There’s a lot G.I. Joe The media is available now and it’s easy to get lost on where to start or what to watch. However, many got their first taste of real American heroes with the 1987 animated film, which still shines above almost everyone else in the ratings. Debuting after two seasons of running Sunbow Productions, Soldier Joe: The Movie wanted to properly end that era of the show by offering its fans an adult and higher-stakes adventure, but the project ran into numerous problems and was destined to be remembered more for Hasbro’s meddling than for all the amazing action.
It was announced as the final battle between Joe and Cobra, ending a rivalry that seemed to go on longer than the show ran. However, the movie wasn’t the end, and even if it was, it wasn’t an adventure that everyone could agree on. Soldier Joe: The Movie breaks the show’s continuity by not only introducing new characters and making one of them Duke’s half-brother, but also radically changing the origins of Cobra Commander and Serpent. The latter is somewhat explained in the film by the explanation that Golobulus implanted the idea of creating the current leader of Cobra into Dr. Mindbender’s head, but it also seems to undermine the character’s personality and presentation in the series.
The essence of these changes is connected with a new group from Cobra-La, a mythical network of living fortifications and caves in the Himalayas. If it sounds silly as an obvious Shangri-La game, the title was only meant to be temporary in the early stages of production, but some Hasbro executives fell in love with it, so Cobra-La stuck. This was the civilization that dominated Earth before that pesky little ice age wiped them out and it was revealed that the Cobras and their leaders were part of a plan to regain some of their power, but it didn’t work out. Now, with the help of a new device called a BET (Broadcast Energy Transmitter) and a few dangerous spores that could deevolve most of the planet, they’re about to play another big game unless the Joes can stop them.
There’s a lot going on in this story, especially as a sequel to a long-running children’s cartoon, but thankfully a large number of characters are already introduced and the conflict between the two sides is well known. However, the film decides to add an almost escalated sci-fi element, one of the Cthulian-type menaces whose house seems like something out of a nightmare. Everything about Cobra-La is alive, organic, otherworldly and moving. We see it in their weapons, in their use of bugs as keys and bridges, and in these gigantic creatures for transportation and in this living red carpet – all beautifully rough and alien compared to what it used to be.
Many of Joe and Cobra’s agents get screen time – even if it’s just in the background, they had about 84 characters in total – but a few more characters are also introduced. We’ve got some amazing fresh additions like Golobulus, Pythona, and the man himself, the Nemesis Enforcer (it’s just a cool name and it has metal wings). There are also some new good guys, but some of them can be a little annoying, so all you need to know about is Lieutenant Falcon, voiced by Don Johnson, and Jinx, a skilled martial artist who is considered bad luck and fights are better blindfolded.
Soldier Joe: The Movie was not just a reset for the toyline, although he certainly used it as a way to rotate figures, but also as a point to change the battlefield for a promising third season if the series hadn’t been taken over by DIC Entertainment. instead of. For the kids who have been watching the past few years, there has been a push towards a more adult experience. The opening of the movie focuses on Cobra, the tougher characters, and shows these new soldiers to be efficient and deadly. Seeing Duke get hurt in that first brawl, even if it was just a glancing blow to his arm, was incredible and made viewers think there was a lot of danger here. Watching Duke fry the Serpent after tossing it onto the plate didn’t hurt either, or seeing the Tunnel Rat burst out of one of Cobra-La’s creatures when it was swallowed. The heightened violence added something. There’s a scene where the Falcon is captured and tortured by the Serpent for information, but the hardcore part is that this recruit Joe is just trying to last another five minutes, wanting to sacrifice himself because he knows they’re all about to die, so how the Terror Drome was rigged to explode.
Most people know that Soldier Joe: The Movie actually wrote the Duke’s death before transformers an animated film was released, but due to numerous delays, this Hasbro film came out first and used their idea by killing Optimus Prime on the big screen. This upset the parents, as the average age transformers Then the franchise got a little younger and changes had to be made to prevent a repeat. This resulted in adding a few bad lines and lowering the stakes given what the movie was trying so hard to achieve, as well as lessening the momentum of the Falcon’s redemption arc. Unfortunately, this is one of the biggest things the film has been remembered for so far, an action from above that has certainly damaged its legacy.
Soldier Joe: The Movie includes several deleted scenes, some of which were animated and later removed, but most of which were in the final script and cut at the last minute. One of these was Duke’s funeral, which was to take place before the final battle. Despite the fact that one of Joe’s greatest heroes was clearly pierced through the heart and departed in a brutal and fantastical manner, he is said to be in a coma. The toy was still temporarily discontinued and audiences were deprived of their heartbreaking goodbye, but live-action films really tried to make up for it years later by killing it off.
Not only did the film change its tone and try to show the brutality of war a bit more, it also upped the sex appeal a bit. Falcon is shown to be horny throughout the first half of the movie and even slaps Jinks on the ass when he ignores his duties, only to end up getting a kiss at the end once the day is saved. However, it would be child’s play if Zarana’s original scene were to change clothes after her infiltration mission was completed. In the original storyboards, the curvy Dreadnok was topless in a stylistic scene that wouldn’t feature anything completely risqué, but would be more memorable than the one-piece bathing suit seen in the final cut. This scene would have taken advantage of the PG rating as well as the theatrical release that the team thought they received.
Being a longer standalone adventure also made room for some more intertwined storytelling elements. Viewers will see Falcon and Cobra Commander put on trial for very different reasons, even if each is blamed for the failure. We see the beautiful sequence of Falcon landing on the Slaughterhouse and starting his turn to become a better soldier, growing as a character and finally thinking about other people and not about himself. At the same time, Cobra Commander turns into a snake over time, degrading physically and mentally as he attempts to take the blind checkpoint out of Cobra-La. Soon, he can only repeat the infamous line and just slips away, giving a completely different type of character growth. Finally, we see two attacks on Cobra’s large base, Terror Drome, one from Pythona, which is much more direct and effective, and then another from Sgt. Slaughter’s team that starts stealthily and then leaves with a bang. It’s like another demonstration of the differences between the two sides and a way of showing the end of an era with the destruction of an iconic building.
There are so many amazing moments in the movie, great characters, funny montages – like when Beechhead trains rawhides – and that incredible intro with the song when the two groups fight on the Statue of Liberty. The movie is just an evolution of the cartoon, even if the story went in a wild direction. There were some weird things like Serpentor’s battle cry «Cobra-La» that always makes me laugh, sergeant. Slaughter talks about his tiny purse, or bad ADR and stolen star Wars Sound effects. The animation is impressive in some parts and many of the action-heavy scenes have a solid flow, but not everything is equally dated with the visual presentation.
Because of transformers and My little pony didn’t do well with their theater tours, Hasbro called to send Soldier Joe: The Movie straight to video, which could have been as big a mistake as not filming Duke’s death scene. The movie still holds up, even after rough production and a few bad calls, it’s a thrilling adventure that stands on its own but out of sync with the rest of the franchise. He tried to give fans the best version of himself by leaving a lasting impression and a reason to scream «Hey Joe!»