G.I. JOE Charity Movie Premiere Review
Last night Allison and I went to the Charity Premiere of G.I. JOE: Rise of COBRA. This was underwritten by Hasbro so that the entire donation went to Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Bradley Hospital. We headed down to the theater in Warwick RI. I had assumed all along that this was the theater at the Mall. Luckily that nagging suspicion in my head was right and I double checked the tickets, and printed up directions. With Yahoo Maps you can set it so that individual small maps appear on the printed direction for each turn and you can shut off parts of the directions too. I turned on a few of the maps nearest our destination, which was not the Warwick Mall in fact. I must have accidentally turned off direction #8 which was the actual exit to get off of 95. Luckily I remembered. But that is where Yahoo Maps steered us wrong. But we got to the theater in plenty of time.
Arriving at the Theater
When we arrived there were signs for the premiere and a special parking area. People were milling around outside the theater waiting for the doors to open. There were two sets of those moving spotlights (Which I thought was weird in the daytime but looked very cool at night!) and two large stand ups on either side of the doors with portraits of many of the main characters. The Rhode Show was there filming and talking to people. At 6:15 the doors opened, we went down the red carpet and into the lobby which had been transformed into the Baroness Lounge.
The Pre-Movie Party
There were many great little heavy hors d’oeuvres at various stations around the lobby. There were mini beef and mini turkey sliders. Mini pizza’s, a fried roasted red pepper and risotto popper, tortellini on skewers, mini taco salads and a few other items. The plates were the G.I. JOE plates and napkins that are sold for birthday parties. All around the place were decorations both small and large, they tables had G.I. JOE toys for the movie line including vehicles, figures and oversized figures. At the middle of the front of the room there was a movie prop / vehicle the Mole Pod. A fast moving single passenger digging machine that shows up in the movie.
Off to the right side at the front of the room there was a wall for taking photos. People were milling about over there and waiting for our special guests. I had no clue who would be attending. While Allison and I were having our food over at a table I noticed a guy who was signing posters and tickets. I did not recognize him, I didn’t know who he was. I would soon learn that the guy signing things was Stephen Sommers the director of G.I. JOE. Later in the photo area he was joined by Lorenzo di Bonaventura, Brian Goldner and Rachel Nichols (Allison, we’ve seen her before she was in the TV show The Inside, She was blond then. We couldn’t figure if we’d seen her before in something. She was also in Star Trek but she had green skin so unless we were really up on her we wouldn’t have known. And we didn’t watch Alias which she was in as well.)
Time for the Show
At 7:15 we moved into the theater, along the way we picked up popcorn and sodas. The sodas were in G.I. JOE themed plastic cups that we kept. We found decent seats and then took turns hitting the facilities before the movie started. While Allison was gone I realized that we were two rows behind Stephen Sommers, Lorenzo di Bonaventura and Rachel Nichols. They had just had 14 days of non-stop flying, meeting, greeting and promoting for the movie and they came here as well to talk to the crowd before the movie. I heard Rachel talking with Stephen and Lorenzo about how she’s brought a dress to stand up in but it wasn’t so good for sitting so as soon as the movie starts she’d be going to change into jeans. It was all in a very down to earth sort of way an in no way inflated and Hollywood. She was really cool and gracious.
First About the Charity
Then the evening entertainment began. We had remarks from some Radio personalities, then We heard from Stephen Sommers, Brian Goldner, Lorenzo di Bonaventure and Rachel Nichols. We also heard from a few people from the hospitals and watched a short film about Bradley Hospital. We were there for the hospitals and charity of course. Allison remarked that looking around she felt they could have filmed the Real Housewives of Rhode Island because the crowd was a mix of fans my age and then Rhode Island socialites and then fans who had the original G.I. JOES action figures.
I’m going to say it again, I think that Runpee is going to have a hard time finding a spot to go during this movie. Stephen Sommers said that from start to finish it is a fast ride and it was but still there was time for characterization and storytelling. Future Transformers movies, take notes.
