How I learned to love the movie…

Love the movie?  What?  To anyone on G.I. Joe message boards over the past six months those words almost seem blasphemous, as the outlook for the upcoming motion picture is bleak, to say the least.

To many fans it’s because the arrival of the movie means the “death” of the Anniversary homages, and in many people’s minds those figures will never come back.  To others, they fear the worst from the film standpoint, and can only imagine it suffering an immense and utter failure in plot and execution, thus “ruining” their memories and spitting on their childhood.

I could begin to rant and rave about how ridiculous those comments are, but I will try to stay positive and only talk the “good talk” here in regards to the arrival of the feature film next year.

There are definitely several reasons why I’m quite hesitant to annoint G.I. Joe as the next Transformers from a commercial perspective, but I think there are other elements to look at here when you consider just what the G.I. Joe movie could mean to you, as a G.I. Joe fan.  I think if folks are willing to let go of their twenty-five year old perceptions and understand that the G.I. Joe brand has existed for over FORTY years in several different incarnations, and must re-invent itself to continue to do this for the next forty years, I think folks can appreciate what the movie is trying to do and potentially learn to enjoy the process and the end result a bit more than maybe they are now.

In my world, it’s always about the toys.  Throughout the G.I. Joe mythos we’ve gotten numerous comics, cartoons, “themes”, and events, but in my opinion, any particular realm of G.I. Joe is only as successful as the toyline.  For Sigma 6, the cartoon was bland and immature, the comic was no great shakes, but the amazing quality of the toyline made that one of the defining moments of the G.I. Joe mythos, in my opinion.

The same could be said in the opposite for G.I. Joe: Extreme.  I really enjoyed the comic, the cartoon was pretty impressive, but the toys were lackluster, so deemed a “failure”.  From my perspective, Resolute could be the first time that we get the “perfect storm” of great toys alongside a great media event.  It could be huge for us Joefans.  I’m not necessarily convinced of its relevance outside the core group of adult G.I. Joe collectors, but I think it could really be the first time since the heyday of the comics that we get fantastic media with an awesome toyline to go along with it.

I don’t think anyone is convinced that the G.I. Joe film is going to be an oscar-worthy masterpiece.  That’s simply not how it’s been marketed, written, or cast.  It’s being pushed forward as a mindless, fun, popcorn movie.  A cartoon mini-series done in live action, and I think that’s great.  It’s important not to get too bogged down in the “real world” aspects of G.I. Joe, because let’s face it, from day one, G.I. Joe has been science fiction.  That’s the way it’s been since we first got a “Laser Rifle Trooper” in 1982 alongside jetpacks and remote controlled robots.  Why should that change for the movie?  It shouldn’t.

The most important aspect to me, though, are the toys as always.  If you just stand back and look at the figures that were sculpted for the first 5-Packs, and then stand back and just look at the quality of the sculpting for the Resolute figures or Blowtorch, there is absolutely ZERO comparison.  None.  From detailing, to the webgear design, and overall figure appearance, I personally think that the figures designed now are worlds better than what we saw in 2007, and I think that bodes very well for figures we’ll end up getting for the film.  Hasbro will be pulling out all the stops for the movie designs, and will be using their top shelf talent, and that makes me very, very excited to see what’s coming.  We’ve seen a trio of figures at ToyArk, and if anything, that’s made me even more excited.

In spite of recent vehicle cancellations, and in spite of opinions of fans of Anniversary vs. Movie stuff, I think we’re in for a very, very fun late year next year, if folks can overlook their attachment to the past and open their minds to something new.

16 thoughts on “How I learned to love the movie…

  1. Well stated! GI Joe always has to grow and evolve and reinvent itself. An example would be Snake Eyes. He can not remain the same character as he was introduced. The average age of a soldier in Vietnam was probably around 22-23; now add nearly 40 years to that and you’ve got a 60ish year old ninja. He’s not going to have quite the same moves anymore! But the essential core of the character can be lifted up out of history and reset to current events.

  2. well done essay Justin. I have to admit, I’m looking at the upcoming movie with both apprehension and excitement. Same hold true for Resolute. I’m expecting either one to be EXACTKY like my childhood but there is a part of me that can be stubborn when it comes to what I want out of an adaptation of something, especially when its something from my chilhood.

