Wednesday, September 2, 2009

GI Joe: my review [Connor]

I recently watched the movie GI Joe, and I fully and sincerely recommend it to anybody craving a two-hour long montage of ridiculously overdone computer-generated laser battles, absurdly grandiose secret underground fortresses, and laughably mediocre acting. Combine that with a plot that feels like it was written by the screenwriters’ children during an activity on Take Your Kid to Work Day, and you have your end result: a movie ridiculously overdone, absurdly grandiose, and laughably mediocre.

In addition, the movie is riddled with scenes, dialogue and other elements so unrealistic and juvenile that it is surprising that actual actors play the characters, rather than the original action figures suspended in the air by strings.

For instance, during the Paris chase scene, Snake Eyes* gets on top of the speeding Hummer and starts sticking a katana through the roof while trying to reach his nemesis Storm Shadow**, a problem that I expect will be hard to explain to the mechanic. In order to get him off, the bad guys inside push a button that causes a rack of spikes to come out of the front of the car. When the Hummer hits a car, it flips said car spectacularly in a thirty-foot arc over the Hummer. Was this Hummer really manufactured with an appendage specifically designed to flip cars over it? Or does it have some real use, like. . . um. . . er. . . agriculture?

Actually, I can think of one practical use for it. I mean, haven’t you ever gotten stuck on the 75-mph freeway behind one of those terminally slow drivers who will really floor it one day and go, say, 35? Well, if you have that handy-dandy patented trailer-hitch-attachable titanium-alloy Car Flipper, you can hit the gas and flip those pesky slow drivers right over your car! Problem solved! It’s only a matter of time until it’s advertised on long infomercials exhibiting its many uses and stating that, if you call now, you will receive NOT ONLY a second Car Flipper ABSOLUTELY FREE, but also the handy Sunroof-Mounted Laser Cannon!

I wasn‘t kidding about that laser. Later on in the chase, the bad guys in the Hummer press yet another button*** and this laser cannon thing comes out of the top of the Hummer. Where did THAT come from? Unless it’s a Magical Materializing Laser Cannon, it would have to have come DIRECTLY OUT OF THE BACKSEAT. So basically, this car has got a giant laser gun occupying the middle back seat. What would you do with that thing during a road trip? Pass time by blowing up passing traffic? Throw a pillow over it and fall asleep on it? And I bet that backseat laser cannon would be pretty hard to explain when the cop pulls you over for speeding, and, I suppose, blowing up cars with a laser. Heck, even going through a Wendy’s drive-thru with one of those could raise awkward questions.****

There are more complex flaws, too. I mean, when did Cobra Commander turn evil? The movie features a dramatic backstory where, as an innocent young soldier, he stumbles upon a laboratory containing information that could one day kill thousands. Without skipping a beat, he is suddenly and inexplicably transformed into an evil genius. Instantly. There's no time to even decide to turn evil, let alone any decent character development. Is he really transformed in the blink of an eye from a naive young good guy into a creepy madman who is apparently distantly related to Michael Jackson? Imagine if Darth Vader's story was like that: a nine-year-old Anakin Skywalker fresh out of the Podrace witnesses the Force and immediately turns to the Dark Side. Be kind of a letdown, wouldn't it?

Granted, there are situations where GI Joe is a movie not only appropriate to watch, but preferable. An group of eight-year-olds at a sleepover, for example, ideally at 3 in the morning. But if that, by any chance, is not your case, then I suggest you watch something with a little more depth and thought behind it. I suggest the "Charlie Bit Me" video on Youtube.

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*Played by the same actor who plays Darth Maul. In this, he plays a ninja who has taken a vow of silence. As I recall, Darth Maul had one speaking line. Apparently, they don’t trust his acting enough to allow him any dialogue.
**Yes, Storm Shadow. That's his name. I would have gone with just "Storm" or just "Shadow." It's as if someone gave him a list of evil nicknames, but he couldn't pick just one. I can imagine: "Hmm, there's Wrench, Griphook, Shadow, Viroid, Megatron, Evilor, Dino-tor, Storm, and Syphilis. Oh, can't choose! How about Storm Megatron Shadow? Oh, Megatron's taken? Okay, fine..."
***There’s a whole RACK of buttons in there. What do the rest of them control? Decepticon mode? Pop-out juice machine?
****Like: “Is that a laser?”

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