G.I. Joe: The Movie
Cobra Commander's Turkey Dinner (Warning: Contains Adult Language. Parental Discretion is Advised)
G.I. Joe: The Movie
Director: Don Jurwich
Writer: Ron Friedman
Voice Cast: Charles Adler, Shuko Akune, Jack Angel, Jackson Beck, Michael Bell, Earl Boen, Gregg Berger, Arthur Burghardt, Corey Burton, William Callaway, François Chau, Peter Cullen, Jennifer Darling, Brian Cummings, Laurie Faso, Hank Garrett, Richard Gautier, Ed Gilbert, Dan Gilvezan, Zack Hoffman, Kene Holliday, John Hostetter, Buster Jones, Don Johnson, Chris Latta, Morgan Lofting, Chuck McCann, Michael McConnohie, Mary McDonald-Lewis, Ron Ortiz, Burgess Meredith, Rob Paulsen, Patrick Pinney, Poncie Ponce, Bill Ratner, Lisa Raggio, Sgt. Slaughter aka Robert Remus, Brad Sanders, Neil Ross, Ted Schwartz, B.J. Ward, Kristoffer Tabori, Lee Weaver, Vernee Watson-Johnson, Frank Welker, Stan Wojno
Synopsis: The G.I. Joe force must oppose a Cobra organization that has secretly allied with a subterranean reptilian who were their founders.
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Note: In honor of the new movie, "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", I've decided to review the original animated movie that was theatrically released back in 1987. Enjoy.
Serpentor is a douchebag! (Warning: Contains Violence, Spoilers and Adult Language. Parental Discretion is Advised)
The Real American Heroes are here...
As a kid, I vaguely remember watching a lot of the old "G.I. Joe" cartoons, but I do remember liking this film a lot. Sure, it was predictable, and most of the characters weren't developed well, but it was just good wholesome fun to watch. Plus, it was a cartoon with violence and blood in it, so what child wouldn't love those hallmark moments, eh?
However, as my tastes in films have evolved, I haven't seen this particular movie since I was a kid, so it was interesting watching "G.I. Joe: The Movie" from an adult perspective this time. Although I have to say, there's quite a few things about the original 1980's cartoon that I never noticed before until now. For starters, Cobra Commander is kind of a sniveling weasel in the cartoon series. Granted, he's a devious man with wicked intentions, but he's kind of a weasel and a coward throughout most of the film. I even went back and watched a lot of the old 80's cartoons of "G.I. Joe", and it just never occurred to me how much of a wuss he was until now.
Sheesh, it's no wonder why most of the main members of Cobra don't respect him, throughout most of this movie. Although to be fair, I have heard that in the original comic books that Cobra Commander was far more menacing and tough, but in this animated film, he comes across as more of a wuss acting tough than anything else if I'm to be honest. But then again, I never read the comic books, so I probably shouldn't say anything.
Plus, I never realized how annoying Serpentor was until I saw this film as an adult. I mean when the guy gives orders to people, he always follows that up by saying, "This I command!" And, he doesn't say that some of the time either. No....he says it ALL THE TIME! Therefore, you can almost imagine how irritatingly annoying that gets, as you're forced to watch this movie; especially considering Serpentor is the main adversary here.
However, with those minor observations aside, the bigger question remains is...does this film hold up? Well...technically yes and no. For those readers that remember my review on "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra", I did criticize that film for not being nearly as realistic as it should've been, when it came to portraying a military unit. Well, compared to this, "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra" is actually a lot more accurate, than this movie.
But then again, we have to keep in mind that when the original 1980's show was created by Hasbro, it was designed to help sell and promote their toy line for "G.I. Joe" at the time. Sure, the comic books were said to be a lot more realistic, and gritty; while taking a far less commercial friendly kind of approach. Whereas the original 1980's cartoon, it took a lot of liberties from the original comic book, as Hasbro wanted their product to appeal more to kids; thus you had a very colorful cast of "G.I. Joe" members throughout the series; while making Cobra Commander less intimidating to younger viewers, according to most sources.
