G.I. Joe: The Movie
Studio: Shout! Factory
US Release Date: July 27, 2010
Original Release Year: 1987
Rated: Not Rated
Running Time: 93 minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 widescreen (Blu-ray), 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen and 1.33:1 full screen (DVD)
Audio: PCM 2.0 Stereo (English)
Movie: 2.5 out of 5
After the success of the animated television series, Hasbro decided to bring G.I. Joe to the big screen in an animated feature in 1987. Due to the box office failure of the studio’s Transformers: The Movie and My Little Pony, G.I. Joe: The Movie became destined instead for direct-to-video and television syndication.
After a 3 minute opening title sequence, which has very little to do with the plot of this movie, we find that there is dissension within the ranks of Cobra, as Serpentor (voiced by Dick Gautier) and Cobra Commander (voiced by Chris Latta) argue over who is at fault for the organization’s troubles. Pythona (voiced by Jennifer Darling) breaks into the Terrordrome, and convinces Serpentor to attempt to capture G.I.Joe’s latest weapon, the Broadcast Energy Transformer, or BET. A major battle ensues in a snow-covered canyon, and although Cobra fails to capture the BET and Serpentor is captured by the Joes, Cobra retreats to the land of Cobra-la, where we are introduced to Golobulus (voiced by Burgess Meredith).
Meanwhile, back at Joe headquarters, a rookie team is being assembled that includes Duke’s half-brother, Lt. Falcon (voiced by Don Johnson), a dim-witted slacker so full of himself and little respect for authority one must wonder if Duke was entirely responsible for Falcon’s recruitment. This group of recruits are an annoying bunch, especially Big Log (voiced by Brad Sanders), who can’t seem to do anything without spouting his own sports monologue. Falcon allows his ego to get in the way and allows Serpentor to escape, and Golobulus sets his plan in motion, launching spore pods into orbit that have the ability to mutate humans into beasts.
G.I. Joe: The Movie is not a great movie, by any means. The characters are very one-dimensional, the plot is goofy, and the animation is not much better than typical television fare of the era. That being said, the action sequences are fun to watch, and the movie does have its charm.
Video: 3 out of 5
G.I. Joe: The Movie arrives on Blu-ray in its originally intended 1.78:1 widescreen theatrical aspect ratio in 1080p high definition encoded in the AVC codec. The one problem with the aspect ratio, though, is it does at times feel claustrophobic, likely because the film was animated and photographed in 1.33:1 and cropped for widescreen, as evidenced in the screen captures from the included DVD which contains both 1.78:1 anamorphic and 1.33:1 full screen transfers.
The Blu-ray contains only the 1.78:1 widescreen version. Colors are vivid and consistent, film grain is present but not distracting, and compression artifacts are non-existent. The print does contain some visible dirt and scratches, but are never distracting. This is about as good as the film is ever going to look.
Audio: 3 out of 5
The audio on the Blu-ray includes a PCM 2.0 stereo soundtrack that is acceptable, but could easily be confused as mono. Dialogue is intelligible, and fidelity is adequate, considering the film’s budget and age. Bass response is negligible. When played back in Pro-Logic mode, the surrounds are never really engaged. Instead, there is quite a bit of bleed-through of dialogue. For that reason, I would recommend setting your receiver to Direct or Stereo when viewing this film.
Special Features: 3 out of 5
Both the Blu-ray and DVD contain the same features, all in standard definition.
Audio Commentary With Story Consultant Buzz Dixon: Dixon starts off the commentary, paraphrasing David Fry, “I accept the blame for what you are about to see, but not the responsibility.” Dixon then explains that the opening sequence was added at the last minute, and was created by Hasbro, with no input from any of the creators of the series and feature film. He also points out that he was responsible for writing the screenplay, but was not credited due to contractual reasons. This is an interesting commentary, with Dixon often apologizing for some of what appears on screen, but also pointing out parts of the film that the executives at Hasbro were responsible for. However, there are periods where Dixon has nothing to say, sometimes lasting minutes.
Knowing Is Half The Battle PSAs (4:00): The remaining eight public service announcements missing from the TV series DVD sets appear here in 1.33:1 standard definition.
Art Gallery: A set of 12 character sketches.
Original Script: Exclusive on the DVD, accessible from a DVD-Rom drive, is a PDF of the screenplay.
Overall: 3 out of 5
Shout! Factory completes its G.I. Joe series sets, which is sure to please fans of the 1980s icon. The video and audio presentation are acceptable, with an interesting commentary track and the final PSA’s that were missing from the series sets. Definitely for fans only.