Happy 4th of July!
The time that many go on Summer vacations, Barbecues and lighting fireworks!
Speaking of “fireworks”, I thought I’d give a RETROspective of those real American Heroes; G.I.Joe in their first animated feature; G.I. Joe the Movie.
What happens when the most memorable scene from this animated feature is the opening, well that would be GI Joe the Movie of course. The Joe Team, led by Duke, take on a new mysterious enemy while attempting to recover a device capable of causing worldwide destruction of humankind. Despite the film having your typical MacGuffin scenario, the movie had themes of redemption, drama and even pathos! Well, not exactly since Hasbro decided to change Duke’s fate via the Optimus Prime death scene from Transformers the Movie.
This decision to allow Duke (Field Commander of the Joes) to survive, disappointed fans such as myself and of course the film’s writer and producer, Buzz Dixon. You can hear his reaction from the Blu Ray commentary track, and it’s not subtle at all. I never really cared for the introductions of the Rawhide recruits, especially Big Lob who was more of a Scottie Pippen throwback and said character reminded me of Police Academy’s Michael Winslow.
In my opinion, Battleforce 2000 although also far fetched, would’ve been a much better choice than Rawhides.
Lt Falcon (Don Johnson) although not a badass like Flint or Roadblock, was integral to the story’s arc and of course, Duke’s “demise”. There were a few questions left unanswered in the script by veteran TV writer Ron Friedman (Fantasy Island, Chico and the Man, Starsky and Hutch, Arise Serpentor Arise): Who actually perished during the destruction of Cobra La? Were some of the Joes part of the fatalities? Did Destro and the baroness survive? What the fuck happened to Zartan and Storm Shadow?
The animation courtesy of Japan’s Toei studio is organic and is very fluid. Just look at the scene in which the dog called Order retrieves an explosive device thrown by Beachhead. Speaking of animation, the opening sequence is nothing short of spectacular! Thanks to storyboard artist Larry Houston I remember having “Geekgasms” when first seeing the scene whereas Cobra schemes to detonate a Bomb on the Statue of Liberty only to have their plans thwarted by a certain special missions force whose purpose is to defend Human Freedom.
Besides the awesome aesthetics courtesy of storyboard artist there was the intro theme that was kicked into overdrive: “He never gives up, He’ll never say Die! Walking tall with Banners hiiiigh, the sound of Battlecry , Yo Joe! Yo Joe! GI Joe A Real American Hero, GI Joe is there.” I thought some scenarios were a bit far fetched such as the whole Cobra La concept, although Burgess Meredith was excellent as Golobulos I wasn’t too happy about Cobra Commander revealed as a deformed Nobleman who later on, mutated into a Snake.
Then there’s Sgt. Slaughter being able to take on Nemesis Enforcer who was strong enough to lift a Tank…um ok.
Also, I remember reading about an omitted scene where Zartan’s Sister Zarana, undresses near a swamp lake. I guess a bare breast would’ve jumped the film’s rating to PG-13. However, stake through the chest is just fine though. Ah, America! XD
Despite these critiques I still enjoyed the movie and not only is it a suitable swan song for the hugely popular toy tie in series but worthy of every animation lovers’ collection.