G.I. Joe: The Movie – 10 Memorable Moments

Folks who have been checking the site have seen me do “memorable moments” posts for all of the mini-series so far, coinciding with the release of those DVD Battle Packs.  Well, we all know the “Best Of” Battle Pack was originally meant to be a Movie-themed one, and in fact, all of the figures in the pack are definitely inspired by the Movie opening.  Because of this, I decided to do a “memorable moments” article for G.I. Joe: The Movie.

Now, let it be said right up front, that I am a fan of G.I. Joe: The Movie.  As hard as folks might find to believe that, I actually enjoyed the movie to a point.

Don’t get me wrong.  The concept of COBRA Commander being a leftover from an ancient race of pre-humanoid creatures is ludricous.  The way that Sunbow tied COBRA’s very existance to COBRA La was terrible and something I do not subscribe to in the least.  But taking that aspect out of it, and purely as a fantasy action movie, I thought it was very, very entertaining.  Of course, I was thirteen.  :shifty:

Does it hold up well today?   No, of course not.  The parts you thought were a little silly twenty years ago are exceptionally silly now, and with such animated fare as Batman, Justice League, and other more mature based animation, the mere concept that a G.I. Joe cartoon of this nature could exist seems pretty “out there”.  But like I said, if you take all of that out of the equation, and try to forget for a moment that a highly trained Green Beret recruited to a top secret special forces team could actually be an incompetent, belligerent ignoramous, you might find some things about the movie you like.  In fact, I found so many scenes that I liked, that I expanded this from a “Top 5” list to a “Top 10”.

Without further adu:

10:

Why I like it: As the culmination of the entire movie, the pace moves pretty well and we get pretty close to thinking that the world may have finally fallen under COBRA and COBRA La’s control.  Golobulus exits his funky little floating ball for the first time and Falcon rams a pointy stick in his eye!  You didn’t see stuff like that in the earlier Sunbow cartoons, showing that they at least pulled out a few stops with this one.  The sound mixing is great…I love the little cracking sounds as Falcon’s neck is being twisted around by the reptilian villain, and it was a very “doomsday scenario” type of sequence.  Pretty exciting ending, especially for those of us who were still fairly young when we first saw it.

9:

Why I like it:The Sunbow series always prided itself on their openings, and this was no different.  The music building as the supersized Terror Drome is unveiled with Trubble Bubbles, Stuns, and such.  The conflict inside is palpable, and as with a lot of the Sunbow series the music is fantastic.  This sequence really set the scene for the movie to come and gave you an idea that the magnitude of this one would be a lot greater than ones that have come before.  While the out of scale nature of the Terror Drome sort of bothered me as a kid, I think it works well here and just seeing those Flight Pods emerge from the huge opening mouth of the COBRA headquarters is a neat visual.

8:

Why I like it: The first time the Joes come face-to-face with COBRA La, and you can immediately feel how powerful this ancient race of creatures is.  Yes, we all know that the concept of COBRA La did not work at all with how they integrated it into the G.I. Joe universe, but that does not make it a bad concept, in my mind.  If you can take your mind off the realism for a few minutes and appreciate this as a science fiction or fantasy story, I think you can really enjoy it that much more.  The Royal Guard come with blades flying, making some really scary noises and basically hand the Joe team their asses.  A pretty neat scene with some great fight choreography that immediately gave you the impression that COBRA La was not something to be taken lightly (in spite of their ludicrous battle cry, which will be coming later…  ;) ).

7:

Why I like it: Beachhead was always an a-hole in the cartoon, and he lives up to form in his drill instructor role here, too.  Some of my favorite parts of G.I. Joe cartoons throughout the years was seeing the “new blood” get introduced, but we never really saw their training.  Here we get an ecletic group of “Rawhides” who all have pretty distinct personalities, and we see how they get brought into the Joe team.  Pretty silly, but as a kid, I thought it was fun.

6:

Why I like it: COBRA attacks!  At some point in each mini-series we always see COBRA launch their infamous initial attack on a particular piece of G.I. Joe hardware.  In this case, it’s the Broadcast Energy Transmittor, and COBRA comes pouring in on a fleet of Stuns.  There’s lots of action, some witty one-liners, and Duke takes a shot in the shoulder, which is all something you didn’t see too often in the Sunbow days.  I remember seeing this for the first time as a kid, and this was a scene that really stuck in my head.

