Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Figures Fully Poseable

When my brothers and I were growing up, GI JOEs were the toy for us. Sure, we had Star Wars toys and Batman toys, but GI JOEs were the first toy line we really got into, and easily the one we had the most figures from. The best part of Christmas was receiving new GI JOE figures and vehicles, and I always weighed how expensive something was by dividing the cost by 5 to see how many GI JOE figures you could buy for that amount (fun fact: I still do).

I have seen the trailer to the new GI JOE live-action movie, The Rise of Cobra, and boy, does it look bad. I'm sure it will have lots of cool special effects, but the whole thing just looks way too slick. The whole point of GI JOE was that it was a child's fantasy: each character was a caricature, designed primarily to look cool. They were trying to sell toys, after all, and thus character design was paramount. More importantly, every character had to look different, so that kids would want them all. If the characters all had the same costumes (like they seem to in the movie), why bother buying more than one?

Which brings me to GI JOE: Resolute. Not to be confused with the upcoming live-action film, Resolute is a series of five-minute cartoons available on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim website. Written by Warren Ellis and directed by a guy who directed both Justice League: Unlimited and Avatar: the Last Freaking Airbender, this show is exactly what GI JOE should be.

I recognize so many characters, though I'm ashamed to admit that it's usually just "Hey, I know that guy! The dude with the corduroy mask! Jeez, what was his name again?" The fight scenes are larger-than-life, the villains are over-the-top, and once again Cobra Commander is trying to take over the world. Even better, the silly laser weapons and childlike non-violence have been replaced by more realistic weaponry and some proper killing. Two named characters (one JOE, one COBRA) die before the first episode even begins.

I can't talk about GI JOE without mentioning the most popular character, Snake Eyes. Apart from Cobra Commander, Snake Eyes is usually the only character people remember from the show, and he is featured prominently in Resolute. He has his own storyline, and there's a part of Episode Eight (where he fights his nemesis, Storm Shadow) that is so badass, if you don't say "woa" out loud I will be very disappointed in you. (Tycho Brahe agrees.)

So come on. The show is short, free, and easily accessible. It not only lives up to the source material, it improves it and elevates it in ways the preachy, poorly animated original could never hope to. I guarantee you this is better than the live-action movie is going to be. This isn't the show we watched on TV. This is the show we thought we were watching on TV, and the show we tried to reenact with our figures.

And now, because you knew it was coming: Cobraaaaaa!

Just kidding. Yo, Joe!

PS: One thing the live-action movie has going for it: the Baroness looks quite hot. Nerdy supervillains... yow.


Kawaika said...

Oi, what about Canzo Empyrean?

Lord Admiral said...

Ahaha, I was actually thinking about doing a followup post where I mention that....

Elizabeth E. Grey said...

i'm not sure that i've ever even seen a GI Joe in real life... lol. i've probably seen pictures...

Russell said...

This series has gone from fulfilling the childhood fantasies of seeing my old favorites again to fulfilling my adult fantasy of seeing them completely eradicate a friendly neighborhood Walmart with atmospheric super-weapons because Cobra had been using it as a base all along. Thank god for Warren Ellis. Best. Ending. Ever.

I will, however, mourn the loss of Homer, Barney, and Moleman.

Comic Fact: Springfield was actually the name of the original stateside cobra base from the original comics in the early 80's. Between that and project ManHigh (find and watch the documentary) Ellis clearly did his homework.

And Storm Shadow was cooler than Snake Eyes could ever hope to be.