Monday, September 07, 2009


I Remember: G.I. Joe

I recently saw the new G.I. Joe film. It was really cool. Lots of great special effects and cool gadgets and weapons. It got me thinking about the original cartoon from the 80s which I watched, and the comic book which I read for about 5 years.

The TV show started with a mini-series. GI Joe and Cobra went on a global hunt for three special ingredients to a special doomsday machine. It eventually went into a daily series where each week Cobra was foiled by Joe is they quest to take over the world. It was never really clear where Cobra got all they funding and how they could afford to buy all the choppers that the Joes shot down each episode or pay the mercenaries who bailed out of the choppers that the Joes shot down every episode. The comic book went into a lot more detail about their organization but the back story was never really explored that well. They also had to cool Cobra Island story where the Joes were tricked into detonating a ton of underwater explosives triggered a tectonic event which created a new island. At which point the secret Cobra organization became a nation recognized by the U.N. That was pretty cool.

The movie had the predicable one-liner references to the show, "He's a real American hero" and "Knowing is half the battle." But it also had a completely plausible origin story for the well funded terrorist organization Cobra. An super smart scientist stumbles across some groundbreaking nono-technology and he is able to adapt it to use for mind control and facial reconstruction. This guy goes on to become Cobra Commander. The mind control technology explains the source of the power, both money and man-power. It is very powerful technology for whoever first masters it and could easily turn someone into a very powerful threat. I'm not sure if I like the change of the Baroness from just evil villainess to the unwilling mind controlled sister of the Cobra Commander and ex-fiance of Duke, the newest member of the G. I. Joe team. Woman can be beautiful and evil. It made for a good love story though. Pretty much all of the characters Destro, Zartan, Snake Eyes, Storm Shadow had their origin stories presented in the film. Something I never got in the show. Even if the movie had been a flop (it wasn't so expect more) it would have been great for me to know the back stories of the characters I've known for so long. And knowing is half the battle.

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