For the week of 8/6/09
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G.I Joe Resolute
So your toy franchise is going into live action and will most likely suck, and people want something good? Who ya gonna call? Warren Ellis, author of numerous comic books, amongst them genius works like Freak Angels and Transmetropolitan, of course!
For some reason the fact that Ellis knew absolutely nothing about G.I Joe might have been the reason Resolute turned out the way it did. Ellis has no qualms about killing off classic characters, or no sense of “oh, now they're going to jump out of this vehicle, just before it explodes.” The opening scenes bring to mind the old Transformers animated movie, where nothing was sacred and we may as well face that some people simply will not be making an appearance here again. In Resolute, people die, and it is a glorious thing Joaquim Dos Santos and his team of animators and voice actors and whatnot have put together.
Resolute seems to pick off somewhere near where the old cartoon or comics left off. Cobra Island seems abandoned since ages ago, there's a bunch of new Joes, a younger generation, and of course this is where it all goes to hell. The first 10 minutes (2 episodes) of this are like watching your childhood memories hit the PG-13 rating while running. It's brutal, shocking and incredibly captivating, and sets the tone for what's to come. Obviously Cobra Commander is up to his good old shenanigans of getting power and money, holding every nation in the world hostage until they give him what he wants. And no, none of those empty threats or “ooh, look, my device incinerates your bills!” crap, this time the terrorist organization is serious, and seems to be holding all the cards. And Snake Eyes is off to finish the fight with Storm Shadow, to top it all off.
Yes, Resolute goes off on a ninja tangent in its multiple storylines all intertwining, but as an origin story as well as a closer, the thing is pretty spectacular. Other storylines include Tunnel Rat and his cunning plan, Scarlett and Duke, Roadblock and Gung Ho, and a lot of classic Joes are hanging around for the sake of hanging around.
I said it earlier, but it takes saying again, Resolute definitely isn't childish, and it spares no one and nothing. Cobra Commander is a genuinely creepy character (“There will be none of your crap! None of it”), the Baroness is a total psycho and nobody has any qualms about eliminating hostiles in gruesome ways. This is all aided by a mostly highly pleasing art style and fluid animation, which borrows a few tips from Japan, and about the only problem I had with it was that whenever things are exchanged for 3D objects it shows, and it ruins the flow for me, but this has, it seems, always been an issue when trying to do this sort of thing.
Another thing that shows is that, while the four actors who do the voices all do a pretty good job, it is often quite noticeable that the entire acting crew consists of three guys and a girl, but it doesn't take away from the story being told. A story that, in a lot of ways, feels like the ultimate G.I Joe experience, making you believe that the Joes really are ruthless and the best at what they do, that can be taken seriously, regardless of how much I felt it could use a few more Joe redshirts, some blood, and people managing to understand that standing ten feet away from one another in the open is not ideal when you're opening fire with an automatic weapon.
Still, it undoubtedly seems like it will be far better than Rise of Cobra, and since it should be available on both Adult Swim and Youtube, you have no reason not to spend an hour watching this if you ever wanted to scream “Yo Joe!” as a child.