G.I. Joe: The (Un) American Hero?

Published 5 years ago by , Updated August 6th, 2012 at 5:18 pm,

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gi joe comic book 2 G.I. Joe: The (Un) American Hero?

If you are too young to be served at a bar (or are just that much of a fan), then the G.I. Joe you’re probably most familiar with is the more recent comic book incarnation that was launched after A Real American Hero faded from memory. Passed between several comic book publishers (who each did various spin-offs or miniseries), the main run of the revamped G.I. Joe comics was done by indie comic book publisher Devil’s Due, from 2001 through 2008. That G.I. Joe comic expanded the series universe to include things like mystical ninja clans (Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow’s backstory), while also broadening the scope of the series to have more international relevance. Since the conclusion of the Devil’s Due series, comic publisher IDW launched a new G.I. Joe comic book last year, which is still in publication.

I tried to read the comics a few times (the Devil’s Due and the IDW versions), but have yet to be engaged. In the end, it’s just not MY G.I. Joe, though it had undeniably been built on the foundation of that 80s incarnation.

(NOT) AMERICAN HEROES???

g i joe cast G.I. Joe: The (Un) American Hero?

…Which brings us back around to this feature film adaptation of G.I. Joe. As we reported when we first got word on the movie, The Rise of Cobra borrows many of its elements (the look, the backstories for certain characters) from the more modern version of the comic books. Sure, there are many characters we recognize but even for us 80s kids, the notion of “accelerator suits” or the Joes as a worldwide special ops force – even some of the ninja backstory between Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (Byung-hun Lee) – is somewhat new and unfamiliar.

But so what – it’s a movie. A blockbuster movie. A blockbuster movie that is supposed to play all over the world. Of COURSE there were going to be changes – changes that not only reflect the studio’s desire to make a buck in the global market, but also updates that are needed to reflect the changed attitudes toward the military, military engagement, terrorism, a “globalized” modern age, etc… etc…

John Miller complaining that this new film version doesn’t honor the original “patriotic” G.I. Joe is pointless. It’s like me complaining (as an 80s G.I. Joe kid) that the film is using realistic weaponry instead of silly red and blue lasers.

More to the point: Miler’s complaints skip over the fact that G.I. Joe has been an evolving entity for going on half a century now! While this big-screen version has been the most drastic conversion of G.I. Joe – from “Real American Hero” to “Everybody’s Hero” – it is by no means the first time such a move has been attempted.

In fact, if anyone cares to dig around, they would find that in the late sixties, in face of all the anti-Vietnam sentiment that was sweeping across America, Hasbro sought to downplay the toy’s military origins by renaming the line “The Adventures of G.I. Joe” and eventually, “Adventure Team.” The toys were relaunched in the early 70s as a team of vaguely military adventurers, all so Hasbro could continue to make a buck at a time when public sentiment had turned against their product.

So what is so different today, when Hasbro (yes, the same company) is once again re-envisioning G.I. Joe in order to sell this film at a time when public sentiment (now across the world) is once again not in favor of their product? Had Hasbro taken a hard stand and NOT changed with the times would G.I. Joe or its “patriotic” origins once again be at the forefront of American culture?

Bottom Line: Companies like making money and NOTHING is, or has ever been, too sacred for them to toss aside in order to put a newer, shiner, more widely-appealing version in its place. What could be more American, than the notion of making a profit by repackaging something old?

new gi joe trailer G.I. Joe: The (Un) American Hero?

G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra will be in theaters this Friday. Wait to see it (or don’t) and let us know what you think about this whole American/Un-American debate in the comments.

Source: Progress Not Congress via You Tube

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  1. BTW Kofi … i forgot my “I’m J/K smiley emoticon” at the end of my last post so here it is. :)

  2. @ Republibot 3.0

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The filmmakers weren’t stupid: they were going for the best of ALL worlds. They want U.S. Viewers to see a badass American kick-ass team (hence the current Kid Rock “American Badass” TV Spots); while Foreign audiences (READ: kids in other countries) still have room enough to be able to imagine themselves on that kick-ass team. It’s vaguery at its best for the sake of appealing to as many people as possible:

    It’s the same thing [successful] politicians – whether on the left or right – do to stay in office or get in office: play all sides of the fence.

