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A Non-Review of “G.I. Joe: Retaliation”

March 31, 2013

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It’s been a long time since I’ve put up a blog post, but I’m feeling somewhat rejuvenated after a trip to St. Louis.  Well, that and I just got all the office computers working again.  Nothing makes you have to write like spending a while being unable to write.

While on my trip to the Midwest  I had the pleasure of attending an AMC “Dine-In” theater.  Before attending a showing, I was skeptical about the experience.  Watching a movie while people are walking around serving food?  It sounded distracting to my immersive movie-watching experience.  Well, I was wrong.  It was brilliant.  If you’re lucky enough to be able to find an AMC “Dine-In” theater (there’s one in Marina Del Rey that I WILL be attending), you should go.  The ticket prices aren’t that much higher, the food prices are comparable to a mid-range family restaurant, and having big, comfortable seats is great.  Having a button to push that makes someone show up to refill your soda is even better.  Its a bit of decadence that actually made me feel better.

You may notice that, with the exception of the title of this Blog, I haven’t mentioned the movie I saw.  That’s partially because of the general pleasant experience of the Dine-In theater itself… I really don’t want to detract from the excellence of the service and comfort it offered with any negativity.

In fact, I generally try to avoid negativity when posting information online.  Oh, I’ll make mention of things that annoy me, true, and if something is very personal to me, I may have to engage in some negative commentary to successfully convey my feelings.  So, unless it’s something very personal or close to my heart, such as certain political and theological subjects, I try very hard to simply avoid making negative commentary.  This can be tricky, at times, because some things that I experience are, in fact, vile in the extreme and require some negative commentary.  I might even be tempted to go on at length about the nature of negative commentary itself, rather than bite the bullet and simply say something bad about a book, a game, or in this case, a move.

(Sigh)

The movie I saw was “G. I. Joe: Retaliation.”  I’ll try to stay positive, here; if you never saw the first G. I. Joe movie, then “Retaliation” could, potentially, function as an acceptable stand-alone action movie.  It has a mixture of humor, action, and a certain amount of pathos and political intrigue that, in combination, has entertainment value.  In inclement weather, there are certainly worse ways to pass two hours in a climate-controlled environment than sitting through “G. I. Joe: Retaliation.”

Crap, I’m running out of positive things to say.  (If you want the full barrage of my negativity about the experience, drop me a note or something and I’ll unleash).

Rather than talk about the obvious problems of a sequel where the majority of the actors involved in the first movie are no longer involved, I’d like to take a different tack.  I’d like to talk about a potential new system for vetting movies.  I think this system would greatly improve the quality of many films currently being produced; let me know what you think!

This system kicks in if someone is going to make a movie based on a beloved cartoon, comic-book , or television show, with a large and loyal fan-base.  In order to be eligible for all of the permits and such that a movie of this nature requires, it has to pass a simple test.

The director of the movie MUST prepare a reading of the first quarter of the script, which will be presented at a publicly available panel at that year’s Comic-Con in San Diego.  At this panel, the director must be sitting in the same room as at least a thousand die-hard fans of the show the movie is based on.  They may not have a security wall nor may they have physical guards.  They will read the first quarter of their script in this environment.  If they can do this, and make it out of the room alive, they can make their movie.

Some people might say that a quarter of the script is too much to reveal; this is possible.  Others may cringe at how much damage someone can do with the unread three-quarters of the script.  Perhaps they need to present only a general outline of the script.  This isn’t really the important part.  The minutiae of the procedure can be argued endlessly; what’s important is the philosophy presented.

If the director isn’t fully prepared to stand in a room full of people who love the original show and talk about what they’re prepared to do to it in their movie, at full risk of their own bodily safety, they shouldn’t be allowed to make the movie.

Alternately, I suppose, the director could be hooked up to a polygraph and asked “If I, a loyal fan of the property, go and see your movie, will I have the irresistible urge to track you down and kick you in the groin?  Repeatedly?”  If they can not truthfully answer “no,” no movie may be made.

I’m just thinking of all of the experiences I’ve had that would never have been, if something like this was in place.  “X-Men 3; Actors Leaving a Project” comes to mind.  “Batman and Robin.”  “Rocky and Bullwinkle.”  “Mask”  (Cher was great, but WHERE were the flying cars?)

So, while I’m going to try and stay positive about “G. I. Joe: Retaliation,” I WILL say that I don’t think it would have passed the “Comic-Con Unprotected Presentation” test.  I shouldn’t have to end a nice evening of comfort and dining with the irresistible urge to kick someone in the groin.  Repeatedly.

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