Thursday, August 13, 2009

Meanwhile at the Movies... G.I. JOE... Now I know...

and it's kind of an okay flick.

Mindless? Sure.
Fun? Sort of.
Terrible? Mostly not.
Cool? Sort of.

As the buzz has been, it's nowhere near as horrible as we feared (but that's not saying alot).
The do-hickey suits aren't as bad as they looked, and there's a lot of really decent stuff in play... and yeah, plenty of cheese, and lame casting, performances, and spins on things... but mostly it's an enjoyable romp for 13 year old boys, and those that can throw down with that level of entertainment.
So, me :D

The main offense here is Snake Eyes.
Mis-cast as Ray Park, who has the chops, but a terrible build for the part, Snake looks way too short and stocky, and not very ninja like.
Of course, his god awful suit design doesn't help anything... what the hell is with the Schumacher-style muscle-sculpted torso, with generic JCPenny cargo pants?!?!
To say nothing of those LIPS!!!
My god man, WTF?!?!
Lips?!?
Look, I knew they were coming going in, but they're so much worse than you'd ever think... like Steven Tyler/Easter Island ginormous LIPS?!?!
It's too bad, he's by far the coolest character, and he's woefully mismanaged here.
He looks like a fucking guy in a ninja turtle suit!!! No joke!

In other bad casting news, Channing Tatum can't act his way out of a paper bag, at least in this movie. I've not seen much with him in it, but I got the impression the kid was supposed to be good, and I've nothing against him, he sure looks the part, but man, he was bad, just flat, lifeless, and did I mention BAD?!?

Completing the axis of evil casting? We have Dennis Quaid.
Love the guy, but wow, just a horrible choice for Hawk.
He must be friends with the director, Stephen Sommers.
Because he sure doesn't work here.

And as bad as they all were, the casting is otherwise really good.
Sienna Miller is strong as the Baroness.
Joseph Gordon is solid as what becomes Cobra Commander, in spite of what seemed an odd choice (the kid is just good).
Destro's good, Storm Shadow's good, Scarlett's really good, Mr. Echo... I mean Heavy Duty, even Marlon Wayans is really good with what he's given.

It is odd that the story centers around a pre-Cobra setup, and that so much of what worked so well with the "real American hero" toy line, is not in play, or reworked. The characters and designs at play for that were so ahead of their time, they really didn't need to shy away from most of it.
Hopefully, if we get a sequel, that will all be in more play.

And why, why on Earth, when you've got a classic piece of iconic music, like the theme from the cartoon, is it nowhere to be found?!?!
Especially when there's no score to speak of?!?!
Why do studios keep ignoring the music??!!
The score can take a decent movie, and elevate it.
For god's sake, where was the music?!?
That's half the fucking battle you twits, not ham fisting the tag lines into self-referential in-joke bullshit dialogue!!!!??!!
Fuck!

Then there's the direction of the story, more espionage than battle, again, which we knew going in, with the "global team" focus, and it mostly works, but then at the end we get a 50,000 leagues under the sea/Phantom Menace Gungan city battle, and it's supposed to play like a mix of Battlestar Galactica, and Star Wars, but it really just looks silly and has no real punch.

Then, there's the limited scope of the Joe cast of characters.
We only really get a sense of their scale in an early montage, and otherwise follow a half dozen or so main characters throughout, with generic soldiers filling in the background.
Lame.

So, despite all of my many grievances, I still rather enjoyed the movie, and think it was, in spite of being another watered-down Hollywood botch job, a mostly fun flick, that I'd be happy to watch again. It does get some of it right, and contain some of the vibe we all loved so much with the toys, comics, and cartoons. Some tweaking to Snake Eyes, soul infusion for Tatum, and embracing of the source material, and the franchise could be a winner.

RECOMMENDED (for Joe fans)
MILDLY RECOMMENDED (for non-Joes)