  3. OllieJ, what kind of real dialogue works for you ? I love the irony, were talking about GI Joe a symbol of freedom and the American way and oh don’t talk about this or that.
    I hate politics as well,,, what I hate even more are those that preach America values while at the same time strive to control them.

    Unfortunately these days politics are involved in everything. I agree that this site shouldn’t be a forum for endless political discussion but some times its gonna pop up. I think that most people can think for themselves here. As you can see there are a lot of readers that don’t care what I’m talking about
    and are commenting on other subjects related to GI Joe…

    Now that being said I agree that its time to end the political discussion on this thread.
    Lastly I hope that GI Joe tanks and is the biggest flop of the summer. :-)

  4. @790

    I hate to disappoint you, man, but I REALLY don’t think it’s going to tank.

    People have been enjoying it, and the irony is, after people have seen it, I think this whole thread is going to become entirely moot and people are going to be commenting at ALL OF US who have debated here like “Dudes get over it.”

    LOL

    Still, it as good bumping heads with you guys.

    I’ll be seeing this movie first thing tomorrow

    ;-) YO JOE!

  5. Kofi, I’m gonna predict,,,,,,

    46mil overall weekend take.

  6. Kofi Outlaw:

    You said >>I think you’ve hit the nail on the head. The filmmakers weren’t stupid: they were going for the best of ALL worlds. They want U.S. Viewers to see a badass American kick-ass team (hence the current Kid Rock “American Badass” TV Spots); while Foreign audiences (READ: kids in other countries) still have room enough to be able to imagine themselves on that kick-ass team. It’s vaguery at its best for the sake of appealing to as many people as possible: <<

    EXACTLY! Calling this movie “Unamerican” is like saying the new 2010 Cadillacs are unamerican because you don’t like the color schemes they come in. It’s ludicrous. It’s tilting at windmills, it’s finding conspiracies and agenda where a better, easier, more likely explanation is simply ineptitude, ignorance, and greed.

  7. @790

    I say $50 mil (it is a big vacation/moving weekend) and (this is the key) that number will experience only a MILD drop-off in week 2. Word of mouth will be that it’s “Fun” and people need that at the movies right now.

    We’ll see. I might have to pay twice just to contribute to me winning this prediction.

  8. Or word of mouth could be that its funny in a bad way.
    Lol,,, I totally disagree that it will have a strong second weekend. But I’ve been wrong before.

    Anyone else have any box office predictions ????

  9. I predict it will be a good summer movie and have a number spot at the box office in some way shape or form as does just about every film. WOOT 10am SHOWING

  10. LMAO @Gekkobear

    Gastro-Intestinal Joe, that’s classic.

    @OllieJ

    “Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity”

    LMFAO!!!! Oh man, if only that was just a big joke it would have made you the funniest guy on this thread, and I thought it was until I read your other responses and realized you might actually be serious. Man, that’s what this movie is calling it?? LMAO, what a freakin joke…

    @Lord Garth

    Did you hear about when our Treasury Secretary made a speech at a Chinese University the students literally, and in front of his face, laughed at him??? LMAO. I’m glad we are taken so seriously now… At least before they were afraid of us bombing the crap out of them for laughing at us, I’d rather it be that way, lol. :-D

  11. It’s funny that G.I. Joe was marketed as “A real American hero” in the states, but the rest of the world got “G.I. Joe: International Hero”. Those crazy marketing whores…

    Having said that, I get what he’s saying. What’s the point of calling it G.I. Joe in they’re not, you know, G.I.s? That is, American General Infantry.

  12. >>What’s the point of calling it G.I. Joe in they’re not, you know, G.I.s? That is, American General Infantry.<<

    It’s a code name for “America’s elite special mission force.” Military code names frequently have nothing to do with, and are deliberately misleading. “Operation Marketgarden” had nothing to do with markets or gardens. “The Manhattan Project” was in Chicago. Chicago was from Chicago, but Cheap Trick were from Rockford, Y’know, that kind of thing.

