25 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS REVIEW: G.I. JOE – COBRA CLAWS ARE COMING TO TOWN

Untitled

Starring

Michael Bell (Transformers)
Arthur Burghardt (Conan The Adventurer)
Christopher Collins (The Simpsons)
Pat Fraley (I Am Legend)
Rob Paulsen (Animaniacs)
Neil Ross (An American Tail)
Frank Welker (Transformers)

1618625b-2b9d-42d0-97c1-1736ab5f8c94We begin with some Joes bringing a bunch of toys collected for orphans back to their headquarters. I found this way too confusing at first because I’m dumb. It’s like they picked up the Toys for Tots donation box so they could distribute it later. Anyway, a COBRA plane attacks which is meant to be a distraction so that Firefly can sneak some items into the donation box. Note that this plan involves a jet and a fake rock outcropping with a secret door, and it hinges on the Joes hiding near that secret door. And yet, presumably their donation box was in a public place so, you know, people could donate. Firefly could have just dropped it off on his way home.Dt03tNbXgAEzSzhThere’s a big Christmas dinner at Joe headquarters, though most of the team members are on holiday leave. In what I think is a nice touch, most of the Joes featured on this episode weren’t major characters. I could be misremembering, but I don’t feel like Blowtorch and Tripwire got a lot of screen time ordinarily. Anyway, while they’re eating their turkey, the COBRA army, shrunk to a tiny size, busts out of the rocking horse Firefly left behind and shut down the security grid so Firefly can break in to headquarters and use the enlarging ray on them. So, maybe they could have just shrunk one guy and had him shut off the defenses and then have the whole army come in. This plan has so many extra steps. COBRA quickly overpowers the Joes and hangs them in a meat locker. Cobra Commander decides it would be funny to leave the handcuff key, with a bow around it, hanging just out of reach. Obviously one of them gets free and unlocks the cuffs.he-man-and-she-ra-christmas-special-kids-snout-spout-christmas-tree-star1While this is happening, Cobra Commander prepares an attack on a nearby city using G.I. Joe vehicles thus causing people to think…. the army had turned on them? Are these guys the army or are they just something army-like? This part of the plan involved both bringing team leader Duke along as a captive and having Zartan (the master of disguise) impersonate Duke. If you have an impersonator, you don’t need to bring the real guy along! Why is this plan so complicated? The Joes defeat the last of their captors and there’s a whole bit with Shipwreck’s parrot getting shrunk and then return to regular size. The Joes head out to stop the attack using COBRA vehicles. While they’re away, Polly grows to a hundred feet tall and flies out to turn the tide of battle. Think about how terrifying a hundred foot parrot would be. You’d never be able to enjoy life again. When the episode ends, with COBRA defeated but maybe escaping(?), that parrot is still giant. Also, Shipwreck seems to hate his parrot even though he’s an army guy who brings a parrot with him everywhere. You picked this affectation, dude. Deal with it.gijoe5You may be wondering, if Cobra Commander has a shrink ray, why is he using it for a PR victory rather than, you know, world domination? Well, you are better at being an evil genius than he is, frankly. It’s dumb as all get out, but I like how committed it is to being dumb. The COBRA plan is ridiculously complicated and has way too many extra steps but there’s a consistency to it that I admire. No part of it makes sense, which is somehow better than if there had only been one misstep. That would be a plothole. But if nothing makes sense, then it’s the work of a madman who doesn’t know how to plan.42044748_1955607737831422_8438610404397023232_nDespite terrible animation, shoddy scripting, and mostly subpar voice work (though Chris Latta’s Cobra Commander is kind of amazing), it was fun to watch. Worth a watch for nostalgia round the holidays.

REVIEW: THE TOYS THAT MADE US – SEASON 1

 

The Toys That Made Us (2017)

Featuring

Dolph Lundgren (Masters of The Universe)