I’m going to give you my general impressions of the movie itself and then get into the nitty-gritty in a spoiler-y review. I’ll give you plenty of warning as to the spoiler part.
The Movie – Non Spoiler.
If you like action movies you are going to enjoy this one. If you like movies with a plot you are going to like this one. If you like movies with humor you will like this one. I think that G.I. JOE has boiled down to a great summer movie. Interesting characters with well done storytelling, some great transitions between the past and the present or slightly in our future, as that is where the movie is set.
The action was intense and I’d probably say the PG-13 rating is very warranted for the level of violence, there is very little blood but the violence is intense. There is a scene between two young boys with martial arts skills that is pretty intense which would fire up the 10 and under crowd a bit because the kids look about 8-10 years old. Lots of swordplay and people killed with swords and large knives. Not graphic and bloody but people do die. There is also a character that is severely burned. All I’m saying is that there are a few scenes that might be too intense for the 10 and under crowd.
There is also a bit of language. “Oh Shit” “Asshole” and that is about it. Many people were upset with the language of Transformers. While there were more swears in G.I. JOE the language was mostly part of intense battle sequences where the language was pretty appropriate a response to the situation. It wasn’t gratuitous like it was in Transformers.
That brings me to humor. This movie does very well with a blend of action and humor. Marlon Wayans was certainly the guy brought in to provide humor but it was tempered, appropriate for each situation and his character Riptide was more than the funny man. He was pretty awesome. I loved his performance.
I loved the action sequences. The battles between Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, The wicked vehicles, the race through the streets of Paris in the Delta 6 Accelerator suits. Why they didn’t call them Sigma Six suits is beyond me. G.I. JOE Sigma Six is about G.I. JOE Characters who have Sigma 6 suits that enhance their abilities… Hmm, would have been a better tie in.
After the Movie
Both Allison and I loved the movie and we talked about it all the way home from the show. Directly after the movie ended I ran to the men’s room and there two urinals down is Lorenzo di Bonaventura. We were the only two people in the bathroom at this point. I went and broke the guy rule about no talking in the bathroom.
Me – to Lorenzo, “You guys did an excellent job on that movie.”
Lorenzo – to me “Thank you, are you a fan?”.
Me – “Yes, sir since ’84!”
Lorenzo – “Then that is high praise, glad you liked the movie.”
Me – “I certainly did, it was great.”
When I left the bathroom I saw Stephen Sommers walking around in the hallway. I went right up to him and told him how much I enjoyed the movie and what a great job he did with it. He was very appreciative and I shook his hand (Don’t worry, I washed my hands after the bathroom break).
I met back up with Allison and we walked by Rachel Nichols (She plays Scarlett). I shouted over, “Rachel, great job!” She was taking pictures with people but she shouted back, “You liked it?!” I shouted back, “It was great!”
Was we left the theater we were given a gift bag for attending the show. The bags were ones that were black and depicted Snake Eyes on one side and Storm Shadow on the other. Inside was a 3 3/4 inch figure, a G.I.JOE Action battler, a Cobra Magnet, G.I. JOE arm band Tattoo, Issue #1 of the movie adaptation comic, A 100 piece Puzzle (Allison got Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow, I got Ripcord and Duke) and a cup on a lanyard. Allison had Storm Shadow’s Action Battler in her bag and I had Snake Eyes. She gave me hers. We also both got Neo Viper 3 3/4 figures. I am giving one to the Christmas is For Kids box I have at the house as well as one for my buddy John.
In all it was a fantastic night! We had so much fun and the vibe was incredible! Hasbro did a fantastic job with the entire event.
SPOILER REVIEW (in white on the blog so you have to highlight, I want those reading in a feed reader or via e-mail that the writing below might not be white.)