So I’ve made a case so far, I think, for why G.I. Joe The Movie isn’t necessarily as bad as everyone makes it out to be.  COBRA La didn’t help its cause with their silly battle cry and by being pretty much shoehorned into COBRA’s entire history, but from just a movie standpoint, I think there was a decent amount of action and fun, enough so that I can still take a few hours here and there to go through clips and find some that entertain.  Not everyone might agree with me, but hopefully these clips will at least give a small second chance at checking out The Movie.  Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a great work of fiction by any stretch, but there are certain qualities that are entertaining and aren’t nearly as bad as folks would have you think.

Now the top 5…

5:

Why I like it: As a kid, when I bought the COBRA La 3-Pack in my local K-Mart, I also picked up the Renegades 3-Pack to go right along with it, so in my mind, the two were perfect arch-enemies.  When Falcon parachutes down into the middle of a Renegade training session, I was loving it at age 13.  The concept was fantastic, and even though the figures were pretty bizarre, the characters have definitely formed a cult following, and there are some very cool aspects to the Renegades team that I think sometimes get overlooked.  Anyone who has read my dio-stories knows I’m a fan of the team concept, so it was neat to see them get some screen time.

4:

Why I like it: This sequence is a big reason why I’m a Nemesis Enforcer fan, even if he does not fit a “real world” G.I. Joe mythos in the least. He’s an imposing figure with immense strength and he basically walks into a G.I. Joe prison sector and flattens the three highly trained guards standing watch. A neat character in my mind, even if he’s sort of “out of the box” and a big reason why I like COBRA La (in spite of hating the way they were the entire backstory to the COBRA organization).

3:

Why I like it: Like I mentioned above, the Renegades have always appealed to me and seemed to be the perfect foils for COBRA La, and seeing them in action, infltlrating an entire COBRA Terror Drome was very cool to me as a younger boy. There’s lots of action throughout this scene, both with the Renegades and Falcon, and for the first time in Sunbow history there’s blood on Falcon’s face when Serpentor smacks him around while interrogating him. Another scene that left an impact on me as a kid, and combined with the great fight choreography, this just deserved it’s spot here.

2:

Why I like it: Well, you can’t mention G.I. Joe The Movie without mentioning the infamous “Snake Stake”.  Facing off against Serpentor, Duke gets a Serpentor spear right in the chest, a scene that is far and away the most grusome scene in the entirety of Sunbow history (for better or worse).  The Duke haters all wish he’d died in that scene, and he was supposed to (until a backlash from Optimus Prime’s death in Transformers changed Hasbro’s mind), but regardless of the final outcome the way the scene played out was pretty intense to the younger kids there.  The raging fire, the red hue in the picture, and that unforgettible splash of blood as the spear strike’s Duke’s chest are all pretty iconic portraits of the G.I. Joe movie that brings it to #2 in the list.  But not quite #1…

1:

Why I like it: Ask any G.I. Joe fan what they remember most about G.I. Joe: The Movie and you will almost undoubtedly get the name “Pythona”.  Whether it’s because she was never released in figure form, or because she came across as a very cool character, or whatever the reason is, she is a character that was immortalized by G.I. Joe: The Movie, and the above scene is essentially her introduction.  She weaves in and out of gunfire, single-handedly takes down dozens of COBRA Troopers standing in her way, and almost effortlessly makes her way straight to Serpentor.  Immediately I thought this was a great character, and it’s such a shame that someone who is so important to the COBRA La mythos will probably never get her own action figure made.  Certainly somewhere down the line you’d like to think that oversight will be taken care of, but with time running out in the Anniversary line, and the movie right around the corner, it doesn’t look real good for Pythona.

Still, whether or not the figure is made, you cannot argue that this scene is one of the most iconic scenes in G.I. Joe: The Movie and is a pretty cool scene to watch, regardless of your opinions on COBRA La or the Sunbow mythos in general.

And of course, what would G.I. Joe: The Movie be without those fantastic opening credits?  This is another aspect that is pretty much universally loved in the Sunbow mythos, and many would say it was the best 3 minutes in the history of the old school cartoon.  Lots of action, great music, many cool characters…so cool it inspired the entire “Best of” Battle Pack #5!  A very, very cool sequence, and even though I didn’t want to include it as part of the “10 Most Memorable Moments” a post about G.I. Joe: The Movie wouldn’t be complete without it:

So that covers every Sunbow Mini-Series or event storyline that has happened to date.  I’m hoping to cover some other stuff at a later date, hopefully you’ve enjoyed these features, and keep your eyes here, because the review for Battle Pack #5 is definitely coming soon!

