Ever wonder why you have no childhood memory of rushing down to the nearby 32 Megacineplex to watch G.I. Joe: The Movie? After the box office fizzle of The Transformers: The Movie, the producers went the straight to video route for the battle between the G.I. Joe force and Cobra.
Eventually split it up into five parts to show on television, it never flickered on the sliver screen. This is a shame since this movie was meant to be seen on something bigger than your family’s 22 inch Trinitron. The release of G.I. Joe: The Movie on Blu-ray allows fans a chance to absorb the action on a screen as large as the local shoebox cinemas.
Imagine taking a footlocker full of G.I. Joe and Cobra action figures and dumping them it over the Statue of Liberty. That’s the opening of G.I. Joe: The Movie. Every character trapped inside a blister pack at Toys R’ Us battles over the historic landmark. The two sides use every attack vehicle from the toy catalog. This is an overwhelming ballistic ballet as lasers and bullet fill the air. Yet somehow Lady Liberty doesn’t get ripped into a million metal chunks as Cobra Commander flies down to plant a bomb on the statue. It really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, given that it’s obvious Cobra has enough firepower to destroy it from a distance using their various attack crafts. But where’s the fun in a simple blast? This movie is all about excess without making too much of a mess.
After Cobra is defeated, the villains meet up at the Terrordome for a group blame game session. Turns out that Cobra Commander is no longer top on the snake totem. He must answer to Serpentor, a man dressed in a golden cobra suit that must take five hours and two assistants to zip up. In the midst of bickering they’re invaded by a weird creature that informs them of the forgotten history of Cobra-La. Before the nostalgia takes hold, they’ve got a new plot to steal the Joes’ newest secret weapon called the Broadcast Energy Transmitter (BET). This has a slight comic element as you might think they’re wanting to hijack the cable channel that promoted Hot Ghetto Mess. Ultimately Cobra Commander ends up seeking refuge in Cobra-La and their leader Golobulus (voiced by Burgess Meredith).
The important subplot deals with Duke’s half-brother Falcon (voiced by Miami Vice‘s Don Johnson). He’s a bit of a jerk who ultimately needs to have his ass busted hard by Sgt. Slaughter (voiced by the pro wrestling icon of the same name) at the Slaughter House. He learns duty, honor and respect. The training makes him at least half the soldier of his half brother. He has to be part of the strike force that must defeat Cobra over control of BET.
No matter how goofy the animated G.I. Joe: The Movie gets, it’s much more entertaining than last summer’s live action G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. At least here you can you can figure out most of the characters are since they look like the toys. The original movie wonderfully goes over the top in message and action. This is an action figure’s action film.
The video gives the viewer the option to watch the film in full screen (1.33:1) or anamorphic widescreen (1.78:1) on both the Blu-ray and the DVD. The 1080p image of the movie does bring out the colors and action especially in the Statue of Liberty opening. The audio on the Blu-ray is 2.0 stereo. The DVD is 2.0. Since this is a cartoon, all the sounds come from the recording studio so the levels are good. It’s good to hear Burgess Meredith sound evil once more.
Bonus DVD contains the Movie and all the bonus features found on the Blu-ray including the script.
Audio Commentary features story consultant Buzz Dixon. He gives away all the secrets from the set. Turns out the opening battle was done after the script was finalized. He has a plenty of self-deprecating humor about what was done in the movie. He never met Don Johnson since his recording was done elsewhere. Buzz wrote the script, but the other guy had it in his contract for sole credit.
Knowing is Half the Battle PSAs (4:03) features eight tips to doing things right. Remember that lying makes an accident worse. If only Martha Stewart had followed this advice.
Art Gallery features about a dozen character designs and production drawings.
Original Script can be downloaded off your computer’s DVD-ROM drive. This feature isn’t on the Blu-ray.
G.I. Joe: The Movie is the ultimate over the top battle between the Joes and Cobra. They even threw in new characters to make sure this isn’t a rehash of the TV series. The Blu-ray amps up the detail and colors of the characters. This is a toy chest in full effect.
Shout! Factory presents G.I. Joe: The Movie. Directed by: Don Jurwich. Starring: Don Johnson, Burgess Meredith and Sgt. Slaughter. Written by: Ron Friedman. Running time: 93 minutes. Rating: Unrated. Released on DVD: July 27, 2010.
Joe Corey is the writer and director of "Danger! Health Films" currently streaming on Night Flight and Amazon Prime. He's the author of "The Seven Secrets of Great Walmart People Greeters." This is the last how to get a job book you'll ever need. He was Associate Producer of the documentary "Moving Midway." He's worked as local crew on several reality shows including Candid Camera, American's Most Wanted, Extreme Makeover Home Edition and ESPN's Gaters. He's been featured on The Today Show and CBS's 48 Hours. Dom DeLuise once said, "Joe, you look like an axe murderer." He was in charge of research and programming at the Moving Image Archive.