Friday, August 7, 2009

Box Office Review - G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra

G.I. Joe takes place in the not too distant future where apparently all female military officers are required to wear form fitting uniforms. Also there is more gadgetry then the Sean Connery, Timothy Dalton, Roger Moore, and Pierce Brosnan Bond films combined. Neither of these things is a bad thing and I actually enjoyed this film.

I did not want to enjoy the movie. For the first fifteen minutes I was resisting the films ridiculousness, but then it drew me in and I happily went along for the ride. It is going to be hard to not compare G.I. Joe to Transformers as they are both Hasbro toy lines, so I am just going to get that out of the way now. This is much better than the Transformers films. Those films are taking themselves too serious and that is not enjoyable at all. G.I. Joe on the other hand is a live action two hour Saturday morning cartoon. I am not sure if director Stephen Sommers did this on purpose or not, but it is nice to have a movie based on a toy line realising it is not suppose to be serious.

The movie’s strongest element is the cast and the characters they play. The film doesn’t focus on one main character but rather the entire group of G.I. Joes as a whole. Channing Tatum and Marlon Wayans play friends Duke and Ripcord. Wayans has a much better track record than Tatum (that is if you have only seen Requiem for a Dream and The Ladykillers). Neither of them are great here. They do have good chemistry though so their performances are easy to watch. Rachel Nichols (P2) plays Scarlett the beautiful genius. She is much better here than in P2. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (best known as Mr. Eko from Lost) plays Heavy Duty. He is one of three actors returning from Sommer’s Mummy franchise. Saïd Taghmaoui (Three Kings, I Heart Huckabees, Lost) is Breaker. He doesn’t have much to do with the action, but is a technology wizard. Ray Park ( X-Men, The Phantom Menace) is Snake Eyes. For a character that doesn’t talk he is the most interesting Joe. Dennis Quaid shows up as General Hawk. His role is small, but hey at least he is getting work. The second Joe from a Sommer’s mummy film is Brendan Frasier who has a tiny cameo as Sergeant Stone. I have no problems with any of the actors who were Joes. They all seemed to have fun with the movie and that translates to fun for the audience. Where some of the acting gets a little crazy is in the group of Cobras or for those not familiar, the bad guys. Sienna Miller is the first one we are introduced to, starring as The Baroness. She was good, don’t get me wrong but sometimes she was too over the top. She was not as bad as Joseph Gordon-Levitt though. He is a great actor, but here playing the doctor he was less than. He is wearing a mask for the majority of scenes and his hand movement when he is talking are so exaggerated that it doesn’t even match what he is saying. This could have been simply by some direction by Stephen Sommer’s. As for the last actor brought over from The Mummy franchise it is the mummy himself Arnold Vosloo. He has a small but important role as Zartan master of disguise.

G.I. Joe is a far from perfect movie. There are many poor special effects throughout the film. It relies heavily on CG to create the sets as well as for the characters to perform stunts. This really took me out of the film, but then I realise I am not that absorbed in the film to begin with. All I am is an onlooker and that is all you have to be. The plot moves along well. It is not confusing or hard to follow. The action while at times spectacular is just decent throughout. I didn’t need to shut my brain off as I wanted to believe the cartoon world that was being portrayed. If you are willing to spend two hours in the G.I. Joe world, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t enjoy this. Guaranteed though a lot of people won’t like this film. The general consensus now is that films like this should be serious. That should not be the case. For films such as Batman that fits perfectly, but for a film that is based on a toy line the last thing I want is a dark brooding film. G.I. Joe is a very enjoyable and easy movie to watch. That is what I wanted from it. What more can you ask from a film than to meet your expectations.

A Good Banana

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