Whilst talking to my good friend and contemporary Matthew I realized that the GI Joe movie-film was due out in a mere two weeks. Two weeks until my childhood barrels into theaters guns blazing but never hitting a target. GI Joes was never my favorite cartoon, heck I don’t think it’s even in my top 10, but the show did endear to my heart after frequent adolescent viewings. The premise in case you’re a robot with no childhood is the tried and true…army dudes fighting evil. You got your leader(Duke), the babe(Scarlet), the cool guy(Heavy Duty), and the god damn ninja (Snake Eyes). They fought terrorists before fighting terrorists was cool. Terrorists so badass they named themselves after a friggin snake, the Cobra, and dropped bombs on civilized society like it was eatin Sunday brunch with the folks.
It’s odd but I find myself remembering the villains better than the heroes, which may be why the trailers for this new movie are focusing on Destro and Cobra Commander as well as the hot chick with glasses who’s name I don’t even remember more than the Joes. This has got some people in a tizzy however(hahaaa tizzy) I read a blog earlier by a guy whos angry that “Hollywood” isn’t showing the GI Joes as patriotic enough. Don’t get me wrong…I love ‘Merica as much as the next communist killin’, apple pie eatin’ , railroad buildin’, oil tycoon can…but how American were the GI Joes anyway? I mean I don’t particularly remember an episode where they burst into a room and start reading the Emancipation Proclamation…although I do vaguely remember one where Shipwreck had to impale a nazi on an American flag.
Speaking of Shipwreck, he’s the only member of the GI Joes I have a discernable attitude towards. For the most part you can lump them all into one category, patriots…for instance Snake Eyes is a patriot ninja, but Shipwreck was…different. He and his parrot were often the comedic relief which was gladly accepted in the war torn horizons depicted in 1980’s cartoons, but he was also the main character in one of the most horrifying episodes of anything I’ve ever seen…an episode known simply as “There’s No Place Like Springfield“.
I didn’t see this episode as a child, I saw it for the first time in high school. I fear if I had seen it sooner it would have broken my fragile young mind. Basically, Shipwreck gets knocked out while fighting Cobra and when he wakes up hes in a hospital with his family around him but he has amnesia, he can’t remember he’s a Joe. He tries to remember his “new” family and his “wonderful” life but he can’t seem to get a grasp on it but at least he’s happy? So he gets to go home with his wife and daughter and has horrifying nightmares while with them and at some point i think even blacks out into a coma. The parrot appears at times and just mouths off omninous random things as opposed to its usual hilarious banter. It was basically his spirit beast leading him on a journey through the depths of his inner psyche and the tortured reality that Shipwreck could never be the same again.
Well anyway he decides to try and remember what his job is. He goes to “work” and its like a construction job or something and all the Joes are there, but have mundane normal jobs. This breaks the amnesia and he remembers them for who they are, and while trying to convince them he grabs one of them…and they melt. It’s not really just the melting that does it…they literally waste away in his hands with no explanation. I think his wife and daughter even show up and melt as well, but basically in the scope 3 minutes every person he trusts…everyone he loves…dissipates into a horrible glob of slime…and it’s sentient. It ATTACKS him. So we’re left with Shipwreck screaming “NOOOOOOOOOOO” as he’s enveloped by a gelatenous monster that used to be his loved ones…And the worst part is, for some reason…there was no “To be continued”.
It actually appeared that this was how they were ending the series so you can bet I was there the next night it came on and lo and behold everything was explained as an elaborate Cobra plot, but thats not what’s important. What’s important is they could show this amazing journey of Shipwrecks lost soul in a children’s cartoon. Much like his namesake, his spirit was wrecked upon the shores of life and only friendship and yelling “Go Joe!” could fix that. This episode gave me newfound respect for the GI Joes…but futhermore a justifiable terror of Cobra, as they did something so magnficently evil I’m afraid the film won’t live up to my expectations of them.
Can a GI Joe live action movie even work? As I mentioned earlier theres a few internetmen (sort of like mitiamen except don’t sleep in other peoples houses) who believe that it can’t and that Hollywood has ruined the spirit of GI Joe but I’m not sure I agree. Sure, they took the red and blue out of the logo and got rid of the army camo but as far as we know those are the only changes and they’re pretty minor. As for being patriotic enough I don’t particularly remember anytime when I watched the cartoon that I thought, “Yeah thats how ‘Merica does it!”, the show was more for any kid regardless of nationality. I mean it seems like GI Joe prided itself on including every race and creed to their ranks, showing marginal acceptance of other nations. Why should a live action movie be any different? What exactly would the script even look like for an American GI Joe movie anyway?
Int. Cobra Hideout
The JOES are huddled in a corner behind some crates, watching COBRA COMMANDER kick puppies. The camera pans slowly over DUKE’s topless chest. You can tell his brow is furrowed by the clenching of his pecks. The camera zooms past diagonally, briefly pausing on his dogtags, glistening brightly even in the shadows of the dimly lit Cobra cave…the dogtags a beacon of hope in the darkest of times.
INSERT: A closeup of DUKE’s mouth, his rugged jawbone clenched securely as he whispers:
Other Joes (screaming):
SLOW MOTION PAN: The JOES erupt from their corner, all but they are black and white, each JOE is silhoutted in dark blue, their shadows a bright white. As they massacre the COBRA troops the blood hits their weapons, the ground and the walls painting an American flag in the process. Duke puts a desert eagle to Cobra Commanders forehead who is holding a puppy by its collar in one hand and a knife in the other.
You don’t have the stones, boy.
Drop the puppy.
COBRA COMMANDER drops the puppy and lunges towards DUKE with the knife. Duke blasts a hole in COMMANDER’s face whirls around and grabs the puppy before it hits the ground. ZOOM iN on the puppy’s eye as it looks up at DUKE, a tear can be seen falling down its cheek.
EXT Baseball Field
The JOES are playing baseball with the puppies and eating hot dogs and apple pie. Kelly Clarkson can be heard on the radio. HAWK approaches DUKE.
Good work out there.
All in a day’s work, sir.
Yes…I suppose it is. I suppose it is.
Fade out to DUKE reading the Declaration of Independance as an eagle soars by behind the credits.
I think I could write an entire movie like this…I’m just not sure if I could get Dennis Quaid to star in it, I’d probably have to settle for Randy. I’ll leave you with a picture I found of Heavy Duty from the movie that I can really find nothing wrong with.
Breedo listened to Jay Z’s single DOA the entire time he wrote this post…nothing more American than that.