Some great perspective and insight on G.I. Joe: Retaliation from AICN

I promise I’m not regurgitating every single post that goes up around the web talking about this subject, but I think Billy the Kidd over on Aint it Cool News has some great insight, information, and perspective on the whole G.I. Joe: Retaliation fiasco.  Granted he just looks at it from the film perspective, and not as a fan of the toys, but a lot of what he has to say mirrors my own thoughts, and he seems to also have a line on some early screener feedback, which turns out wasn’t trending very positively.

Check out this post on AICN for all of the details.

16 thoughts on “Some great perspective and insight on G.I. Joe: Retaliation from AICN

  1. Thanks for the link, Justin. For me, the most telling quote was this:

    “Since yesterday, I’ve been getting all types of early screening reports about the quality of G.I. JOE: RETALIATION, which have ranged from “nonsensical” to “worse than RISE OF COBRA,” so it’s quite possible that Paramount didn’t realize they had a bad movie on their hands until they got it in front of audiences, which was rather late in the game. Therefore, this was their chance to pull the plug to rework and retool the movie.”

    Is this a genuine surprise to anyone? I’m bummed the studios backed themselves into this corner, as this looks like a losing hand. Since the film was never shot in 3-D, going back and re-tooling it is a desperate move. (Anyone see Episode One in 3D? An awful film made even more awful.)

    This is why I shudder when people say Retaliation will dictate the future of the toyline. Our hobby was better off before the studio execs got their hands on it.

  2. I wanted to be the smart guy that suggested there might be more Tatum in the movie now, as he does seem to be getting a lot of attention lately (he is on the cover of Entertainment Weekly right now). Then this article brought up the same point, with evidence from the questionnaire.

    I do have one speculation to toss out though. With Retaliation toys already made, no movie to support them, and now more time to work on toys, will the toys already made and in production head straight to Ross and Big Lots?

    Also, what does a March release mean for Christmas sales? Will kids have forgotten about the movie by then or will they be asking for the DVD/Blue Ray and toys at Christmas?


  3. I’m not surprised that some of the screening reports indicate that the movie was shiite. I mean first off, who in their right mind would think making Roadblock an Ashikage ninja was a hot idea. DUH .. only a useless f*ktard would. Paramount has done a great job of ruining Gi Joe ever since Rise of Crap. Why Hasbro would let this happen? I can only imagine they say the dollar bills and forgot the toys and back stories that were so awesome in the 80s. What made many of the Gi Joe characters great for us were their back stories (creid to Larry Hama). These weren’t just chunks of plastic, they represented characters (some with very conflicting and interesting motivations, eg: Storm Shadow).

    What I don’t understand is why these idiot hacks need to meddle around with the story Larry Hama gave us? Granted that there were always some dubious gaping holes, the original Gi Joe story holds up wonderfully. All the idiots in Hollywood had to do was fix up those plot points.

    It had everything:
    – Loyalty, betrayal, and revenge.
    – Disfranchised war veterans.
    – Terrorist organization taking advantage of competing world powers and ideologies.
    – A solid nucleus of characters with intertwining histories and motivations.
    – Kick ass action and hardware.

    Thanks Hollywood idiots. You only have your own incompetence to blame.

  4. With regards to the toys, I cannot recall an instance of a movie-tie-in line being launched without a movie following within a six month window.
    The only instance I can think of is Phantom Menace, which launched its toys several months before the movie debuted.
    But it wasn’t a 9 month gap, and it was the Star Wars brand.
    GIJOE doesn’t have the clout that Star Wars has and retailers have no obligation to be patience with GIJOE as a brand, because it makes nowhere near the money Star Wars does, it hasn’t and it NEVER WILL.

    So this……is going to affect the brand, I think.
    Retailers will look at this small line…..see its not selling, and won’t order any more. When the movie comes along next March……….tough beans. Why should the retailers put faith into a toy brand from a movie that the source company and movie studio don’t have confidence in???
    9 months of fixes won’t make a difference, because the orders for the stuff coming out then start getting placed now and in the next few months.
    Really, they have every bit of “evidence” and repeated references that no-one really cares about GIJOE product except for a very small number of fans. And now with a brand name that has even less confidence behind it……why should a retailer carry these products?

