The more I read and write about the G.I. Joe film, directed by Stephen Sommers, the more excited I get. I think it can be a great movie, but only if they avoid some mistakes that seem to be popping up.
When I was 8 years old, Transformers and G.I. Joe were just coming out (circa 1984), and it was great to be a kid! I didn’t hate Michael Bay’s Transformers movie; sure it had its faults, but I had a great time watching it. However, I think things could be worse for G.I. Joe if the director, producers and studio (Paramount) aren’t careful.
Probably the biggest one is taking away the whole “Real American Hero” motto and vibe from the film. I know that they’re hoping to make it more of a UN-style team, but G.I. Joe is as American as, well to borrow an old cliche, apple pie! Superman Returns erred when they removed “American way” from Perry White’s speech, “Truth, justice and all that stuff.” The writers even admitted that they didn’t want it in! Big mistake! However, I still enjoyed the movie, despite some other issues.
Look at recent movies that take a decidedly negative view of America and the Iraq War: In the Valley of Elah, Rendition, The Kingdom and others. Everyone of them took pot shots at America, and each bombed in the theatre. The box office analysts explained that no one wanted to watch a movie about a conflict that’s still on TV. Maybe so, but I think if you’re dissing on America, it’s gonna bite the film in the keester.
I don’t want to get into a political fight, but that could be one heck of a big mistake. It’s the equivilant of taking another country’s most cherished pop icon, and making it less about the country than it should. For instance, the American Godzilla movie. Nuff said.
One other thing that bugged me was the casting of Channing Tatum as Duke. He just seems like a pretty boy; I would’ve loved to have seen a younger Bruce Willis-type to play him, but I’m going to have to have faith that he’s the right choice.
Okay, I don’t have a problem with Sommers (The Mummy) directing. Sure, his last film, 2004’s so-so Van Helsing, but I enjoyed the two Mummy films, plus Deep Rising was a fun, underrated movie that Disney bumped to the January 1998 cemetery. Could a director with war movie experience do better, like a John McTiernan? Probably, but I’m going to keep my fingers crossed here.
Don’t forget about the cast! I am happy with Ray Park (Darth Maul) as Snake Eyes, and Dennis Quaid as General Hawk, and Arnold Vosloo (The Mummy) as Zartan, are inspired choices. Read about that here.
After the casting of Cover Girl, I could feel myself starting to get excited. I even went to some fansites to get caught up on the characters. Unlike Transformers, I haven’t followed G.I. Joe at all, so I need a little re-educating.
If the producers and Sommers can avoid some of the mistakes above (and make Tatum a kick butt Duke), I think we’ll end up with a great movie!