As for my critique on the film, I would have to say that I agree with most movie critics that the animated "G.I. Joe" movie does come off as a long ninety minute toy commercial; while featuring mostly one dimensional characters. Sure, there's a few exceptions like "Lt. Falcon" (Don Johnson), who starts off as a self centered jerk, and then turns into a real American hero by the end of all this. Plus, there's the subtle romance that's handled nicely between him and Jinx, but the rest of the characters aren't that interesting. Sure, it was kind of interesting to see Cobra Commander's origin story, in this film, and it was nice to see where the origins of Cobra came from. However, even those good points are negated by it's obvious plot holes, and lack of logic.
For example, they explain that Golobulus (Burgess Meridith) supposedly created both Serpentor and Cobra Commander, and he's the leader of a secret underground nation known as Cobrala. in the film, it's explained that long before the ice age that reptilian like men dominated the Earth, while using technology that was more organic so to speak. But when the ice age hit, a new species evolved to take over the planet (namely us humans), and then started using technology that was inorganic; hence making them a threat to Cobrala's existence.
Therefore, after a terrible lab accident, Cobra Commander becomes hideously deformed, so Golobulus decides to name him his new hope to reclaim the Earth from us barbaric human beings. Here's my problem with this. In the film, they never mention anything about Golobulus giving Cobra Commander any resources whatsoever to take over the world; which is surprising considering how they establish in the film that the organic technology they have is far superior to our inorganic technology. Therefore, wouldn't it have made more sense if Golobulus gave Cobra Commander some of that organic technology to work with? I mean you do want Cobra Commander to take over the Earth right, so why not give him the tools he might need for such a feat?
But no, that doesn't happen. No, as they clearly establish, Cobra Commander uses the very same technology that the Joes use, to try take over the world; which makes zero sense according to this film's plot. Oh well, I guess Golobulus must be a fan of the old saying, "Fight fire with fire", or something along those lines, as that would be the only way it would make any sense. But if that's the case, that's kind of stupid considering how it's established their organic weaponry is superior to our primitive inorganic weaponry, so isn't that counterproductive? It doesn't even make sense from a logical standpoint, but then again, this film was designed to sell toys, so it's hard to really pick on it.
As for the animation itself, I have to say I was fairly impressed by the level of detail they put into it, as it's rare to see a 2D animated film presented in such detail. Although I won't go on record to say this features some of the best 2D animation that I've seen, but you can at least give the movie credit for it's lush detail, and creative character designs.
As for the voice acting, it's kind of debatable. Some of the voice acting is good like Don Johnson's performance, for example. But then you have others that aren't so good like Sgt. Slaughter, who you can tell is reading off a damn script whenever he does his lines.
(Warning: Spoiler Alert in this paragraph) As for the infamous stabbing scene with Duke, there's been a lot of speculation that Duke was supposed to die in this film, for dramatic effect. At the time, Duke's toy line was being discontinued, so it was kind of expected, and Hasbro did have a track record of replacing old characters with new ones all the time, in order to promote it's toy line. However, since too many kids and parents cried foul over Optimus Prime's death in "Transformers: The Movie", it's been rumored that the ending was changed, so Duke could live, and everyone would be happy; thus making it more commercial friendly. Now you know, and knowing is half the battle...G.I. JOE!!!!!
Overall though, if you loved the original 1980's cartoon show, then you'll probably like this film okay. Sure, it's not the best out there, but it's still better than "G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra" ever was. However, if you're new to the franchise, then I would probably stay away from this one, as there's a lot of references to the original 1980's cartoon show; thus if you're not familiar with the old TV show, then you might find yourself getting lost a lot while watching this. In the end, I'll give it a two out of four, as it's worth checking out if your a huge "G.I. Joe" fan, but I wouldn't expect much out of it.