G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, 2/5 (An Open Letter to Stephen Sommers)


Rated PG-13 (seriously?). Click here to view the trailer.

Dear Stephen –

Hey man, how’s it going? I’ve haven’t talked to you in while. What have you been up to? Wait, what am I saying? You’ve been making a movie! That new G.I. Joe flick, right? I actually went and saw it Saturday. What a small world!

Good job, man. Way to go! I knew you could do it and you really hit that one out of the… wait. I can’t do this. I can’t lie to you. You know, you and I go way back, Stephen. You remember that time with the thing? Remember? Sigh. Good times! Anyway, we go way back so I feel like I can be honest with you. Your movie sucked, Stephen, and it sucked hard. It was more like G.I. D’oh, am I right, people? [Crickets.] I know it’s harsh, but I wanted you to hear it from a friend.

Making a movie based on a cartoon based on an action figure must have been a daunting task and even though it sucked, it was a whole lot better than it could have been. A lot of people have been complaining that you missed the spirit of the 80s cartoon, but I think the problem was that you translated it a little too literally into a live-action movie (with some notable exceptions, which I’ll get to soon). I won’t go into specifics, but your plot is two heaping scoops of ridiculous (metal-eating chiggers that can also work as turbo-charged white blood cells and go all Manchurian Candidate on you?). But, strangely enough, it probably would have made a pretty awesome cartoon. Probably would have been cheaper that way, too.

Stephen, can you tell me why you shifted G.I. Joe from being a “Real American Hero” (YOOOOOOOOOOO JOE!) to Global Integrated Joint Operations something-I’ve-forgotten-that-starts-with-an-E? What was the thought process? What happened to your patriotism? I’m all about multilateral blah blah blah our brave Ecuadorian allies fighting in Iraq blah blah blah yawn blah blah blah and I don’t have anything against the Brits or French North Africans, but they don’t belong with G.I. Joe. It’s supposed to be as American as French Freedom fries. And I’m 99 percent sure the real G.I. Joes would NEVER put their home base – The Pit – in freakin’ Egypt.

OK, so you changed a few things around from the toys I absolutely LOVED as a child. I don’t like it, but I more or less forgive you for it. Mostly because the cheesy, over-the-top action figures I grew up with were themselves a pretty drastic reinterpretation from the original G.I. Joes, which were – let’s face it – basically a Ken doll in fatigues. But you see Stepehn, when you converted G.I. Joe into an overblown NATO special ops force, you stripped away all the personalities and charm that made playing with the toys so much fun. Everyone had a special endearing talent and really awesome vehicle that would shoot missiles (and conveniently eject the driver just before impact of all incoming missiles). I think my favorite was probably Wild Bill. Or Shockwave. Or maybe Pathfinder. Or Capt. Gridiron. Wet-Suit was pretty awesome too. Then I remember this one time in second grade when I didn’t get my name on the board for a whole month so Mom took me to Wal-Mart in Purcell and I got the Mobile Battle Bunker. It was awesome because it would open up to reveal all these missiles and then…

Anyway, you had them all dressed alike and then parked them in those wholly unnecessary mechanized “accelerator suits.” If you want to make another Robocop sequel, make a Robocop sequel. There was never any death count with the cartoon (or with when I played with the toys, now that I think back), unlike your movie, which had thousands of casualties including civilians and the Eiffel Tower. Maybe these darn kids these days are just more accustomed to violence than I was. I don’t know. I don’t want to keep giving you notes, but I rolled my eyes at that “twist” involving the US President hinting at an impending sequel. Here’s my advice regarding that: don’t. Also, I noticed the President was a white man. That’s not very progressive of you. And ditch the interminable flashbacks and the prologue set in 17th century France. Where did that come from?

I know you got a D+ back in our high school physics class and action movies don’t always play by rules, but at times it’s obvious you just weren’t thinking. Like when Scarlett looked down the hallway and announced that it was (obviously) pressure-sensitive. Lasers would instantly deploy should anything heavier than a quarter touch the floor. So what does Snakes Eyes do? He does a handstand and walks on his fingertips down the hall, stabbing the laser control with this sword. Because… when you stand on your fingertips you weigh less than a quarter? And why did he have rubber lips? Seriously. Why? I want to know this. The other thing is when the bad guys detonated the charges on the ice pack and the ice starts to break up and sink to the bottom of the Arctic Ocean, destroying the submerged hideout. Ice FLOATS, genius! Haven’t you ever seen a glass of iced tea? Back onto those accelerator suits for a second: If they’re so awesome, why do they ever take them off or go into battle without them?

stalker2Wait! I just remembered Stalker! He came with this awesome kayak. It really floated (unlike your stupid ice)!

And what’s the deal with casting Dennis Quaid as General Hawk? The man can’t act. He’s never been able to act. Don’t get me wrong, I love whole Quaid clan (especially Randy!), but I’ve just always seen him as a poor man’s Harrison Ford. And a Wayans brother to play Ripcord? That was pretty gutsy, I’ll admit, but sadly not all of life’s gambles pay off. And Rachel Nichols playing Scarlett? She even worse than Quaid. All though she did kind of remind me of that one waitress at the Hoboken Denny’s who gave you her number that one time, you dog you (don’t worry, I won’t tell the missus). Channing Tatum as Duke was sooooooo vanilla and as for the rest of the Joe crew, meh. Forgettable. I actually liked your choice of Joseph Gordon-Levitt. That thing he did with his voice? Inspired. I need to see him and Zooey Deschanel in 500 Days of Summer. I wonder if it’s playing anywhere near here… hmm… maybe in Columbia. He’s pretty skinny, though. He needs a little more meat on his bones. Ha, I’m starting to sound like a Jewish mother. I also liked that you chose the bad guy from Gone in 60 Seconds as the bad guy here. What’s his name? Chris Eccleston? I’m glad to see he’s still working. I can’t tell you how many sleepless nights I lay in bed, tossing and turning, just wondering what happened to him.

Well, I should get going. I’ve got some people coming over for dinner and it’s time to put the potatoes in the crock-pot.

Hey man, don’t let this get ya down. I have faith that you can bounce back. I’m sorry this letter was such a downer, but you deserved to know the truth, and knowing is half the battle. As Oscar Wilde said, experience is merely the name we give to our mistakes. You’ve got a lot of experience under your belt, Stephen. Keep in touch, buddy. Tell the wife and kids I said hey.


PS: We should get together sometime and do lunch. Maybe at the Denny’s in Hoboken [nudge nudge].

2 responses to “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, 2/5 (An Open Letter to Stephen Sommers)

  1. I don’t think I can forgive you for being mean to Dennis Quaid. Seriously.

  2. Hahaha, brilliant. And yes, the movie sucked

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