We have finally made it to my favorite letter of the alphabet when it comes to movies. If you don’t know why, you soon will. Now this is a movie that just about every kid from the 80’s has seen. Although the G.I. Joe franchise has been around since the 60’s, it hit the height of it’s popularity in the 80’s with the Real American Hero series of figures, which inspired both the comic book and cartoon series. Today’s movie, G.I. Joe: The Movie, is a follow-up to the end of the cartoon series.
The plot: During a meeting of the top members of Cobra, a mysterious woman named Pythona infiltrates the Terror Drome and instructs Serpentor that he needs to steal the B.E.T. from the G.I. Joe team. Cobra attacks the Joe team as they are testing the B.E.T. but when Serpentor is captured, Cobra Commander orders the remaing forces to retreat. With a squad of G.I. Joes on their tail, Cobra Commander leads his to the hidden land of Cobra La, an ancient civilization that once ruled the world and has plans to do so again. With this new threat to deal with, the G.I. Joe team must get their new recruits trained and ready for battle or the whole planet may pay the price.
So in 1986, Hasbro, Marvel, and Sunbow planned on making full length theatrical releases of two of their most popular cartoon series, G.I. Joe and Transformers. The G.I. Joe movie was supposed to be released first, but due to it being held up in production, Transformers wound up being released first. This would actually cause a couple of interesting developments to occur. First off, while it was originally scheduled to be released in theaters, the poor box office performance of Sunbow’s other two movies, Transformers and My Little Pony, it was decided to make it a direct to video release. The other thing involved the fate of the lead hero, Duke. When the movie was first being written, Hasbro decided that they wanted to kill off Duke, a decision that also prompted them to kill off Optimus Prime in The Transformers. However, after the backlash from children and parents over the death of Optimus, Hasbro decided to change things and instead of killing him, they rewrote it so that Duke went into a coma instead.
The kid in me enjoyed this movie immensely but the adult in me did have some problems with it. The animation was great and seemed a step up from the normal TV show. However, as unrealistic as G.I. Joe was (in the sense that two military forces fought all the time and nobody died), the addition of Cobra La just made it seem too unbelievable. The whole scene with Duke dying/falling into a coma was also weird because if you ignore the audio, everything in the scene still acts like he died. I know it probably would have been a pain to redo the animation but it would have looked a little better. The other thing that I did not like was the fact that, unlike with The Transformers, we did not get a new season of G.I. Joe cartoons. Well, we did, but it was 3 years later and with a different company whose animation style paled in comparison. But let’s face it, all of those things really don’t matter much because if you are watching this, it is because you enjoyed the cartoon and you will enjoy the movie just as much.
So if you feel like a bit of nostalgia or just want to feel like a kid again, then go right ahead and watch this movie.
Rating: 4 out of 5