G.I. Joe: The Movie Review

I must preface this review by saying that I am not a G.I. Joe fan. When people say, “And now you know…” I reply, “And knowledge is power!” while my husband sadly shakes his head in dismay. (The debate of G.I. Joe vs. School House Rock is on-going). This franchise is for little boys and boys-at-heart who grew up with the toys and the cartoon show, who sat in their basement reenacting battles with tanks, helicopters, and action figures. For the young kids, G.I. Joe: The Movie will be a giant toy commercial, and for those who grew up with it, the movie is a walk down memory lane, a big old slice of '80’s animated nostalgia.

Looking back, I have a hard time remembering the central conflict in the movie, but then again, I seriously doubt that it matters all that much. All non-G.I. Joe fans need to know is that the G.I. Joes are good and the Cobra organization is bad. Cobra is trying to take over by stealing the B.E.T. (The B.E.T. is a Broadcast Energy Transmitter, not Black Entertainment Television.) I honestly can’t remember what Cobra or the G.I. Joes planned to do with the B.E.T., but it’s basically a high-tech MacGuffin. There are a lot of giant battle scenes with new weapons, contraptions, and characters, all of which were available for purchase at the local Toys ‘R Us.

This movie is incredibly cheesy and unabashedly patriotic. In the opening scene, the Statue of Liberty is under attack, and the G.I. Joes fly around in jet packs, taking out the Cobra attackers one-by-one. After Cobra is beaten back, the G.I. Joes plant an American flag on top of Lady Liberty’s glowing crown while they smile and wave at the audience in self-aware triumph. The movie works best when it basks in red-white-and-blue-apple-pie Americana with electric guitars wailing the film’s over-the-top soundtrack. I half-expected the puppet soldiers from Team America: World Police to show up screaming, “America, f*** yeah!”

For the most part, the battles are relatively bloodless. Tanks explode, soldiers fire bullets and grenades, and somehow most of the characters emerge with only scratches. There is a shockingly violent moment near the end of the film where Duke is protecting one of the other soldiers. Serpentor throws a snake-spear at Duke, and when it hits Duke, blood spurts out of his chest. I guess this scene is pretty shocking for hardcore G.I. Joe fans, so even though it looks like a harmless cartoon, be careful when showing this movie to younger kids.

All I have to do is mention this scene to my husband and he reverts into a scared little kid, curled up in the fetal position on the couch and crying how that scene (along with the death of Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie) destroyed his childhood. Duke is still alive when the end credits roll, but I recommend previewing the movie to avoid potential nightmares later.

All in all, G.I. Joe: The Movie is a fun look back into the 1980’s and a toy-filled childhood for older fans and an introduction to the world of G.I. Joe for younger kids. I don’t know if people will want to watch this movie enough times to warrant purchasing it, but for fans, G.I. Joe: The Movie is definitely worth at least a rental.

DVD Bonus Features

The special features were fun for fans and non-fans alike. Even though I never watched the show, I did remember the G.I. Joe public service announcements reminding me to be myself, stay out of trouble, and tell the truth. The PSAs were easily the most entertaining part of the DVD, and I enjoyed watching them even more than the movie itself. For super-fans, the DVD also includes a printable script, art gallery, and audio commentary by writer and story consultant Buzz Dixon.

"G.I. Joe: The Movie" is on sale July 27, 2010 and is not rated. Action, Adventure, Animation, Children & Family. Written by Ron Friedman. Starring Arthur Burghardt, Don Johnson, Michael Bell, Peter Cullen.

Rachel Kolb • Staff Writer

I love movies, writing, and breaking into song in public. You can follow me on Twitter @rachelekolb or check out more of my work at http://rachelekolb.wordpress.com.


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