Few days ago I was checking the new additions on Netflix when I saw these series. I added them to my viewing queue, but it was just last night as I started watching. Honestly, these are of the most exciting documentaries ever. Why – because it’s all about our childhood! And we’ve all been kids!The Toys That Made Us (2017)Aside of it, the series are really well done. I just have nothing to comment on – as a documentary, they have a very well defined structure and topic following. Sure, they miss some details, but for a 50 minute format it is very well done. So far the first 4 have dropped on Netflix (The next 4 in May). These were  Star Wars, Barbie, He-Man and G.I. Joe. They are all so exciting. I loved Star Wars and I still do, just never had SW toys, however as a kid I did have He-Man toys and I loved them. I totally relate to the series and honestly can’t wait to see the other episodes.The Toys That Made Us (2017)As for Barbie – I am a male, never been into Barbie, but these series are pretty much like VH1 Behind the Music series – so well done, that you really don’t care what the episode is about – you just watch it, as you know it will be interesting and there would be something to learn. And indeed, the Barbie episode was absolutely interesting to watch!So, I would totally recommend these series to anyone, young or old, boy or girl, who used to have at least one toy in their life. Probably the most exciting series on Netlix in the last 6 months. In May we will get episodes about Lego, Transformers, Hello Kitty and Star Trek.

REVIEW: G.I. JOE: THE MOVIE (1987)

 

CAST (VOICES)

Peter Cullen (Transformers)
Frank Welker (The Simpsons)
Charlie Adler (Aladdin)
Shuko Akune (Cruel Intentions 2)
Jack Angel (A.I.)
Jackson Beck (The Batman/Superman Hour)
Michael Bell (Tangled)
Gregg Berger (Inside Out)
Earl Boen (The Terminator)
Arthur Burghardt (Network)
Francois Chau (Lost)
Don Johnson (Machete)
Burgess Meredith (Batman 60s)
Rob Paulsen (The Mask:TAS)
Vernee Watson (The Big Bang Theory)

File:G.i.joe.the.movie.1987.Shipwreck002.png

When both G.I. Joe and The Transformers proved to be massive after school hits for Hasbro when the animated series’ debuted in the eighties, it only made sense that each series would receive an animated theatrical release to cash in on the success of their respective TV series’. G.I. Joe: The Movie, directed by Don Jurwich, debuted on screens around the world in 1987 and while it wasn’t exactly considered a masterpiece of animated entertainment, it rightfully found its fan base.

The movie starts off with a bang, as the instantly recognizable opening theme song from the TV series blares at us and thrusts us head first into a battle between G.I. Joe and the evil forces of Cobra squaring off at the Statue of Liberty. The results of this battle wind up with Serpentor putting Cobra Commander on trial for screwing up and not doing his job all that well. Before the trial can really get moving, however, a bizarre woman named Pythona shows up, claiming to be from the land of Cobra-La and seeking the aid of Serpentor in her quest to retrieve the BET (Broadcast Energy Transmitter), an energy creating device that could allow Cobra to finally rule the world. Cobra-La, if you didn’t already know, was essentially a bizarre city-state under an ice dome full of evil bugs and was the birth place of Cobra Commander and Serpentor. The baddies at Cobra figure they can use the BET to send some spores into the Earth’s atmosphere that will destroy mankind as we know it.

Meanwhile, somewhere innocuous and snowy, the Joe team are testing the very same BET that Cobra so desperately wants to get their hands on. Cobra attacks, and in the ensuing battle, team leader Duke gets seriously injured and if that weren’t bad enough, the leader of Cobra-La, Golobulus (Burgess Meredith) has got a heavy hitter named Nemesis Enforcer on his side. Cobra is seriously bringing their A-game this time around, but thankfully for all of humanity, Duke and his brother, Falcon (Don Johnson), have got a whole bunch of brand new Joe’s on their side to help them stop Cobra before it’s too late. Some of the more notable newbies include a female Asian martial arts expert named Jinx, a tough guy who doesn’t talk named, an underground specialist guy named Tunnel Rat, a do-gooder named Law and his pet dog, a guy named Big Lob and last but not least, Sgt. Slaughter and his Renegades, made up of Mercer, Red Dog and Taurus.

The movie is also meant to tie together the second and third seasons of the show, but since the third season of the show never happened, that aspect of it doesn’t really work and so the movie just kind of stands alone, focusing on newer characters that we don’t really care about as much as the more established ones who are really just tooling around in the background. The movie does deserve credit for trying to branch out a bit from the formulaic TV series, however. This is G.I. Joe on a much larger scale than anything that had come before it, and it’s also a fair bit more violent and quite a bit darker than the animated series it was spun off of. Duke was originally supposed to die after what happens to him in the moviebut because of fan backlash to what happened to Optimus Prime in Transformers: The Movie this was changed and he instead simply falls into a coma.