Back in the 1980s you really couldn't top Marvel Entertainment for the kick-ass awesome ruggedness that was their weekday afternoon lineup: GI Joe and Transformers. Yeah, there were some other memorable shows from those years that rocked my world (Spiral Zone, Inhumanoids, Bionic Six and The Real Ghostbusters come to mind), but really, nothing came close to the characters, settings, plots and TOYS of GI Joe, Cobra, the Autobots and the Decepticons. Until the movies came out.
Ah, 1986's Transformers the Movie... A cinematic masterpiece of incredible visuals, unforgettable characters and a headbanging heavy metal soundtrack. No, not really (yeah, it holds a special place in my heart, and is my most watched movie ever, but Transformers the Movie was truly a mess, I admit it. The plot is lazy, the animation is really kind of shitty, and the music isn't Poison or Van Halen by any means, yet I still LOVED it as a child... but I digress). But GI Joe the Movie was SO bad that Marvel actually pulled it from being released to theaters all together! Ouch! Yeah, they blame the poor box office records of the previously released Transformers the Movie and My Little Pony the Movie as the scapegoats for the blunder of straight-to-videoing the big-screen GI Joe production, but the truth is that the film just sucked.
Everything that was so much fun with the GI Joe TV series was fucked with for the movie. The characters? They ignored fan favorites like Shipwreck, Snake Eyes, Lady Jaye and Destro and made the "new toy" characters like Lt. Falcon and Nemesis Enforcer the big guns in the movie. Yes, TF did the same thing with their movie (they were 90 minute toy commercials after all -- I understand this), but at least the new characters in TF the Movie didn't bore you or make you wish that you had more Starscream or Devastator in it... Yeah, it would have been cool if it did, but by the end credits I was actually hoping to get my hands on a Rodimus Prime or a Unicron toy -- I never wanted a Big Lob or Golobulus action figure after seeing GI Joe the Movie. I still don't, and yet just a few years ago I dropped some major mullah on a Unicron. Fuck you, GI Joe the Movie!
Anyway, blame for the abomination that is GI Joe the Movie cannot truly be dropped solely upon the writers (the same writers who already produced the most excellent 80+ episodes of the sweet TV series), as the people in charge of the toys (and thus the money) completely perverted the writers' original idea about the origin of Cobra entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in the World". This idea would have been an incredible plot for a GI Joe feature... but alas it didn't have "snake men" and a sci-fi plot that made Thundarr the Barbarian cringe in embarrassment when he heard it. "The Most Dangerous Man in the World" was supposed to be all about how the philosophy of Cobra was started by a Marx-like individual who Cobra Commander came across early in his terrorist career. CC then took the man's ideas and then twisted them to his own evil agenda (like the commies did with Marx and the Nazis with Nietzsche), and then he imprisoned this man so that nobody would know that the basis for Cobra was a false philosophy. Then, early in the movie, this man would escape and all of Cobra's global activities would cease as the entire organization stopped in order to look for the escapee. GI Joe would then begin to look for this man too, without knowing who he was, simply because Cobra deemed him so dangerous. The end of the movie was to have the Joes finding this man and then releasing him into the world at large hoping that he would spread the word that everything Cobra is based on is a lie, thusly taking away any of its remaining legitimacy, but also knowing that they just let a philosophizing terrorist free. It was kind of a "Uh, did we just win or not?" kind of awesome ending. The exact OPPOSITE of what the real GI Joe the Movie ended up being (what with the toy people originally making the writers make a "Cobra Emperor" for the cartoon, and then forcing them to make Cobra La be the REAL backbone for Cobra in the movie -- more toy sales that way).
Yes, the GI Joe TV series had elements of fantasy and sci-fi in it from the beginning, but they were fun bits and pieces and storylines that kids enjoyed. Basing the ENTIRE HISTORY of Cobra on a shitty, godawful science fiction plotline straight out of a crappy 1950s sci-fi B-movie?! No. Even as a child I remember first watching this thing and thinking that the toy makers and writers were on some heavy medication (legal or not). It is an abomination. It almost ruins all the good stuff that came before it (namely 2 mini-series and 2 seasons of great cartoons)... What a shame.
