Whatever happened to a world where you could sit back and get lost in the ridiculous world of super heroes? Chris Nolan’s Dark Knight films were awesome; a big part was believing the unreal could be real. I feel this same formula was applied to The Rock‘s film, “GI Joe Retaliation” because
- Production design issues – uniformed costumes lack originality
- Chanting out “hoorah” instead of “Yo Joe”
- The Rock is the lead (c’mon now) and a plot to set up a third film
- Use Dark Knight ideas to explain the ridiculous (spelunking?)
The Dark Knight influence in Production Design:
The first Dark Knight film explains Batman’s choice in gear. The GI Joe team also has some unique gear, but not all true to the old characters. The ninjas have realistic, yet true to character costumes. But you can’t tell much difference from one Joe to another in the production design. But I guess that is to make a military outfit more “uniform.” The vehicles in the film are very toyetic and adapted models of the old toys. The Cobra Commander costume is great, and explains the choice for the mirror mask.
“The Rock” as a leader
I didn’t think Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson as the action film lead, but I did. Roadblock has a few tongue-in-cheek moments, but doesn’t seem that tough. Apparently he did help save the franchise for a third GI Joe film in the works. It was also bittersweet to see that Bruce Willis replaced Sgt. Slaughter. Then again, the Dark Knight idea seems to make more sense to have an action hero than an aged wrestler.
Yo Joe? True to G.I. Joe universe?
All versions of GI Joe have the chant: “Yo Joe!” I guess again going with the Dark Knight, having a military chant “Hoorah!” makes more sense, even Cobra Commander says it. But Cobra’s plot of dropping Tungsten rods from space for global domination is VERY true to the old G.I. Joe feeling. But what about the Joes? Did Flint and Lady Jaye really act like their characters?
The film does have some notable nods for the GI Joe fans with their production design. Did you notice the news van with Extensive Enterprises on it? The corporate face of Cobra owned by Xamot and Tomax. They show file cards in the opening sequence, like on the back of the toys. Gung-Ho must have made the cupcake (“a gumbo chef”) during a banter scene with “The Rock.” The Marvel Comics inspired several moments in the film as well. Finally, many Joe characters were in this but weren’t mentioned. Even Zartan’s brother, Zandar is the Chief of Security.
“GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra,” was a bit over the top and ridiculous production design. “GI Joe Retaliation” was a bit too serious and realistic. Perhaps the third film will find some common middle ground. Hopefully, Hasbro/Paramount won’t dumb down the source material for comic geeks by pulling another Dark Knight on us. I loved the action and ninja fights, but could have just seen The Rock on WWE. In the next film, I’d love to see The Crimson Twins, Drednoks and far more Joes (especially the Sarge). Perhaps Destro will get revenge and create Serpentor and a Terror Dome – or at least a M.A.S.S. Device.
MTV listing of Joe Easter Eggs http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1704645/gi-joe-retaliation-easter-eggs.jhtml G.I. Joe Retaliation on IMDB http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1583421/triviaG.I. Joe animation review on Yahoo! Voices – http://voices.yahoo.com/yo-joe-review-gi-joe-animated-cartoon-in-11991068.html?cat=2Dark Knight article on Yahoo Voices – http://voices.yahoo.com/why-so-serious-3696148.html?cat=40