I Kind Of, Sort Of Liked The G.I. Joe Movie

In an interesting twist of fate, I had just found out I was getting the DVD for G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra (2009) from Netflix the very same day we recorded the podcast for War Rocket Ajax. Those of you who have listening to it might remember the long conversation that some of the guys, including my buddy and Topless Robot honcho Rob went back and forth about the ridiculousness of the movie. And yeah, it was ridiculous. Like Rob said, this is the world’s greatest fighting force and they send only a handful of guys to defend Paris. But, like I said, I kind of liked it.

Now, please understand, this isn’t a great movie. I’m not even sure it’s good, but I had a good enough time watching it. When I was a kid I loved G.I. Joe. I remember watching the cartoon, but that’s not where my memories come from. Those would be from the toys. I had a pretty good number of action figures, vehicles and playsets all of which I would spread across my living room floor and play with for hours. We also had a fireplace made up of individual rocks, so that was the perfect place for some epic battles as well. Anyway, seeing as how all the toys (or guys as I used to call them) were tossed into a shoe box, I didn’t really know what their names were and I played with them long past when the cartoon was done, so they were just “the Cobra Viper who’s painted orange and blue” and “the guy with the beret.” I would also play with my older cousin’s Joes when I would visit my Grandma in Cleveland (as well as his Transformers), so there were even more characters I played with but didn’t really know.

All of this is a roundabout way to say that I don’t really have a connection to the Joes as characters. In fact, the three most recent incarnations I’ve encountered were the animated movie (SO weird), the Devil’s Due comic World War III (fantastic) and the first trade of the Marvel comics (boring). So, even now, my experience with the characters is pretty much “Cobra Commander is an ass,” “Destro makes weapons,” and “Snake-Eyes doesn’t talk, also likes guns and swords.” That’s a way of saying that I didn’t care that the characters probably didn’t line up with their animated and comic counterparts. That doesn’t mean that I liked the idea of all the characters being inexplicably linked to each other in complicated ways. Duke used to date Baroness. The eventual Cobra Commander is Baroness’ brother. Storm Shadow and Snake-Eyes knew each other as kids (that’s in the comics though, right?). I remember there also being talk of there being a romantic relationship between Scarlet and Snake-Eyes, but I didn’t really notice it in the movie. Oh and of course Ripcord had a thing for Scarlett (though who wouldn’t?).

The action scenes were fun and over the top. That’s the kind of craziness I like. Heck, I even dug the accelerator suit chase scenes. Maybe it’s because I went into this movie expecting absolutely nothing and knew I wasn’t going to get insulted like some nerds do, but for the most part I liked it. Having watched it about a week or two back, I can honestly say that it has mellowed better than Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen. I liked Transformers 2 while watching it, I’ve had a lot more questions and concerns after watching it, but G.I. Joe still feels about the same.

Oh, one thing that did bug me about the story was the whole turn of character with the Baroness. It’s too bad they wouldn’t let her just be an awesome villain. Take out the nonsense linking her to Duke and Cobra Commander and you’re fine, because you don’t have to explain anything away (why she turned bad). She should have just been bad the whole time. So, not only did we get robbed of the potential awesomeness of Cobra Commander as a villain throughout the whole film, but we also get the Baroness taken away from us as a rad villainess. It’s really too bad. Hopefully, screenwriters will start treating these propoerties like the rich source material they really are and make big action movies that are both fun and good. We shall see.

Alias The Final Season

I wouldn’t have thought that after my reviews of the first and second, then the third seasons of Alias that the series finale would leave me feeling kinda bummed out (though, if you read my review the the fourth season, it might not seem too out there).

This season saw the real and fake deaths of plenty of characters, the return of former regular cast members, the birth of Sydney and Vaughn’s baby, characters switching sides and the introduction of two new characters. One played by Rachel Nichols (Scarlett in the G.I. Joe movie, which I still haven’t seen) and Balthazar Getty from the very first (and most watched) David Lynch movie I ever saw Lost Highway. Their characters offer the writers to tread a lot of the same beaten paths we’ve come to expect from the show, but, like the previous season, it doesn’t really bother me and I grow to like the new characters all the while growing more and more fond of the existing ones.

This was a tough series finale because one of my favorite characters dies, but they do it saving the world, so it makes me feel a little bit better. I also like the very end of the series which jumps several years into the future and shows their daughter a little more grown up. There’s an interesting little tease there that I wonder if anyone has ever thought about picking up. Maybe Abrams didn’t get it out of his system which is why he went on to do Mission: Impossible 3 and his new upcoming spy show on NBC. We shall see.

So, in the end, I’m not sure if I can recommend watching Alias all the way through. Left to my own devices, I don’t know if I would have gotten past the first two seasons (interestingly, the ones that everyone says are brilliant), but now, 5 seasons later I find myself liking the characters and feeling like I might even miss them. But I guess you might miss anyone who’s spent so many hours in your house with you, even if it was just on a TV screen.