  13. Its just a name brand they’re using to market the film to the original fans Republibot 3.0
    ^
    “America’s real elite special forces don’t go by a cool name and they don’t wear insignia on they’re uniforms”

  14. I thought GI stood for Government Issue? lol

  15. @790

    Im sure they have some name they have some name they go buy as special forces are compromised of various smaller special forces specific to the Branch…. AF has TAC-P and PJs, Navy Seals, Rangers, Human Shield- MArines ( yeh I cracked the marine joke, and yes I served so Im entitled)

    I think you may be talking specifically about the more Black Ops groups in which case they would still have a name even a generic one for identity purposes for themselves at least.

  16. True, It depends on the mission, but the real top level stuff that employs advanced nano-tech weapons and tactics like this GI Joe group, would fall under black ops or Delta Force. 8-)

  17. @ 790

    yep, or Sector 7 LOL j/k

  18. The Effiel Tower has had it coming for awhile now. :-)

  19. If you are a Marine SIN187UM, you know what’s up,,, ;-)

  20. I am an 80′s kid and I was raised on GI-Joe and Transformers but I absolutely have no problem with them making it an international team as a matter of fact even so there were international members on the team during the 80′s. The problem I have with it is that even though they wanted to make it “more realistic” and “internationally friendly”, NO ONE should be dressed in ALL black except for Snake-Eyes and The Baroness. I say that because what made the characters sooo cool was partially their SIGNATURE uniforms. Each character had a distinctive costume which was a huge part of their character aside from what their specialty or skill was,how they talked and acted. They should have found a way to keep their original uniforms without making it campy which I’m sure can be done. These characters have lost about 85% of their individuality which made them so interesting in the first place just by making them all dressed in black. Not to mention Destro without his trademark Mask?!! What the hell were they thinking,well maybe he’ll were the mask somewhere in the middle or end of the movie but he should have had it on from the beginning,that is 95% of Destro thrown away because of that. So modernization is good but don’t go overboard to point of making a whole new set of characters,taking away their essence, trademark looks and story while just stamping a famous name on it just to make it sell.(because Transformers did well) I hope this movie flops harder than fat man with heart disease eating a grease sandwhich.

  21. I am an 80′s kid and I was raised on GI-Joe and Transformers but I absolutely have no problem with them making it an international team as a matter of fact even so there were international members on the team during the 80′s. The problem I have with it is that even though they wanted to make it “more realistic” and “internationally friendly”, NO ONE should be dressed in ALL black except for Snake-Eyes and The Baroness. I say that because what made the characters sooo cool was partially their SIGNATURE uniforms. Each character had a distinctive costume which was a huge part of their character aside from what their specialty or skill was,how they talked and acted. They should have found a way to keep their original uniforms without making it campy which I’m sure can be done. These characters have lost about 85% of their individuality which made them so interesting in the first place just by making them all dressed in black. Not to mention Destro without his trademark Mask?!! What the hell were they thinking,well maybe he’ll were the mask somewhere in the middle or end of the movie but he should have had it on from the beginning,that is 95% of Destro thrown away because of that. So modernization is good but don’t go overboard to point of making a whole new set of characters,taking away their essence, trademark looks and story while just stamping a famous name on it just to make it sell.(because Transformers did well) I hope this movie flops harder than fat man with heart disease eating a fried pork grease sandwhich.

  22. @ 790

    Bro, you owe me a Coca-Cola: G.I. Joe: $57 million.

    :-P

  23. @ Kofi:

    Yeah, I was completely wrong on that as well. Weekend gross + international gross comes to something like a hundred million. Which is just as well, since I ended up liking the movie (to my surprise) and would like to see a sequel anyway.

  24. Of course my problem is that instead of lasers… I hated the cartoon and only read the comic book which had realistic small arms and I see this ‘accelerator suit’ crap as the unrealistic thing… and the bulk of this as too much of an homage o the cartoons’ style and scope.

  25. Just re-watched this for the first time since the theaters. It doesn’t hold up well at all.

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