Are you worried about this G.I. Joe movie they have coming out in August? I am! My worries, however, are limited to concerns that the movie -- which looks in previews like someone attempted an earnest, non-puppeted take on Team America -- will suck canal water, and maybe stifle the budding acting career of Joseph Gordon-Levitt just as it seems to be taking off with (500) Days Of Summer.
Over at The Corner, John J. Miller has worries of his own:
I keep wondering: Is G.I. Joe still an American? He used to be, back in the day. Maybe the movie will make clear that the 21st-century version is also a "real American hero," as the tagline once put it. But this is far from obvious. The old logo was red, white, and blue. Now the dominant image is black. Nobody wears green Army uniforms. Instead, the good guys appear to put on silver-plated robocop armor. Joe and his friends look like celluloid heroes without a country.
Perhaps Miller shouldn't worry! Sure, back in October of 2007, the Internet Movie Database informed moviegoers that the flick would center on "a European-based military unit known as Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity (G.I.J.O.E.)" and "a hi-tech, international force of special operatives." However, their synopsis now claims that, "This has since changed due to overwhelming negative response from fans and even servicemen."
I have no way of knowing if this is true and no plans of finding out, because losing two hours of my life to watch this movie strikes me as something I'd regret on my deathbed, if not other beds I plan on visiting in the more immediate future. But Miller's concerns are nothing new. Glenn Beck was soiling his drawers over this movie back in 2007. As I noted then, G.I. Joe has long been moving in a thematic direction that I'm sure Miller would find troubling.
Frankly, Beck demonstrates a startling ignorance of the G.I. Joe franchise itself, something that a five-minute trip to the Wikipedia would help alleviate. G.I. Joe went "international" when Hasbro rebranded the toys in 1966. At that time, figures from England, France and Germany became part of the line. During the Vietnam War, "Hasbro sought to downplay the war theme that had initially defined 'G.I. Joe,'" recasting the figures as "an adventuring/spy-like organization with the goal of rescue missions and fighting evil." In 1974, Hasbro gave the Joes the "kung-fu" grip. I know! Creeping Orientalism!
Oh, and surely Beck will plotz himself when he finds out that in 1991, "the G.I. Joe Ecowarriors line was produced to raise environmental awareness." Holy chlorofluorocarbons, Batman! 1991! Beck's beloved toys were speaking out about an inconvenient truth back when it was still convenient!
Spencer Ackerman noted Miller's concerns yesterday, and in so doing, included the Venture Brothers G.I. Joe parody, which, if you are looking for jingotastic awesomesauce to the EXTREME! will certainly do the trick.