The news broke late Thursday night that G.I. Joe: Retaliation director Jon M. Chu is directing a film adaptation of Hasbro and Sunbow’s Jem doll and cartoon.
A Real American Book! editor Nick Nadel wonders if it might be an elaborate April Fool’s Day joke. I’m surprised and pleased. With so much great talent on the Jem animated series — talent we know and love from the animated G.I. Joe — it’s hard not to like the show, even if has its silly moments. And clearly, just as G.I. Joe spoke to a whole swath of kids, so too did Jem. And it deserves a new lease on life as much as any ’80s property, and I would see a Jon M. Chu Jem movie even though I didn’t watch the show when I was 8. Let’s remember that Chu also directed two Step Up films and two Justin Bieber documentaries, so he’s got range. Chu tweeted “Joe script is getting REALLY fun just taking alittle longer.I need it 2b perfect so decided 2try &fit a crazylittle movie in” So there’s Jem news and an update on the third G.I. Joe film.
Particularly of note is the novel way in which Chu and producers Jason Blum and Scooter Braun are using social media. If I read a text press release, I’d frown, but seeing these three principles explaining the process themselves and doing so in an enthusiastic way has me convinced. Thoughts from readers?
I’ll start with a short review. Please note, this is for the theatrical cut, 110 minutes. For the Best Buy Blu-ray Extended Action Cut, check back in a week.
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a fun movie and a good adaptation of the Hasbro brand, capturing both the spirit of the Sunbow cartoons and the Marvel comic book. It has solid performances, convincing visual effects, and manages to both act as a sequel to Paramount’s hugely flawed 2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, while also somewhat ignoring that and rebooting the franchise as a new first installment. Much credit goes to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’s great as Roadblock, the film’s heart, and director Jon M. Chu, for exciting action sequences and properly mining G.I. Joe for many of the things we’ve always wanted to see onscreen. I certainly raised my eyebrow when Chu was announced for the director’s chair based on his previous filmography, but I recognize that professionals have skills that don’t always correspond to past work. The man who directed one of my favorite commercials went on to direct three of my least favorite films, so it can easily go the other way. (That would be Michael Bay, the Aaron Burr/Got Milk? spot, and Transformers.) Don Jurwich, who directed the animated G.I. Joe, had previously worked on Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo. If there had been an internet in 1983, would we have reacted poorly after seeing Jurwich’s name in the Joe TV credits reel? Some additional credit goes to writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (both of Zombieland), who turned in a decent action script that needed to serve several masters. There are story problems, but the bar was set low by The Rise of Cobra. Continue reading