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Similarities Between Octopussy and GI Joe--Threshold Productions (UT)

Carl's Topic of the Day

Wed., November 17, 1999

Similarities between James Bond's Octopussy and GI Joe
a commentary by Carl Sticht

Have you ever seen the same kind of characters in different movies and thought to yourself "I bet they got that idea from..."? Well, if you haven't then I'll share a little piece of trivial information with you. And if you care enough, this might actually help spark up some kind of interesting dinner conversation you can put to the test later. (Remember, I did say this is TRIVIAL information, so don't change your whole way of life just yet.)

To celebrate the opening of James Bond's umpteenth film The World is Not Enough, I've been renting a few of Bond's old films, including the latest releases along with the first couple that I'd seen when I was growing up. One of these was the movie Octopussy. However, as I watched the beginning, I couldn't help but think to myself that there were certain similarities to some of my favorite GI Joe characters.

Now, before I continue, I must do a little bit of clarification. For those of you that might think I'm talking about the old gargantuan GI Joe dolls that were started in the ‘60's, I'd like to make something clear–I was not a kid at that time. I wasn't even on the earth then. The molecules that made up my being were more than likely still forming in the dirt somewhere in the land of California (which is probably the secret to why I love movies so much, but we'll save that topic for another time). I grew up during the era of the small 3 & 3/4" action figures that were made by Hasbro in the mid ‘80's. These were the toys of my childhood, and they helped make me as conflicted–er convicted--as I am about certain governmental policies and otherwise important issues pertaining to defense strategies and my stance on the freedoms we have in this country. (Whew! If you didn't think that was a long enough sentence, don't worry: I've got more right around the corner.)

So as I was watching the beginning to Octopussy, Bond was dressed in an army uniform which after being captured helped him become a striking resemblance to the Joe code-named Duke. There he was with the grin, haircut and essence that makes Duke what he is, one of the most popular Joes out there. (Now I'm not opinionated, am I?)

A smile parted my lips at the thought that Duke's character was somehow influenced by one of my favorite Bond's. However, I dismissed the thought briefly and contributed it more to the possibility of chance and coincidence than anything else. What substantiation did I have that the people at Hasbro were pulling their ideas from watching James Bond movies? Ludicrous!

I entertained this notion for just a moment before I unpaused and continued on with the movie. But then, just after the opening titles to the movie started playing out before me, I realized this might be just a little more than coincidence after all.

The sequence I'm referring to involved one of the other British agents being chased through a forest by a pair of circus twins. As soon as this part came on, I couldn't help but think about Tomax and Xamot, twin brothers who fought against GI Joe who made their first appearance in the GI Joe comic as–guess what–circus performers! (And I mark that revelation with an exclamation mark!) It was after this that I couldn't help but think that something must have been up with GI Joe.

My obvious opinion on the matter is that the toy developers had borrowed from the characters that Octopussy brought forth. I am not condoning this however if this is the truth. Many times I myself come up with ideas that I think are original and have never been seen before. But inevitably–as is always the case–my hopes are shattered to billions of pieces when I later discover that they are just like this character in that movie, or that plot in this movie. I feel this occasionally occurs because we are reaching into our subconscious when we create something–anything. Our minds are a great reservoir of experiences that have influenced us for good or bad over the course of our existence, but unfortunately we are never able to remember the sources for all of our ideas at their inception.

I guess the real reason for writing on this topic is not to help unite people against Hasbro, or anything else that this article might insinuate, but to rather hopefully campaign successfully for the masterminds at Hasbro to make a Denise Richards toy based on her character in this next Bond movie. Because we are, after all, mostly influenced by our subconscious, and this article might just be a medium for me to justifiably arrive at this point. Because after all, whoever thought of writing a respectable article about why they should make a Denise Richards toy?

-Carl Sticht

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