Wow, this movie surpassed my expectations big time. Early on when I saw the initial designs for the characters and they all had these black suits and were so non-descript I was pretty let down. Where was the mish-mash of characters of different branches of the military and their colorful costumes. That was forgotten very early on. Although it would have been cool at the Pit if there were some characters milling about that you could easily recognize. Like maybe Shipwreck or Quick Kick or even Wild Bill. How awesome would it have been to see Wild Bill in his Dragonfly copter.
There was one surprise at the pit however and that was a cameo by Brendan Frasier as “?” (Slashfilm says Gung Ho but to me he looked like he could have been Flint because of the beret. Gung Ho had a different kind of hat altogether and a Cajun accent.) I liked the cameo though it was really cool to see Frasier pull up on a Can Am with the G.I. JOE logo (movie logo not the Real American Hero one).
Real American Hero, no, not anymore the team is an international one. That kind of bugged me a bit when I first heard about it but not a big deal and it works for this movie. The Pit is located in Egypt and I’d hate to be the guy who has to sweep up every time a plane comes in and out. The pit is huge and it is filled with so many cool things and tons of Joes.
Basically the Arms Manufacturer James McCullen is running a double deal. He manufactures these warheads filled with self replicating nano-mites that will eat everything in their way. They can be programmed to just eat metal and those destroy enemy weapons and infrastructure but they can also eat anything including man, woman and child. McCullen’s M.A.R.S. outfit is shipping a case of 4 warheads from his factory to NATO, I think.
The convoy to bring the arms to NATO is lead by Duke and his best friend Ripcord. They exchange a few friendly barbs with each other and we learn that they have been together in the service for 10 years and they are deciding what they want to do when they re-up. Ripcord wants to be in the Air Force but Duke wants to be in the fight on the ground. That is where he feels he should be. the convoy is then attacked by Baroness.
I really liked the storytelling here in this movie, the connections that were made between the characters, the relationships and the interactions. It was really well done, especially the back story on characters, it was revealed as the movie progressed rather than some sort of narrator and dossier being read.
In the firefight of the convoy we learn that Duke knows Anna, Baroness. Their relationship is revealed as we move through the movie. We learn about how Duke and Anna were engaged, what made them split and what turned her into The Baroness.
The main players in the movie are General Hawk, Heavy Duty, Breaker, Snake Eyes, Scarlett, Ripcord and Duke on the Joe’s Side. On COBRA’s side there is McCullen, Baroness, The Doctor, Storm Shadow and Zartan. On both there are armies of warriors the greenshirt (urban camo) Joes and the Neo Vipers and COBRA troopers, although they are not called COBRA troopers they are more just non-descript cannon fodder.
So Duke and Ripcord survive the attack on the convoy and save the warheads. They are saved by Scarlett, Heavy Duty, Breaker and Snake Eyes who are already part of G.I. JOE team Alpha. Duke refuses to hand over the case of warheads because that was his mission to complete. So he and Ripcord go with the Joes.
I don’t want to reveal much more because I want everyone to enjoy this movie for the fun ride it was. Some things that I really liked were the character interactions, the fantastic action, the tricked out hum vee (it was like a COBRA Hiss Tank in Disguise so full of weapons and it will make sense to you why you don’t see much in the way of COBRA symbols and vehicles), there was however the Night Raven and it looked awesome! I also liked the use of Zartan, Snake Eyes and Storm Shadow and their origins was done well. The final scenes were fantastic and chilling. The set up for another movie (you knew that was coming) and basically how these people became who they were, we learn this through flashbacks and also through the movie itself. So well done.
The only things that I have issues with are the final costume for COBRA Commander. I wanted that head cowl with the COBRA symbol on it not the Dr. Freeze bubble. And I also don’t like the Lips on Snake Eye’s costume they looked so weird. Other than that thing I had no other major issues with the movie. It was really fun and I can’t wait to see it again.
For a sequel I really want to see the Dreadnoks, Beachhead, Lady Jaye, Flint, Shipwreck, Firefly and COBRA Commander in full on Regalia!