Thursday, December 3, 2009
G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009) review. It knows its from a cartoon, and knowing is half the battle.
Overall verdict: 6.5/10
The Good: excellent cast chemistry, straight forward and easy to follow narrative, witty humour, captures the spirit of saturday morning cartoons
The Bad: cheesy dialogue, special effects laden, deviates too much from the original source material
Current Availbility status in Singapore: DVDs on sale now in all major DVD shops.
G I Joe: The Rise of Cobra is another one of those of big screen movie adaptations of Saturday morning cartoons, following the big but brainless Transformers movie sequel released in the same year.
Unlike Transformers, the producers and director of G I Joe know that it is, after all, a live adaptation of an 80s CARTOON. Instead of going for a real-world contemporary setting, they decided to push the storyline years into the future allowing the rather far fetched technology like Plasma weapons and nanobots to not seem so far fetched.
For better or for worse, this entire movie is a tribute to the classic action adventure Saturday morning cartoons that thrilled an entire generation of children. Director Stephan Sommers manages to balance great moments of "wow" with more subtle subdued scenes, then throw in the right amount of humor, an easy to follow story and very likable characters.
The story may come across as a little too straight forward at times and the characters, though very likable, are a rather one-dimensional......which is exactly like in the original cartoon. Good guys are good guys, bad guys are bad guys and every character is a living breathing personification of "stock stereotypes". What saved the characters from being dull was the excellent script, rather natural acting and chemistry that each character had with the others.
A romantic sub-plot was thrown in for good measure but don't expect anything too sappy. Again, the romance comes across as very typical of a Saturday morning cartoon. Nothing dirty, nothing lovey dovey, a little contrived at times but it really takes one back to more innocent times of old. Flashbacks are used frequently throughout the film for certain characters to establish their background and their motives but the placement of some of the flashbacks sort of "takes us away" from the build up of story.
Similar to his previous work in The Mummy and Van Helsing, Stephan Sommers' clear and easy to follow directing style brings out the best in the action. Chase scenes are thrilling, edge-of-your-seat rides, and slow-mo is used at all the right moments to accentuate the impact of the scene.
G I Joe: The rise of Cobra does a commendable effort at re-capturing the fun, though flawed, spirit of its original 1985 Saturday morning cartoon show and Depending on your own point of view, that can be a good thing or a bad thing. It is really up to personal preference. If you considered cartoons juvenile, their characters plain, the plots simple, the romance cheesy, then your opinions about the cartoons would be easily carried over to this movie.
People of all ages will enjoy this exciting thrill ride of a movie. Great cast( both in terms of chemistry and eye candy), awesome action(the underwater mini-subs battle was definitely something not often seen in movies) and great fun for the whole family.
Replay value: B+
Go for it: if you love the feel of saturday morning cartoons and are in the mood for a straight up fun, action-packed thrill ride with eye candy to boot.
Avoid: if you prefer gritty and grim. Cheesiness of the movie may put off viewers.