    As a collector, that can seem alarming…….upsetting, but is it really bad news? Perhaps…….but its also a signal that GIJOE as a brand may finally be shifting into its most stable era–as a true niche-market brand. Sideshow Toys sell a high-end, and I gather well-selling, line of 12″ figures. The Club has, rather has the POTENTIAL (when things go right) to field, 4″ figures that can sate collector interests. These aspects weather the turbulence around the brand rather well…….they are a step removed from it because:
    -they are not dependant on a movie, or a cartoon or a comic.
    -they are not mass-retailer dependant. They address a niche-market audience, and a dedicated one at that.
    -they tend to have a much more specific distribution system, and thus specific channels of access to the product.
    All these things work in favour of the collector.
    The drawback is that there’s limitations on growth of the brand and the price-point. 12″ figures will cost over $100-$120, and 4″ figures will cost around $20.
    The line will not be for kids anymore…’ll be for you and me–adult collectors. And to be candid, I doubt very many of us will really care if we see GIJOE role-playing toys sold anymore.
    By accident, or design….I suspect, as a result of the announcement yesterday, that the toy-line will see some decided changes and that next March it’ll become clearer where those changes are headed.

  5. Agreed. Well said.

    I’d rather the brand catered to those who made it popular than follow the dictates of some faceless Hollywood exec who waters down everything that made Joe great to sell to as wide and generic an audience as possible.

  6. Not really. A successful big budget movie is what GIJoe really needs to jump-start the line again. It was pretty much on it’s last gasp as it was. With the movie being pushed back it only hurts the line more even if it ends up being beneficial to the movie.

  7. A “successful big budget movie” didn’t jump start the line back in 1982. The quality of the product did. Hasbro had several amazing runs that sold out every where I shopped — 30th Anniversary, PoC, Renegades — that gave the line amazing momentum. All of that stopped when they put all their eggs into the big budget movie basket.

    The latest Star Trek was a successful big budget movie and its toyline was dead on arrival. You and I are in two decisively different camps. With respect, if you’re depending on Hollywood to make the Joe line exciting again, it’s over.

  8. Heh. Changing scenes in the GIJOE movie to make is so Duke lives – haven’t we been here before?

  9. The problem is not that G.I. Joe has not had good writers. The problem is that no one seems to let the good writers tell the story.

    I think the real errors have been in failing to capture the growing kid market and too much reliance upon the adult collector. It’s great to capture the past, but it has to look forward.

    In my opinion, they should have been spending the last 6 years working on a G.I. Joe video game franchise of the same quality as Call Of Duty or Halo and hammered into that the story already developed. The movie making process is bound to loose as long as Hasbro does not stick to an established story and history, AND maintain control and quality.

  10. Didn’t they try their best to capture the kid market with Sigma Six? I agree with your comments about relying too much on the adult collector, but perhaps our demographic is the only one who even cares about G.I. Joe anymore.

    Would LOVE to see established Joe storylines in a Halo/Call of Duty type of video game. That would probably capture the kids today better than a toy line. When I was a kid, video games were just a niche market compared to how they dominate pop culture today.

  11. It’s not 1982. Retailers have far more clout now that they did then and it’s an entirely different market now than it was. Hasbro is perfectly willing to put out amazing product but that means squat if retailers don’t have any interest in it. While you may have been able to find the product where you are, most people could not. Neither Wal-Mart here has stocked Joes since the last movie. Target had one row of pegs which had nothing but Arctic Destro and the second PoC Duke for ages. Hasbro put all their eggs in the movie basket because it was the only option left to them to get retailers interested again.

  12. Ouch. Regardless of how you feel about the character why in the hell would you kill Duke who is a pillar character of the franchise? Why does Hollywood think they can always make things better? They could easily have had a trilogy on their hands if the retold the highlights of the Marvel run as a live action movie. How hard is that? That comic was awesome and had everything a movie needs to be awesome too. It had great characters, hot chicks, cool technology and awesome bad guys.

  13. And with all of their eggs in the movie basket, they’re waiting nine months before putting new product on the shelves. Great business strategy. Should work wonders.

    But you’re right. It’s not 1982 anymore. Maybe G.I. Joe has ran its full course.

  14. Of course it’s not good. That’s my point but they don’t have much choice. It’s not like they can just ship something else instead when they don’t have anything else to ship and even then retailers have to want it first. They could probably slap something together real fast to have on shelves by the fall but even then, are retailers going to want to stock it? Considering how few wanted to stock the previous non-movie product, I’m thinking no.

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