And as with my previous Joe pages (namely GI Joe Versus Cobra and Physics and the MASS Device, and GI Joe Versus the Pyramid of Darkness) I will basically just list all the stuff that doesn't make a lick of sense to an adult's sensibility (well, at least MY sensibility now... I'm kind of an adult) in the order that it happened in the animation. So, just to refresh your memory a bit -- mostly so that you don't have to rewatch this pile of crap again yourself -- here's a quick rundown of this shitty, shitty mess of a movie:
Everything starts out with an attack by Cobra on the Statue of Liberty. Cobra throws everything that they have into it, yet they get their asses handed to them and end up losing a flying aircraft carrier in the fracas as well as being shamed on the world stage. This causes Serpentor, the genetically created Cobra Emperor, to throw a hissy fit at Cobra Commander, who was in charge of Operation Lady Liberty, and also causes the rest of the Cobra hierarchy to turn on their once leader and mock him to his silver-plated face. During this "trial," Cobra HQ is infiltrated and Serpentor meets up with the trespasser, Pythona, and is told that he and Cobra have a new mission: steal the new Broadcast Energy Transmitter (that can shoot raw energy through the air) that GI Joe is for some reason testing in the Himalayas.
Serpentor obeys but gets captured, Cobra gets whipped, and Cobra Commander leads his remaining troops to "sanctuary." This sanctuary is Cobra La, the primitive, yet powerful, home of a bunch of snake-men who live in the Himalayas themselves and of whom CC is actually a member of their race. Golobulus, the leader of Cobra-La, is pissed that CC has failed to conquer the world (a job he was sent forth to do years ago), and turns him into a snake with some magic spores that revert humans (or humanoid things) back to their base creature forms (or somesuch shit)... To anybody new to this movie, I'm honestly not making this crap up.
Meanwhile, Lt. Falcon and some new Joe recruits get into trouble and allow the captured Serpentor to be rescued. Then Cobra regroups and finally steals the BET, which is needed by Cobra La in order to make the rest of those primitive-making spores, previously used on CC, blanket the entire world and turn EVERYBODY into stupid monkey or snake men. Duke
diesgoes into a coma, and then the Joes track down Cobra and Cobra La and kick their fangs in and save the world. Yay.
That's pretty much it in a nutshell. You remember now, don't you? Anyway, like I stated above, this was one shitty movie. You'll see below in the gigantic, 3-page list of all the things in this movie that confused the hell out of my mature mind.
Anyway, here's the tabulation of crap that resides in G.I. Joe the Movie in order of appearance:
1: Let's start off with the opening animation. As in the opening animation for Pyramid of Darkness, how the fuck can a Reagan-era USA (armed to the teeth and ready to shoot things) NOT see a giant, snake-themed aircraft approaching its airspace, let alone one that parks itself above our largest city?
2: Oooooh, so the GI Joe team was just waiting to ambush Cobra while hiding within the Statue of Liberty itself -- willing to let hundreds of civilians get shot, beaten or blown up in order to keep up the ruse. Jesus! Is this commie Russia we're talking about here? That's cold, man.
3. Awesome opening animation. Gotta give props when they're deserved. All the balloons, fireworks, paratroopers, trouble bubbles... but all this trouble and Cobra's only plan is to BLOW UP the Statue of Liberty?! Why all the troops and expensive vehicles? Why not just launch a few dozen missiles from 10 miles off shore?
4. Wow... How many billions did Cobra piss away here? And why just a symbolic gesture like "blowing up the Statue of Liberty"? Why not the World Trade Center or the Pentagon?... Sorry, was that too soon?
5. Whoa! First actual GI Joe animated fatality ever! Duke bazooka's Major Bludd the FUCK out of the sky at 200 feet! And if I remember correctly, Bludd isn't seen for the rest of the movie. That's why I say hey man, nice shot!
6. Damn! Second fatality following closely behind! A Cobra faceless minion is blown out of a trouble bubble, no parachute in sight.
