Since the release of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra was announced, geeks everywhere have been gearing up for the movie with previews, Comic-Con spoilers and of course toys. Not to say that G.I. Joe is a nerd-only endeavor -- every self-respecting American kid in the decades between 1960-1990 had at least one G.I. Joe figure in their arsenal of boy toys. (Except us girly girls, who were busy with Strawberry Shortcake and She-Ra before we figured out boys had the better dolls.)
But it's us nerds who will most likely flock to the theatre to see the midnight release of the flick, even though we'll be dragging ass and guzzling rum-laced coffee to stay awake at work come Friday morn (um, not that we've ever done that before). Problem is, rumor has it that G.I. Joe tested poorly with preview audiences and that the film will totally suck. See for yourself:
We talked to a couple of local comic book store managers to get their personal opinions on the upcoming movie, due to be released in theatres this Friday, August 7. Unfortunately, the only good news is that expectations are REALLY low, so it'll be hard to disappoint.
"The first bit of info I heard about this flick was the news that Ray Park had been cast as Snake-Eyes," says Todd Schumann, manager of Hero Comics on Thunderbird Rd. & 35th Ave. in North Phoenix. "Fantastic choice...hopes are high. Then came the photos of the cast in costume. Snake-Eyes and the Baroness looked just like they were supposed to. The rest of the cast looked like they were wearing hand-me-downs from the first X-Men movie."
More G.I. Joe disappointment behind the cut...
The costuming isn't the only thing G.I. Joe fans are complaining about. There's the crazy CGI, stupid dialogue and hyper-unrealistic action sequences. "The comic book adaptation of the movie was released over the past month and confirmed what the trailer suggested," Schumann adds. "This movie is going to suck. My wife is convinced that it will be worth seeing for the Snake-Eyes/Storm Shadow fight. I hope she's right."
Well, it's technically possible that there will be some worthy action sequences. Worthy enough for $10 each plus $20 of movie snacks? Probably not. But the biggest problem geeks seem to have with the movie has nothing to do with the special effects or silly skinsuits -- or even the bobblehead toys. It's more the fact that Paramount is trampling over their childhood memories of the "Real American Hero."
"Most of my memories come from the toys," says manager Eddie Armendariz of All About Books & Comics at Central and Camelback Rd. in Phoenix. "I saw the GI Joe toys for the first time in a K-Mart. I was probably about 7 or 8 years old. The isle seemed to go on forever with this new, wonderful toy."
Like a lot of other true G.I. Joe fans, Armendariz wasn't that moved by the cheesy '80s cartoon series. "My clearest memory of the cartoon is watching Destro and the Baroness kiss and being grossed out by it," he quips. "Romance wasn't cool at the time."
So, does he hold out hope for the film?
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"I'm getting myself ready for disappointment. My expectations couldn't be any lower. What hollywood doesn't realize is that GI Joe, Transformers, Go Bots, He-Man, etc... All these things have huge sentimental value to so many thirtysomething men (and women), yet it doesn't feel like the movies are for us.
I'll see the movie and try to find something good from it but my best memories are going to be from when I was a kid. I guess the movie will succeed if the kids that see it feel about it the way I feel about the toys and comics."
Considering both stores are chock full of G.I. Joe-related comic books, graphic novels and toys, you'd think that their store managers would be more hopeful than the general public when it comes to the new film. Sadly, I think they actually are.