When Good Movies Go Bad

n the 80s, the G.I. Joe craze was huge. By hook or crook, I managed to get my hands on a few of them...Snake-Eyes, the black clad silent ninja was probably my favorite, though Recondo had a place in my heart as well. As did Bazooka and...okay, the list might get quite long, the point is I liked them.

When I got a few bucks, I would usually purchase 3 comic books as much as possible; Jonah Hex (and the later ill-fated Hex in the future Hex series), Groo, and G.I. Joe...not necessarily in that order. Groo was probably my favorite...no, Jonah Hex...no, Groo was definitely my favorite unless it was Jonah Hex. You couldn't go wrong with Groo for comedy or Jonah Hex for stiff, violent Western action. For that matter, army comics were covered by GI Joe. Anyway, loved them all.

So you know I was amped up when I saw that G.I. Joe was coming to theatres soon

Until, that is...I saw the trailer. It is hard to say a comic in which every trooper wears his own distinctive uniform, ninjas with swords battle one another with regularity, and hundreds of issues can pass without an army guy getting killed is "realistic". 

But they did more or less live in a universe with physical laws similar to ours. Oh, sure, there was the ill-fated and horrific GI Joe-Transformers crossover (and the even dumber GI Joe/Professional Wrestler Sgt. Slaughter crossover...ironically, it was soon quashed when his wrestling character became "an Iraqui sympathizer" and hence the baddest of the bad guys in wrestling).

But the point stands. They lived in a universe we would recognize as far as physical capability.

But the trailer...if you went to the link above and watched it, I apologize. What a piece of trash. That is not GI Joe. They blew it. If this is their tent-pole release, someone needs to tell them tents still need walls and roof. They just gave us a pole and I am not sure I like where it landed.

Guys dodging missiles? Jumping like the Hulk? What the smurf? 

Look, GI Joe is a tough franchise to mess up. Lots of shots of Cover Girl and Scarlett, lots of stuff blowing up, Bazooka running around in his red #14 jersey, Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes fighting, and Cobra doing dastardly deeds. Violence, eye candy, comedy. Boom. Done. Box office hit.

People dodging bullets and jumping over bridges? Epic fail. We are talking Dude, Where's My Car or The Hulk or Superman Returns. No, worse yet...we are talking Intolerance.* I will do you the courtesy of not mentioning any Kevin Costner abominations like Waterworld. In fact, if you claim you saw the word "Waterworld" anywhere in this post I will call you a liar, grab the nearest spork and spank you with it.**

But back to the point. Yes, I will still see it, but if the trailer is any decent representation of the movie GI Joe:The Rise of Cobra I will be badly disappointed and frankly, it will suck giant gobs of orangutan hair gel. 

But there is worse news on the horizon. I liked GI Joe, no question. But I loved Jonah Hex. 

I have always loved Westerns and Hex was the man in that genre. Tough, violent, fast on the draw with a body count that makes Hiroshima and Dresden look tame, he was the bounty hunter that even death feared. 

And again...to have him survive ambushes, captures, wars, gunfights with 6 or 8 guys sometimes, and come out alive may not be realistic. But other than that...which was necessary to keep him alive for over 100 issues....it was set in OUR world. Real people. Their motivations was what made the stories good and the gunfights were just gravy. 

Well...in 2010 there is supposed to be a Jonah Hex movie. And there are some decent signs. Megan Fox has allegedly signed on. Johan Malkovich. Josh Brolin (?). Will Arnett...well, that is a bit more questionable, but the character he is alleged to play references one of the first stories in the Hex canon so I am okay with it.

But the plot...I am horrified. Mr. Riot Kitty will be thrilled to know it involves a Voodoo Priest trying to summon a horde of Undead soldiers to win the war for the South and Hex trying to stop hi....what?

Where do I even begin? 

First off, Jonah Hex fought for the South. His "look" included his Confederate Coat and hat. His greatest enemy, "The man with the cane" was the father of his best friend who Hex got killed in their escape from a Union prison camp. Several story arcs involved former Confederates seeking to kill Hex for that incident. And in one story, he was trying to pick off Union Generals and instead killed Stonewall Jackson, thus leading to the defeat of the South.

Second, undead? In JONAH SMURFING HEX? How stupid can you be?

Hex is even harder to mess up than GI Joe. Give us the facial make-up to match the scar and a lot of gunfights and we will be happy. If Turnbull or El Papagayo or the Chameleon show up, so much the better. 

If you need eye-candy, you have several hot women he married:Mei Ling was the whining "stop bounty hunting" one, Tall Bird was the Comanche who loved his ways...he had several girls who liked him despite his scars and general bad attitude...the point is, you have lots of choices in the canon to bring to the big screen. 

So yeah, Hex would be easy to write for a movie. And if the script they are reporting is true, if instead of Jonah Hex they give me Army of Darkness...I will be miffed indeed. 

* The first feature length film was D.W. Griffith's Birth of a Nation. Credited with re-starting the Ku Klux Klan due to its powerful imagery, it led Griffith to make a big-budget, even longer movie that many movie historians have called his apology for the influence of Birth. Titled Intolerance, it combined stories from 4 eras, each with its own giant, expensive set piece. Were audiences confused by the interweaving, jump back and forth stories? Bored by the stupendously long running time? Or was it just not fun to watch? Whatever the reason, it cost over 2 million dollars to make in 1916 and lost nearly that much. It nearly bankrupted Griffith and forced him to make films he did not want to after the success of Birth seemingly had he and his heirs set financially for generations to come. In the lexicon of movies that are epic failures, it is right down there.

** Sometimes I like to reference classic posts. And that one still makes me laugh every time Riot Kitty references it.


Riot Kitty said...

I'm glad I can make someone laugh, even though YOU originated the joke ;)

Seriously, I saw the GI Joe preview and couldn't believe that, at the end, it was a GI Joe preview. I turned to Mr RK and said, "WTF? This isn't GI Joe like we saw when we were little!" Ditto with Transformers...it's like the geniuses who come up with these are thinking, "Hmm. All of those kids who watched those shows are grown now...they have money to watch movies...but let's make them armageddon-like and try to squeeze more cash out of it!"

Which is asinine, because had they made the movies as silly as the cartoons, people would probably go watch and enjoy them.

crisjesse said...

I thought the GI Joe trailer looked pretty good. I don't know how much it will really reflect GI Joe, but that doesn't really bother me. If it's bad enough someone will get mad and redo it like they've been doing with all the flops... and the reset-after-a-flop movies are usually really good.

And I was playing too much atari and SNES to get into GI Joe enough to know who was who, so maybe that flushes my authority to comment down the drain. But I threw it out there anyway because if Marlon Wayans can dodge a bullet then so can I! (actually I'm looking forward to seeing him in the movie... I'll shut up now).