7. Oops, my mistake. In a close-up of the flying Cobra aircraft carrier we can see that it is actually NOT a snake motif, but an Aztec skull-looking thing. WTF?
8. So all of this expensive and ill-thought-out attack on a giant, symbolic, hollow statue is just to test Cobra Commander's mettle? Why not just make him camp in the Amazon for a week, or kill a starving child with his bare hands? And what's up with Destro making CC use the same bomb that Airtight used to blow up Cobra's flying fortress in the 1st season's opening animation? Yeah, it's proven to be a powerful enough explosive device, but was there no missile money left after the operation's budget got way out of control?
9. Yet another Cobra fatality. A Viper in a trouble bubble is blown to Hell by a missile. Apparently the Joes planned their allocations better than Cobra.
10. One more Cobra trooper bites the dust, this time thanks to the Joe's resident ninja, Snake Eyes, flipping a Cobra Flight Pod upside down, thusly hurling the poor man to his doom on the pavement many feet below. I'm actually starting to feel a little sympathetic to Cobra now.
11. Alpine is one bad mother fucker! He grapple-hooks up and around Lady Liberty, hooks a rocketing Firebat jet plane and hangs on long enough to crawl up the line to the cockpit while it's doing at least 200 MPH. Then he shatters the windshield with a hammer and escapes before it crashes and burns by grappling Snake Eyes' commandeered trouble bubble and flying away to fight another day!.... He must only be a complete pussy when he's hanging out with Bazooka.
12. Okay, I get it. Every Joe has a different uniform from everybody else because they're the best of the best and in order to reflect their special training and just to show how cool they are... But why does Blizzard wear arctic whites and fur to a summer battle in New York City? Could nobody spare him some cammo?
13. 500 plus casualties at least. I'm talking about when Duke takes Cobra's bomb from the base of the Statue and attaches it to the underside of that giant, flying fortress in the sky. How many billions of bucks more did he just send to Hell in that one shot? And how come the Joes weren't aiming for that hovering aircraft carrier before then?
14. Cobra's "Operation Kill Liberty" lasts less than 3.5 minutes. I think my third grade class could have beaten them in under 5.
15. In the opening credits Don Johnson gets top billing?! Ugh... If that's not a sign of what's to come I don't know what is.
16. So, after that disaster in New York, Serpentor chews out Cobra Commander for being a "blunderer" and a "fool." Rightly so too. But, if that's the case (and it's been proven to Serpentor over and over again in the TV series), then why does he continue to put the Commander in charge of all these Liberty-sized operations? They're terrorists -- why not just shoot him in his metallic face plate? Or is that just too naughty for the man with Genghis Khan's DNA in his body?
17. Seriously, Serpentor's costume is REALLY flaming. It's a gold and green body suit covered in scales, and trailing a flowing cape with at least 5 (count 'em, FIVE) snake heads somewhere on it. And the snakes on his shoulders actually wriggle and writhe constantly. And they hiss. Are they actually alive? Animatronic? Gay either way.
18. Kinky. Just where was Pythona hiding that GIGANTIC, four-headed, electric-fence eating eel when she first breaks into the outer border of Cobra's HQ, the Terrordrome? She's only wearing a leotard under that poncho.
19. Who actually okayed Mindbender's uniform? No shirt, but a cape, black gloves and a monocle, and an 19th century handle-bar mustache. Somebody had to say, "Hmmm, well, you're going to be a little cold, but I guess if you're okay with it then that's fine with me." Waitaminute! Mindbender dressed Serpentor, didn't he! Ah, now it all makes sense.
20. Yeah, Cobra Commander sunk a whole lot of time, money and energy into the Cobra Organization, but if his subordinates hated him enough to first create Serpentor in order to replace him, and then outright mutiny on him in front of their big, gay replacement, wouldn't you just walk away from it all if you were a part of this chump outfit? You know, trade in all of your Cobra secrets to the Joes for amnesty, or simply create a new organization for terrorism? What's with all this loyalty to a group that's filled with idiots who love snakes just a little too much?