13 thoughts on “G.I. Joe: The Movie – 10 Memorable Moments

  1. While the movie was completely absurd, nostalgic fans tend to forget that the Sunbow series was no less dumb. Fatal Furries?!?!

    I enjoy the movie much more now than I did in the ’80s.

  2. …pretty much nailed all of m favorites, “except you missed:

    “‘ello, ‘ello, ‘ello?”
    “adios, Adios, adios!’

  3. I’ve always been curious as to whether or not any of the CGs and Cobras Pythona plowed through were killed. (for example, we didn’t see what she did to that guard. We only heard him screaming.)

  4. Well two of those CGs had to die! One got that acid in the face, which went through really thick metal like nothing, and then another simply got punched in the face, but when he flew back and his head hit the wall, it cracked the concrete! If that one ain’t dead then his brain is!

  5. i love gi joe the movie, it’s a sweet sci-fi action epic and i loved it as a kid and still think it’s rad now. it doesn’t hold up as well as transformers the movie, but the opening title/theme sequence alone is the best thing that has ever been animated. alpine punches through a firebat’s windshield because he is just that hard

    gi joe has never really been that realistic, and if it was it would just be Real Ass 21st century toys black hawks with sgt. infantry as its pilot, instead of wild bill and the dragonfly. gi joe is fashion over function, and the movie illustrates that perfectly

  6. I actually liked the movie when it first came out. I was only 12 myself. My favorite part is when we actually get to see Cobra Commanders face.

    I do admit, the series seems to have went downhill after the movie. Just like Transformers and Thundercats. Either that or I just outgrew them.

    I do know I was pretty much through with superhero fantasy cartoons by the time the TMNT craze hit in the late 80’s early and early 90’s.

  7. I love the renegades, too.

    Sarge had some of the best lines in the movie, I think.

    “There’s only two ways outta here. On your feet like a man, or in a ditty bag. An itty…bitty..ditty bag.”

  8. Great work as always. I haven’t seen the movie in a long time, but all those scenes are still in my head.

    BTW, do you know why the movie pack never came out, or why the movie hasn’t been reissued yet? Are they waiting to re-release it during the hoopla for the live action film?

  9. From what I understand, there was some sort of copyright/trademark issue with releasing the Movie in a DVD pack. Not sure of the specifics, though. It’s obvious that fifth Battle Pack was designed to go with the movie.

  10. I think my enjoyment of the movie would be about ten times greater if it weren’t for the fact that from the first scene in the Terror Drome onwards, it seems like Cobra Commander’s worst nightmare come true. I mean, there’s even a shot of everyone around him yelling about how he’s “Cobra’s curse!” It was made even worse by the fact that he actually bothered to dress up in his cape and carry around his scepter….I tell ya, Cobra Commander was quite a character.

    Everything about this movie is awesome…it’s so over the top and ridiculous that you have to wonder how they managed to play it straight for 93 minutes. I mean come on….Roadblock tumbles into his friends while wrestling with a giant snake with tiny arms and multiple eyes, and no one even flinches? Whoever left Shipwreck out of that scene to make a wisecrack to the insane snake Cobra Commander should be exposed to the spores.

    But yeah…even if I’m just watching it for fun, I just can’t get over how absurdly bad Cobra Commander gets it in this one. It’s like the ultimate bad day.

  11. Wow, the review really seems to be pandering to the loud, obnoxious “G.I.Joe is real life D00D!” crowd. You don’t have to apologize so much for liking the movie. It’s a bunch of fun, and it’s not any more far-fetched than the cartoon series was; in fact, it was better for all the reasons you listed. This is your website! There’s no need to pander to a loud minority. Express your opinions however you like! :)

  12. I loved the review, thanks for taking the time. I really wish more G.I.Joe fans would just admit that they liked the movie when they were kids and they loved the show as well. A lot of fans want more realism when it was all the unrealistic stuff in the toon that was the most fun & memorable. Lets face it, the cartoon did more for the mythos and keeping G.I.Joe alive in the hearts and minds of kids everywhere all these years then the comic book. You can’t sell action figures with just a comic, the industry has proven this. I have never had anyone say to me “I remember the comic.” I have always heard “I remember the cartoon.” I hope your review brings back some good memories to everyone who reads it.

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