Tuesday, March 04, 2008

G.I. Joe broad strokes hint at detail

The G.I. Joe movie has started filming and I for one couldn't be happier. The cast looks great, and it's one of the few properties from my childhood that I feel has really legitimately held up to the test of time. Granted some of the updates are a bit silly, if you read in my Wondercon post, I recently picked up a bootleg of the G.I. Joe Extreme 90s cartoon, and it is hilariously bad. Still, that aside, as you should all know, I love the property and I think this film will be great. Just look at that sweet revamped logo up above. Nice work :)

While at New York's Toy Fair '08, Hasbro's COO and exec producer on both the Transformers, and G.I. Joe films Brian Goldner, talked with MTV about some of the broad strokes involved with the film. But those broad strokes hinted at much more. Check out the full interview here if you like. He mentioned a number of interesting things about the film. The following is minorly spoilerish stuff, nothing too bad but you have been warned...

First and foremost, while Goldner made a point to reference and note specifics from the Real American Hero tv series, as well as the even older original 12 inch line of Joe toys, this story, which he claims will chart the rise of Cobra Commander will be mostly based on the initial 155 issue Marvel comic run on the franchise. To that end Goldner confirmed that Joe godfather Larry Hama is indeed working on the film in a hands on consultant capacity, and will be even making a cameo in the film.

He also really wanted to address how the American patriotism angle has not, as was reported, been dialed down. Duke is going to be the archetype. He is as American as the original grunt with the kung fu grip. This will be about an American team, and yes it will feature The Pit; but it's not just a story about that. This is a sweeping, globe trotting adventure, that takes place as Goldner mentioned in as varied locations as the deserts, mountains, cities, and even underwater. And of course, this is why Stephen Sommers is such a good choice for the film. His track record on The Mummy franchise follows that same adventurous spirit. That same, classic 1960s James Bond vs Spectre feel.

That was about all he said, but hey what could you expect. From there though I stumbled across an actual account of the sneak peek presentation Goldner was giving at Toy Fair. The report, which is moderately spoiler filled, can be read HERE. As should be expected from a Hasbro executive, it focused more on the toys than the film itself, but there were definitely some really interesting details in here too.

Firstly, the Joe toys based on the movie will be the 3 1/4" size of the Real American Hero line, that I grew up with. So thats great news in my books. But also, most of the vehicles we will see in the film, and in toy version, are not exactly as you remember them. During his presentation Goldner reminded the audience how G.I. Joe was always trying to be about 10 years ahead of current military technology, just slightly into the realm of science fiction. Well despite the unfortunate lack of BATs or lazer guns in the everyday world, the filmmakers, and consequently toy makers have kept that 10 year rule of thumb alive with both new vehicles and updates on the ones we remember and love.

For a full list just go check out the report, but there are a few I wanted to mention specifically. Sharcs play a major role in the film, which is great because it was by far my favorite everyday vehicle used on the tv show, and this makes sense as from whats been implied there will be a major fight sequence underwater in the movie. Of course speaking of classics, the Night Raven has to be in there too. The last big one to me is finally seeing Destro's M.A.R.S. base, which sounds like an awesome location that I'll be really excited to see on film.

The report continues with it's interpretation of what Goldner presented as the story for the film. According to him, "The film centers around a speechless Snake Eyes (Ray Park) and Storm Shadow (Byung-Hun Lee) and the female roles of The Baroness (Sienna Miller) and Scarlett (Rachel Nichols) play huge roles equal to if not more important then Destro (Chris Eccleston) and Duke (Channing Tatum)." Interesting eh? Makes me wonder if maybe that recent blonde haired picture of Sienna Miller as The Baroness was from a flashback or something. And if they're going so far into her backstory that we will really get to see that kind of thing.

The film is being designed to be as accessible as possible, with time given to develop backstory for the Joe team, Cobra, and M.A.R.S., which obviously makes sense. The studio wants this to be the start of a long and lucrative franchise, with most of the actors already signed on for 3 picture deals. Relying on nostalgia and he very specific and targeted group of people like me, probably won't make them boatloads of cash...

Finally despite Dennis Quaid 's contention in recent interviews that fan favorites like Shipwreck, Wild Bill and the Crimson Twins would not be in the film, the report says that there will be LOTS of opportunity for these fan favorites to pop up in any of the numerous large scale battle scenes in the background. Just because they're not focused on in this film doesn't mean they can't play a bigger role in the next one.

So I guess we're looking at some pretty solid continuing developments on the G.I. Joe front. Its great news that the film is rolling, and I'm definitely looking forward to more on this as it develops. G.I. Joe is scheduled to release on August 7th, 2009.

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