Once upon a time, I had a vision.
A glorious vision, the sort of vision that got people burned as heretics in the Dark Ages, yet was no less true for its ostentatiousness.
I dreamed I stood on a cliff, staring out at a roiling sea. Clouds skirted the horizon, the sun burned like a vengeful eye, and below me the cliffs were alive with plumes and torrents as the sea crashed and raged.
A sea of absolute bullshit.
It’s possible I was biased against the GI Joe movie from the very start. Watching the trailers gave me a horrifying clarity, a window into what it must be like to be an epileptic who habitually gets trapped inside a washing machine full of neon lights, pleather, airborne vehicles and shitty laser effects.
Now, I played with Joes as a child, albeit I didnt’ play by the rules. For some reason I was stuck on monsters and aliens mode, so the only Joes I had were ones that had animal sidekicks, or some kind of weird mutation. I had Spirit Wind, the Military MP guy (his German Shepherd was a werewolf to my Lego people), Killer Croc, Outback (warthog accessory! BOSS!) Some kind of guy with a Cobra as a hat, and Big Boa, because he came with removable and adorable boxing gloves. I didn’t give a shit about patriotism, vehicles (Except that crazy ass Cobra Commander flying skiff, that was amazing) robots, guns, or tanks. It was also common for GI Joes to go to war with the mutants of Outworld, which were comprised of my He-Man and Ninja Turtles figures.
I went into the GI: Joe movie thinking ‘Well, I’ve had like nine beers, and even folding laundry has usually become fun by then. Therefore, this will be fun.’ Ipso, facto.
My fake Latin philosophy math was wrong.
Watching GI: Joe – The Rise of Cobra was incredibly similar to being in a car accident, and I’ve been in no less than 5 in my life so I know what I’m talking about. There’s a lot of noise, a lot of shit suddenly moves around, your whole perspective on life has changed but you aren’t sure why, you just know SOMETHING HAPPENED.
Which is what watching the film was like.
Usually, I pull my punches with hating on a movie, but By God and Sunny Jesus, I will NOT do so today. This movie was way, way too expensive to get the kid glove treatment.
GI Joe starts out in France in 1611. I know, because despite the fact taht I was drunk, I took copious notes. They are stained and festooned with question marks and mad scribblings, but overall still valid.
What kind of bullshit is that? FRANCE? WHAT?
Asinine. Who gives a shit about the historical heritage of Cobra. Please raise your hands if you were demanding historical significance from a movie based on toys that you played with in the sandbox or bathtub.
Other scribblings from my note:
‘why is the military using a civilian H2?’ Nathan pointed that one out.
This observation was closely followed by ‘why are you questioning the logic of the GI:Joe movie?’
‘Duke- Dude can’t talk right. Sounds like he’s going blublubblubblub.’
Seriously. Channing Tatum, from his IMDB entry, seems sort of respected as an actor, and yet I could barely follow his dialogue because of his weird novocaine mumbly-mouth. Plus, the man’s eyes were so dead and glassy I could clearly see his paycheck reflected in their surface, because no other thoughts animated his corpus.
‘Science says emotions don’t exist? WHAT?’
Scarlett, that most cartoonish of hotties (and played by some girl with red hair and boobs, it’s totally not worth it to look her name up), makes this weird assertion as to why she won’t date Marlon Wayans (who MUST have better things to do than this movie, for christ’s sake, he was in REQUIEM FOR A DREAM) when he makes his move on her. This is not only story bullshit, it’s scientific bullshit. Science has no problem quantifying emotions–they’re caused by subtle synaptic shifts in hormones, by adrenaline, by all kinds of math and numbers and chemicals and things that ARE REAL. So being attracted to a dude is totally valid. She’s just a racist.
I was also enraged by the Baroness character.
A brief digression:
In the Preacher books, the villain, a scarred German psycho named Herr Starr, is teaching a course on how to deal with terrorists to some soldiers in an elite anti-terrorist recruitment facility. He begins his lesson with the words:
‘Shoot the women first.’
He goes on to explain that any woman who has worked her way up to the top of a terrorist organization has worked at least FIVE TIMES as hard as her male compatriots in order to have her skills and dedication recognized. In short, in any terrorist situation, you had best kill the va-jay-jays because THEY would pose the greatest threat to you, and kill you five times harder than a dude. Anything a dude can do, a woman has already done, alphabetized, collated, and buried in the backyard before he even thought of it.
GI:Joe posits that Cobra allows someone to totally half-ass their way to the top of the organization. In an elite, worldwide terrorist group, how does someone FAKE enthusiasm? HOW? Baroness’s residual love for Duke leads to the Cobra organization’s fall, suggesting that women can’t be trusted in these situations because they get all emotion-y and fall in love with men and shit. God forbid they handle firearms, their estrogen might gum up the firing pin.
Which brings me to my next point:
Joseph Gordon-Levitt is adorable.
Just look at that face! So much spunk, so much character! You wouldn’t just have a beer with him, you’d want to take him home and show him your band trophies from high school.
He was the most fun thing about Rise of Cobra, and brought a much-needed feel of pseudo-camp to the shenanigans. After awhile, I realized I was patiently waiting for the ridiculous action setpieces to end so I could get back to the much more interesting story of Destro or whatever he was.
Dick move, Hollywood: if your film’s basically a multi-million dollar recruitment product for the armed forces, don’t make the villain more interesting than anything else happening onscreen. I even stopped giving a shit about Christopher Eccleston when Gordon-Levitt was onscreen. ECCLESTON.
Every few moments in GI:Joe, I found myself whistling or humming the main song from Team America: World Police. It’s a little ditty that goes something like ‘America…FUCK YEAH! Coming again to save the motherfucking day YEAH!’ What’s tragic is that movie, starring puppets and a metric ton of sarcasm, was a much more fun movie than this one, and it was much more honest about what was going on. It also got me a lot more excited about blowing shit up.
So in short–I know I watched the GI Joe movie, and I have all these residual flashbacks and strange images burned into my mind, but I just don’t know what actually HAPPENED. There was a desert and the Eiffle tower and an underwater city and some kind of nano tech mask or something. The sad thing is that I am smart enough to understand all this stuff–unlike a car accident, I can go back and relive the experience, articulating complex emotional ideas and pieceing together what actually happened.
I just don’t give a shit, though.