The guys at the Nerd Lunch podcast, CT, Jeeg and Pax, were nice enough to have me around for a chat on the G.I. Joe animated series. Give us a listen, won’t you?
Is G.I. Joe: The Movie the pinnacle, the apex, the very zenith of modern filmmaking? In a word, yes. With voice talent ranging from Sir Don Johnson to 17 time Emmy Winner Burgess Meredith (16 separate episodes of the Twilight Zone and one for Batman’s “A Penguin for All Seasons”) no cast has ever been more celebrated. The story of nature’s struggle against the military-industrial complex, only to be crushed, burned and mutilated over and over, is presented in rich layers of ninjitsu, genetic mutation, laser gun shootouts and, of course, professional wrestling drill instructors. Golobulus fights on in his hopeless cause only to be thwarted time and again by the cruel General Hawk, spurred on by the grief instilled in him by the fall of his lover, Duke, thanks to a misplaced Cobra-La snake-javelin. What in another film would be the catalyst of farce in this fans the great flame of a war of extinction, with both sides growing more bitter and hardened with each shot fired, each satellite launched, each machine gunner blinded and saddled with a creature whom was “once a man,” to quote just one bit of the brilliant dialogue. Let not a dry eye remain at the end of this tragedy, lest you surrender your very humanity in a gesture on par with that of Cobra Commander himself. 10 stars, perfection doubled
Overall, Rise of Cobra wasn’t a terrible action movie. Moving the GI Joe team to an international strike force works fine for the current time and most of the cast is good enough for what the film asks of them, if too young for how good they’re supposed to be at what they do. The addition of dues-ex-machina “nanotechnology” serves its purpose it making the impossible happen without weighing a big-dumb-explosions movie with unnecessarily complicated scientific explanations. Not sure what Joseph Gordon-Levitt is getting out of a one note role where he’s mostly drowning in prosthetics and make up, but that’s his business I guess. As a GI Joe movie, though, it could have used more wacky costumes and personalities, rather than blending most of the characters into a dull, uniformed, indistinguishable group of nobodies (Scarlett’s logic drone was particularly grating), the Baroness started off fine then took a lame turn for the worse, but at least the ninja fights were pretty good, save for Storm Shadow’s one unbeatable move- the desperate tackle. 2 1/2 stars