I haven’t been shy about lofting complaints towards Paramount’s choice of directors for the G.I. Joe sequel, but leading up to production, Jon Chu is certainly saying the right things. He’s already gone on record with proclaiming his life long love of the G.I. Joe brand, even reciting some lyrics from the DiC era of G.I. Joe animation.
Now he’s spoken with Deadbolt.com and made some references to the original G.I. Joe film, and how it was more of a traditional action movie, and he’s looking for something a bit more elaborate:
“…not just another action movie. Maybe the first one was that, but we’re really trying to break it down and take the shine off and show that my Joes were the ones in the mud, the sand and the trees and in the epic worldwide adventures. Each one had individual talents. So we really want to bring the experience of what I grew up with playing with these toys. What it feels like so that kids now can be reintroduced to the Joes and experience it in a different way. This is like down and dirty Joe for me.”
I really like that line of thinking. In the end, it’s just talk, and we’ll have to judge the product on its own merits, but I love the idea of a less spit-and-polished action movie and something more real world and a bit grittier. I don’t think they should take that too far, but I do think the first one could have used more of those elements.
Deadbolt isn’t the only place Chu made some recent comments. He also spoke to Box Office Magazine and had some very insightful comments about the film there. Of course he states repeatedly that he’s been G.I. Joe fan, and I would fully expect most directors saying that in their advanced interviews, but what I love most about his comments are how he talks about G.I. Joe’s “soul”. I love that. I’ve always emphasized that there is a specific “spirit” that G.I. Joe has as a brand, which is something that sometimes doesn’t get captured. I do think the first film had some of the fun, flashy spirit that made G.I. Joe cool in the 80’s, but I know many fans would argue that fact. My favorite quote comes at the end of the article, where he states the following:
“Whatever people think about my filmmaking, to me I feel like one of the most important things for any project is that the filmmaker cares about it, and that they understand what the soul of what the audience wants from that movie or what they need from that movie to fully [enjoy it]. And Joe I know. With Joe, I know exactly the movie that my friends would want to go and see. And I actually want also open it up to the fans out there and know, who are your favorite characters—who are the characters that you’d want in this movie, and we’ll find a way to try to get it in there. And there may be a better idea that they have than we can ever came up with, and we’ll suddenly be changing the script for that. Joe is much bigger than me – it’s much bigger than a movie even, it’s about a bunch of different generations—and that’s a cool thing.”
Now don’t get me wrong, I doubt that Paramount will really let him “open it up to the fans” but he seems to have the right energy and the right feeling. He seems to grasp and appreciate the relevance and importance of the Joe brand much more than Sommers did. I’ve been plenty critical of Chu’s name being attached to this project from day one, but I have to give him credit for starting off on the right foot.
Time will tell.