G.I. Joe: The Movie Don Jurwich

G.I. Joe: The Movie Don Jurwich
G.I. Joe: The Movie, a 1987 direct-to-video animated film starring a certain group of Real American Heroes™, opens with Cobra (that evil organization always plotting world domination) attempting to take control of the Statue of Liberty. Dozens of Cobra henchmen (Cobras?) parachute from Cobra's giant flying airship and terrorize the fleeing NYC populace until, from out of nowhere, G.I. Joe (Joes?), the elite team of Team America-type freelance terrorist fighters, arrives on the scene. The Joes and the Cobras launch an all-out war. The Joes fly through the air with jet packs, firing hundreds of lasers in hundreds of different directions, creating huge fireballs as they blow up henchmen and robots (?) in equal measure. Back on the airship, the evil Cobra Commander sends another henchman with a bomb, but then there's a guy swinging through the air on a rope (what is it tied to?) kicking Cobras and Sgt. Slaughter is flying a jet plane and there are more fireballs, and the guy with the rope jumps on top of another plane in mid-flight, and yet another plane crashes into a boat in New York Harbor and blows it up, and there's a redheaded guy with a flamethrower, and a guy with a machine laser gun (?), and more boats blow up, and… well, then we all get seizures. As someone not steeped in G.I. Joe lore, I found it very hard to distinguish who was a Cobra and who was a Joe amidst all these flashing lights and explosions. I could level this complaint at the rest of the film, a veritable labyrinth loosely centred upon the eternal struggle of Joe vs. Cobra while introducing so many new characters, exotic locations, strange monsters and explosions, along with so little humour, character development and basic humanity, that I was completely baffled. Then again, perhaps that's the point. The pioneering French filmmakers of the silent era sought to create a "pure cinema," which would evoke a direct emotional response through the visual properties of the film medium, rather than plot and characters. With its stiffly animated, square-jawed non-characters, and its non-stop visual assault of flashing lights and eye-burning primary colours, G.I. Joe: The Movie comes as close to pure cinema as anything I can think of. A hearty thank-you to Shout! Factory, the reigning leader in high-quality releases of low-quality cultural flotsam, for also including so many "Knowing is Half the Battle" public service announcements, wherein the Joes lecture various suburban teenagers on the dangers of peer pressure, lying, sugary foods, etc. Because you just can't save the world every day, I guess. (Shout! Factory)