Yo, Joe! Cobralalalalala…….There are three movies that deeply disturbed me as a sensitive child of the mid 70s and 80s – the first time I saw The Wizard of Oz, the flying Monkeys gave me nightmares – I still get nightmares to this very day about them, then there was the H.R. Puffingstuff movie and finally in the late 80s there was a little known, rarely shown movie version of the 80s cartoon series G.I. Joe. It was called G.I. Joe: The Movie and it basically gave a lot more color and back story to Cobra Commander – he’s really from another planet. If you read the recent 19 part Star Wars: New Jedi Order series about the invasion of the Yuuzhan Vong, it’s a blatant rip-off of the G.I. Joe movie. But this review isn’t about the G.I. Joe: Movie, it’s about the original G.I. Joe cartoon series which the later movie was based on. When I watched this series, I couldn’t help but get more and more ticked off at how much of a bastardization the upcoming Hollywood movie is going to be.
While watching the 4 disk Season 1.1 collection the one thing I realized is that the cartoon series never talked down to you, or assumed that the kids watching it were complete idiots. The cartoons were actually pretty violent and the Joes spent most of the episodes getting their butts kicked. But the one thing that made the Joes special was the fact that they were the best of the best in their individual fields, the teamwork and the camaraderie they all shared. All of this is missing from the new movie, based on the trailers that I’ve seen so far. They didn’t need dumb looking metal suits to enhance their abilities.
The animation holds up remarkably well and the story still work. The first part of season 1.1 of G.I. Joe was basically three “movies,” that were broken up into 5 episode story arcs. Disk 1 is the “G.I. Joe: The M.A.S.S. Device” where Cobra terrorizes the world with a Transporter Beam. The second movie, “G.I. Joe: The Revenge of Cobra” is where they end up creating a Weather Machine. In the third mini-series “G.I. Joe: The Pyramid of Darkness” Cobra builds a weapon that will neutralize all electrical power in the Earth’s Northern hemisphere. The last disk contains the several stand alone episodes from the cartoon series.
The DVD Set includes some of the original “Knowing is Half The Battle” PSAs, a couple of featurettes where the original writer Ron Friedman looks back, Hasbro Toy Commercials, The 1963 Toy Fair Presentation and a printable script. Not a bad set of features. The Menu Navigation is fairly basic and there are no subtitles.
Sometimes when you take a walk down memory lane, I end up asking myself, was I high as a kid? That’s not the case here, the animation style of G.I. Joe holds up surprisingly well. Yeah them screaming Yo Joe and Cobra! Every couple of minutes is still a bit irritating but I found myself sucked back into the G.I. Joe world. G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero, Season 1.1 will be available, July 21, 2009, in a 4 disk DVD Set and includes 20 original Season 1 episodes including the 3 movies that started it off.
- TV Show – A
- Picture Quality – A
- Features – B
- Menu – A
Final Overall Grade – A
by Michelle Alexandria
Originally Posted 7.12.09