    However, one of the great things about the Joe brand is the various universe that are created from it. One can like the comic but loathe the cartoon, one can enjoy the RAH era but pay no homage to S6. If the movie is bad or not to everyone’s liking, one can just choose to acknowledge and any media conected to it. Same is true for Resolute.

    I did not like Bay’s Transformers but it has not soured me on G1. I just focus my love on that interpretaion and ignore the Bayverse. Fortunately, I have that option with the Joe movie as well. Hopefully, I will not have to make that decision.

  3. Well said, Eduardo. Even if the movie drives you nuts, there’s nothing about it that will take away from what you enjoy. I liked Bay’s Transformers, but I didn’t buy a single toy because I wasn’t a big fan of the robot designs. I have almost every Classic and every Animated figure, and nothing that Bay did (or will do) will affect that at all. Just take it in the spirit of G.I. Joe and enjoy it apart from what you’ve known. Easy as that.

  4. I don’t understand why folks think the classic figures won’t come back. They shot back with a classics TF line after the movie, and that AWESOME animated line and show, so why the heck do people think that classic Joes won’t come back? Perhaps ’cause they think the movie will kill it all…

    Anyhow, as you said, it all comes down to the toys for me, and the recent look at IGs/Vipers has me excited. It’s a fresh new look that gives us new joes to use how we please. What more could you want? (Oh yeah…more remakes of old figures. Suppose I can take a few rocks thrown at me for my snarky comment.)

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the heck of these remakes (since I got a B.A.T., IG Destro, and BA CC). However, I’m glad to see it set off to the side for a bit to let in some new stuff. Resolute has me as excited as I was to see the Robot Rebelion line that never happened. I don’t mind classic remakes coming back, I just want ’em limited to a few at a time amongst all the new stuff.

    I know I’m on the losing side in terms of opinion, but I LOVED Sigma 6, so I guess I’m used to it. Bring on Resolute! Bring on the movie line! Bring on the new toys!

  5. I really enjoyed Michael Bay and Stephen Spielberg’s Transformers film. My problem with it was that it was to films. My wife hated the Spike Witwicky/Bumblebee plotline that was obviously Spielberg. She and I loved the Michael Bay “Pear Harbor/Armageddon” style plot. I enjoyed both and I am glad Hasbro was mostly wise enough to stay a respectful distance and let film-makers produce a film.

    I just worry that like what happened in 1986, during the Sunbow era, the Transformers movie was entertaining and well done, but the G.I.Joe film with Don Johnson was pretty awful because Hasbro had too much involvement in story.

    Hopefully, Hasbro learned its lesson. I am optimistic about the film. I hope the toy line doesn’t disappoint.

    Again, I loved Transformers Alternators and Transformers Classics, and I stayed away from the movie toy line and awaited the return of Transformers: Universe. I may have to do the same with this G.I.Joe. We’ll see.

  6. you got alot great ideas and I agree with what you have said, but it also amazing that after all the years of the gijoe brand they finally give the brand a movie and something all fans from 12″ collectors to 3/4″ collectors can enjoy.

  7. He who fears a new experience fears life and all the changes that come with it. I’m going to embrace the movie (unless it’s c.r.a.p., of course) in the same way that I have taken to the Transformers movie. Looking forward to 2009!

  8. I’m sorry, but I can in no way support the abomination that is the upcoming GI Joe movie. I understand the need to keep the franchise fresh and vital for the next 40 years and all, but do you have piss all over what has come before to do it? Telling the fans that have supported this franchise that they don’t matter, and that they’re no longer important? I can’t get behind that. If you can, more power to you. But I will not.

    This movie will be a joke. It already has Street Fighter ’94 buzz. Not a good sign. Dubious casting, horrible costumes, garbage story ignoring key character traits… add it all up and it spells disaster. And you’re going to plunk down money to support it? There’s a word for people like you – SUCKER.

  9. Y’know, you could take Morning JOe’s entire post, remove all mention of GI Joe, and apply it to pretty much half of every comic book or toy fan’s opinion on these kinds of projects since….X-Men. Though I give him props for not using the “raping my childhood” phrase that TRansformers fans were so fond of. :p

    I’m not going into this film with high expectations. In fact, I fully expect it to be a weaker film than Transformers (which I greatly enjoyed).
    But I hope it is a smash hit.

