Artic, the forces of Cobra retreat into a strange oasis filled with an ancient race known as Cobra-La. These creatures are plotting to take over the world by launching spores into the atmosphere that will mutate mankind into anamorphic cavemen or something. G.I. Joe decides to stop them. There's more to this but I want to get the hell out of this while I still can.

I do like how the movie added even more elements of science fiction, fantasy, and even a little more horror to the Joe universe. Anyone familiar with the TV series can tell you about some wacky and totally fucked up episodes. I even like how we get a brief glimpse of Cobra Commander's face shortly before he turns into a wiggly reptile. And there was blood spilled when Duke gets injured. You never saw that in the show even with all the grenades, missiles, ninja sword-fighting, and laser blasts. As for someone saying "Shit" in the dialog this time, I think it was edited out. Maybe I'm thinking of Transformers: The Movie. Is this the nerdiest thing I've ever talked about on this blog?

What is surprising is how much anime is packed into this film. Obviously I can only speak for myself on this but back in the day, anime or Japanimation (as some used to call it) was so scarce that every tiny bit of it was special. I think G.I. Joe: The Movie subconsciously planted an insidious anime parasite in my brain that would grow and eventually destroy everything in my head. Don't believe me? Look at the frickin' crew on this film (listed hilariously as Action Force: The Movie on IMDB).

Cutie Honey, One Piece: The Movie, Fist of the North Star (series 2), Dragon Ball Z, Sailor Moon: The Movie, Galaxy Express 999, Final Yamamoto, Mobile Suit Gundam, several Mazinger movies, Full Metal Alchemist, Saint Seiya, etc. are just a few of the titles that the Japanese members of this crew had their hands in over the years. Their influence on the look of this film and even some of the plot elements are impossible to ignore. Don't get me wrong, a huge crew from the US and other countries were instrumental in bringing this film to life but yeah, it's films like this that helped make me an anime fan for life.

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