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Based on a cast of fictional heroes and villains that make up the "G.I. Joe vs. Cobra" fantasy. The premise of this fantasy is the story of the G.I. Joe team, led by Duke, and their "fight for freedom wherever there is trouble" against the evil Cobra Commander and his Cobra force.
The G.I. Joe team will not be based in Brussels. Instead, they will be based out of the "Pit" as they were throughout the 1980s comic book series. And, in keeping with the G.I. Joe vs. Cobra fantasy, the movie will feature characters and locations from around the world. Duke, the lead character and head of the G.I. Joe team, will embody the values of bravery and heroism that the first generation of G.I. Joe figures established.
Though I’m the right age for it, I’ve never had the childhood attachment to G.I. Joe that a lot of you have. I played with Transformers, and the only kid I knew who had G.I. Joe dolls was primarily known by my friends and me as “Urine Kid”. So now I unfairly associate the characters and the toys with a faintly nauseating ammonia smell.
Still, it was every bit the phenomenon that Transformers was, reaching it’s zenith with the cartoon series, right around the time Optimus Prime burst on the scene to transform into things. Unlike Transformers though, G.I. Joes were flying off the shelves decades before their 80s popularity. Your dad may have had one as a kid, since they first burst onto the scene as a toy back in the 60s.
G.I. Joe was meant to be the boy’s answer to the Barbie doll. That’s right guys; you were playing with man-Barbie. See what I mean? You should have gone for that super-cool transforming robot next to it on the shelf instead. Later the toy became less of a doll, more of an action figure, and infinitely cooler.
Turning this much beloved toy and television franchise into a movie is a process fraught with peril. To some extent, making Transformers work on screen is by comparison easy. All they really needed to do was make vehicles turning into robots look realistic, and the rest falls into place around it. For Joe though, director Stephen Sommers is working with something a little more tricky.
It’s tricky, because it’s a lot less unique. Normally you take a property like this, and to turn it into a live-action movie you simply try to make it more realistic. But these are toy soldiers we’re talking about here, and if you do that you’ll end up with some sort of bizarre war documentary. Nobody wants that. Too fanciful though, and you end up with something laughably cartoony. If that’s you’re angle, then might as well have brought in some animators and dispensed with the live action thing entirely.
Will a G.I. Joe movie be huge? Absolutely. Expect the same kind of opening day business Transformers did, based on name recognition alone. Yet whether or not it’ll be any good depends entirely on which direction they decide to take it. Sommers has to land his movie somewhere between dead serious and silly, no easy task when you’re talking about adapting a bunch of man-Barbies which were only originally only given a story as a way to sell plastic weapon accessories.