    Because in the long run, this film has the potential to do more for the brand in one summer, than any cartoon series ever will, especially ones geared towards a niche crowd like resolute. And the better the brand is doing at retail, the more goodies old farts like me will get (see Transformers Classics, intended to keep realistic vehicles on shelves at retailer’s requests)

  10. Morning Joe –

    And how do you think the 12″ fans reacted in 1982 when their precious vision of G.I. Joe was drastically altered for a younger, broader audience? I wouldn’t doubt they tossed around many of the same complaints you are right now, but without that change, the line would have stagnated and died.

    The Joe brand has been around for 45 years under many different themes, styles, and story lines, and if we all want our children and grandchildren to have G.I. Joe, then we need things like the movie to broaden the appeal and create more brand awareness. If you want to totally write off the entirety of the G.I. Joe brand because it doesn’t fit your narrow view of what’s “right”, then that’s your loss, man, not mine.

    As I said in the article, I don’t expect great things from the movie. But if it broadens the customer base and gives us cool toys, then how can you hate it?

  11. Because unlike the ’82 Joe line, which created individual characters, villains, an entire new theme and style, this abomination of a movie uses characters we know and love, and completely bastardizes them as if no one would notice or care.

    So I have to give this gutter trash a free pass because it allegedly is going to prolong the life of the franchise?

    Give me a break with that noise. This movie will be a giant turkey, and I hope all affiliated with it hang their heads in shame.

  12. I know absolutely nothing about the movie and I intend to keep it that way. I learned my lesson from Transformers. I thought that had bastardized my beloved toyline and when I walked out of the theater I swore I had just seen the greatest film EVER! I’m expecting it to be about the same for G.I. Joe.

  13. Oh yeah, I TOTALLY disagree with the previous statement the the Sunbow Joe movie was crap, that’s blasphemy in my household. Lol.

  14. As a recent Joe fan, I have to say….Finally!

    I’ve been looking around Internet Movie Database’s message board for the new Joe movie to try and find out when the trailer will start showing up…But, I’m starting to give up because the board is full of almost nothing but what you described. Whiny fanboys griping about the script, the director, the actors, about their favorite obscure character not making the cut.

    And if you show the slightest bit of optimism, your called a studio mole or any number of colorful political screaming. Wonder what any of these people would say if I told them an ANIME- a genre they sneer at so much- is what led me to G.I. Joe to begin with.

    If these fans are really as old as they claim to be, you’d think they’d have matured enough to realize what they want is almost impossible- too many characters and too many different versions of the story to possibly convey perfectly in a two-hour-tops movie. You’d think they’d look back at the old material and realize it was, at least from what I could see when I try to find it, just campiness and blowing stuff up. It’s a cartoon! Cartoons are supposed to be fun and relaxing! Get over it!

  15. After transformers movie I lost any expectations I could have. Let’s face it, they screwed that one in everyway possible.
    It was like if the GI Joe movie was 90% about cobra commander’s son high school crush!

    Unfortunatly I think GI Joe will be worse. Not in that way but just look at those pre production pictures. What happened with that storm shadow? And the GI Joe team look like they’ve been taken of an Alien rippoff. I think that it is good to keep the franchise fresh, but a cheap uninspired action movie (which will be remembered the same way we look at movies like Masters of the Universe and Street Fighter) is not the way to go. I really prefer the way they went with sigma 6. Sure the toon and the comic weren’t great but that was supposed to be for kids.

    With this movie, they are trying to appeal older audiences, and we don’t need to watch the characters we know and love being bastardized. We already love the GI Joe franchise, and as we, lots of folks who do not collect but have great memories of playing with the toys, watching the cartoon and read the comic book. They should focus on younger audiences so they may grow on GI Joe as we did. If you ask a Mario Brothers fan about their memories, I think no one will refer the movie as one. The same will happen with this generation of Joe fans.

    To sum up, at least our kids are getting another flick to make satirical reviews about. As for me, I’ve learned the lesson with transformers. I’m not going to watch this one.

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