G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was a great movie for what it was. True to the source in spirit (for the most part), it was the same great big ball of cheese that the cartoon series was, but with an actual body count. The movie did well enough to warrant a sequel, and Justin Bieber: Never Say Never director Jon Chu is helming it. He’s definitely of the right age to appreciate what it was to be a fan of G.I. Joe in the ’80s.
Chu recently sat down with The Deadbolt for a chat about his LXD webseries, but actually had some new things to say when the subject of Joe came up. “Well, for Joe, I grew up playing with G.I. Joes and watching Joe and reading the comics of Joe. It means so much to me.”
That sounds good. Keep going.
“To me, it’s one of the few brands that has a soul, a multi-generational soul, where it’s about what it means to be a leader in the community, in your home, with your friends, and what it means to be a leader and a hero. I think that’s an important message right now in the world when everyone’s kind of questioning what it means to be the leader of the world.”
That’s … kinda strange. Sure, “knowing is half the battle” and all that, but G.I. Joe never really aspired to be much more than goofy fun, not from where my glazed young eyes were sitting.
“I think it’s not just another action movie. Maybe the first one was that, but we’re really trying to break it down and take the shine off and show that my Joes were the ones in the mud, the sand and the trees and in the epic worldwide adventures. Each one had individual talents. So we really want to bring the experience of what I grew up with playing with these toys. What it feels like so that kids now can be reintroduced to the Joes and experience it in a different way. This is like down and dirty Joe for me.”
Okay, I get it. G.I. Joe as thirty-somethings know it is a product of its time. Soldiering has changed dramatically in the past 30 years, and there’s a need to address that if the movie is going to stay relevant. Chu likes the idea of warriors with “individual talents” — a franchise trademark — but he wants a more grounded take. That’s how the quote reads to me.
No. Don’t do it. G.I. Joe without the campy lightheartedness isn’t G.I. Joe anymore. It’s just another action movie. That’s why Rise was good-not-great. It was Stephen Sommers’ brand of campy lightheartedness, and, as talented as he is, it didn’t quite mesh what the series requires. Good, not great.
Be a geek, Jon. Think back to the action figures, the cartoon and comics, the giant-ass aircraft carrier. Reintroduce the kids to that.
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