August 02, 2009

"Real American Heroes"?

If I had to guess, I probably have around 10,000 comic books in my collection right now.

But the very first comic I paid for with my own money was G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero #6.

What always struck me about that comic was just how hardcore it was, given that it was ostensibly designed to sell action figures to little boys like me. But the main writer for those original G.I. Joe comics, Larry Hama, was a Vietnam vet who made a point of adding real stakes to the stories. Like when they dropped a bomb on a bunker while our hero, the mute commando Snake Eyes, was still inside. Or when the team's Pentagon liason, Col. Flagg, was killed during a Cobra assault on The Pit. Or the intense creepiness of the Cobra front masquerading as a small town in Illinois.

I've got a lot of military in my family, so I appreciated that, although it was a comic, G.I. Joe was about soldiers, with all sorts of specialties from all different branches of the American military, pooling their resources to defeat a common threat.

American soldiers.

So the minute I heard that the movie version of G.I. Joe would feature, instead, an international team based in Europe.... yeah, I was plenty offended.

Especially since the reasoning was, "well, nobody likes America overseas these days, so we've got to tone down the American-ness of these 'Real American Heroes'".

And, it seems like every day, I get a new bit of news that makes me even more angry about this movie.

"Accelerator Suits"?!?! Come on, man! That's Iron Man, not G.I. Joe! If anything, the fetish in G.I. Joe was authentic, top of the line, military hardware. If you're into that sort of thing, the U.S. Army has some of the coolest, craziest weaponry on the planet. REAL weaponry, man. Not this B.S. made-up sci-fi crap.

And, as I twittered earlier, I knew for sure that this movie would stink because they had no presence whatsoever at Comic-Con.

So, now, I see this L.A. Times article, where the producer, Lorenzo Di Boneventura, says, "well, there's no pleasing those guys at Comic-Con, so why bother?"

Excuse me? Iron Man? 300? Spider-Man? Hell, even flippin' Twilight! As long as you don't crap on what makes the property great, the fans will embrace you. But when you do things like, I dunno, cast Keanu Reeves as John Constantine, well, yeah, you'll have a fan revolt on your hands.

(For the record, I thought Constantine was actually a great movie, and Keanu was quite good, but, if I'd been a hardcore Hellblazer fan, I would have totally boycotted that movie on principle)

And when you loose your core fans, you'd better pray what you've changed will appeal to the general audience, because you'll have no word of mouth support.

Consider Battlestar Galactica - again, fans in full revolt after Ron Moore made Starbuck a girl. Luckily, she was such a kick-ass girl and the level of quality of the show was so high (I mean, they won a Peabody and had a panel at the United Nations dedicated to them), it overrode the fan bitterness.

My point is, G.I. Joe had better be some Nobel Prize winning sh*t to make up for the garbage I've seen so far.

What makes me even more mad about that article is that Paramount has apparently decided the best way to promote the movie was to show it on American army bases.... after they've already decided that the American army is so unpopular that they can't feature them in the show like they were originally in the property.

And why are these soldiers dressed up like Bryan Singer's X-Men?

And what's killing me is there are some amazing actors in this movie, like Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Christopher Eccelston.

Actually, what's really killing me is that they're releasing this movie on my birthday. That's just salt in the wound. :-)

Now, people are telling me it's a good summer action movie. But I wonder, are these the same people who thought "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" was a good summer action movie"

Maybe I'll finally see "The Hurt Locker" on Friday. THOSE guys are the real American heroes.

As a matter of fact, that sounds like a plan.

Go see "The Hurt Locker" and pay your money to support a movie that's not afraid to show real American soldiers. G.I. Joe's not going anywhere, so they certainly don't need your money opening weekend.

You can get your tickets to see "The Hurt Locker" right here at Moviefone

FUCK "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra".