Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Not your regular Joes

When the previews for G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra first came out, I was concerned that they didn't seem to bode well for the beloved cartoon series I grew up watching in the 80s. Nothing seemed RIGHT (except perhaps the casting of Dennis Quaid as General Hawk) and I was really afraid the movie would suck, AND suck all the joy out of my childhood memories.

My fears were mostly unfounded, as there were few sacrilegious changes (some liberties taken with the characters' histories actually made for interesting twists) and more than sufficient entertainment value to appease me. I even found myself getting annoyed with the girl sitting next to me in the cinema, who kept reacting to some admittedly lame plot points with intermittent derisive snorts of laughter. C'mon, it's G.I. Joe (good guys kick the crap out of the bad guys, the end), who expects a plausible plot?? What we 80s babies remember and love about the cartoon was how frickin' cool the Joes were, from Duke to Scarlet to Snake Eyes (don't ask me why, but I've always had the hots for the silent ninja), and in this film adaptation, they were pretty frickin' cool. Not only did their personalities come through, the addition of high-tech gadgetry and weaponry made them more badass. TROC also had some terrific action sequences: the fight scenes between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow were especially awesome (those alone prompted me to give the movie 4 stars instead of 3), and a crazy car chase through the streets of Paris was surprisingly well-executed and made for a neat adrenaline rush.

And I know I'm such a girl for saying this, but I must make special mention of the fabulous costume design in TROC. Everything was impeccable, from Storm Shadow's stunning white ensembles to the snazzy black leather jacket Ripcord wore in one scene to the killer latex bodysuits hugging the enviable frames of Scarlett and the Baroness (is it me or are Sienna Miller's legs way too skinny?). In a movie driven by a mix of jet fuel and testosterone, it was refreshing to see fashion was not sacrificed at all.

I couldn't complain about TROC's casting (there was one weird but welcome cameo); however I did find myself wishing they had introduced more characters, especially on the Joe side of things. Maybe we'll get to see Flint, Gung-ho, Shipwreck, Roadblock, Lady Jaye and other favorites in the sequel (you know there's gonna be a sequel). The filmmakers just better make sure they don't screw up the second movie a la Transformers. I suspect the disappointing ROTF might have had something to do with why I enjoyed TROC more than expected (the latter being much better in comparison), but even discounting that, I'm just glad it didn't desecrate my childhood.


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