Friday, August 07, 2009

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

I just came out of seeing “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra”. I think a viewer’s opinion on the movie will depend heavily on how much he or she enjoyed the television show.

I’m probably in the target audience for this movie. The cartoon came out when I was around seven or eight years old. I collected the toys, quoted the taglines and wanted to be one of them. “Yo, Joe!” was one of the coolest phrases I’d ever heard.

The movie tried to capture all of that and bring it back relatively unchanged. This isn’t a movie that tries to make a realistic what-if scenario, like “Batman Begins”. This is about a cartoon in live-action form. You don’t ask questions about how a terrorist organization builds an enormous military base beneath the polar ice cap. You don’t think twice about how people walk away from spectacular car crashes or how futuristic/implausible many of the weapons and machinery are (after all, a caption indicated that this was the near future).

One thing I didn’t really like were the camera shots during fight sequences. It seemed like the cameraman was taking a few punches, too. I hope this doesn’t become the new trend of action movies: to violently shake the camera while carnage ensues.

Ah, but this is G.I. Joe, after all. We must have fights, we must have explosions, and we must have over-the-top plotlines that leave gaps. Someone has to give the obligatory, “Knowing is half the battle” (which I felt Dennis Quaid did with utmost dignity). And of course they have a colossal underwater base! They’re Cobra! (Incidentally, does anyone else understand why Cobra Commander became evil? I didn’t quite understand his motivation. Crud, there I go thinking again!)

It’s best to let go of logic and pretend you’re eight again; otherwise, I think you’ll be disappointed. The eight-year-old in me thought it was great, recalled many of the toys I collected (and still keep in the basement) and thought the characters were really cool. Balance that with my current age (32), and I think it’s a good movie so long as I don’t analyze it (or think about how many scenes were stolen from other movies – did anyone else feel like they were watching the Millennium Falcon escaping from the second Death Star?).

I’m sure I’ll have a few laughs with others about some of the logistics, but I had fun watching it. I’d recommend it for any Joe fans out there. Just don’t think like an adult.

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