Yo, Joe

August 7, 2009

I just finished another short novella, which should be out sometime this year as a Harlequin Undone ebook. This means that, for a week or so, I am on break before jumping into the next project.

But I will be doing research into writing a contemporary. This means I must get to know some of the other Harlequin lines, and generally catching up on what other authors have been doing with historicals.

That’s right.
I’m spending the weekend sitting on the couch, reading romance novels.
It’s my job, ok?
If I feel like it, I’ll eat bonbons at the same time.
That’s like, you know, multi-tasking.

But I am also finding some time to see some movies. This afternoon, we got in a family matinee of GI Joe.

The rest of the family wanted to go because they are male. I wanted to go because it has Christopher Eccleston in it. I will watch any movie that has my favorite Doctor Who.

I was the only one there rooting for COBRA.

The kids may think of GI JOE as a badly animated cartoon with a moral at the end of each episode. But I remember Joe from the 60’s, back when he was over 11 inches tall, and hotter than Ken. I don’t know if it was the uniform that got to Barbie, or the fact that Ken did not come with his own knife and grenades.

When you think about it, it is probably better to go for the guy that has access to a tuxedo and a hot car, then one who wants to bring his M16 on dates. Dating that type never ends well.

But even before we understood the physical difference between the sexes, we girls knew unconsciously that there was something not quite right about Ken. Too smooth, in more ways than one.

But at some point, GI Joe changed. He got shorter, for one thing. He ceased being 100% American, which was kind of strange, given that he started out about as regular army as it was possible to be. He got a whole bunch of weird friends, and they got a whole bunch of enemies, and everyone got peripheral weapons and toys. It all got very confusing.

Fortunately, it is not necessary to understand much if you go to the new film. But here are a few pointers I picked up.

Christopher Eccleston is probably the only one in this cast that was capable of doing a Scottish accent.

And as I now know, the Scots are our real enemies. But they hate the French worse than they hate us. They may want to replace the US president with Imhotep from The Mummy, but they want to blow up all of Paris, starting with the Eiffel Tower. All because of something that happened in the 1600’s. Yeesh.

Sienna Miller is now American. Who knew?

And the US president is white. And English.

White guys also make the best Ninjas. We can tell from the flashbacks. But we do not have to let the colorblind casting bother us, because Snake Eyes never takes off his ninja mask. He also does not speak.

He is a good guy who wears black and is named after a snake. Fighting bad guys named after snakes.

Evil ninjas are Asian, and wear white instead of black. At first, I thought that the black/white costume switch was some big (for the Hasbro universe) symbolic take on the ambiguous nature of good and evil. But sons #1 and 2 explained that no one wants to play with a ninja action figure wearing a white suit. Ergo, the good guy has to wear black.

There are women in the GI JOE universe.

Red heads are plucky.
Brunettes are evil.
Blondes are the girl back home.
Although blondes may become evil, if they dye their hair.
And the only reason for a blonde to dye her hair dark?

Mind control.

Redheaded Scarlett may be able to fight as good as a man (especially against brunettes in low cut catsuits) but she must get stuck last in line to get the standard issue uniform. Her zipper is broken. Stuck half open.

Although the secret COBRA base is in the Arctic, they do not take the one character who could deal with the conditions. Snow Job is not in the movie. Possibly because the secret GI JOE base is in Egypt. Snow Job probably quit the team. I expect it gets warm, having to wear a parka and goggles if you work in Egypt.

This whole movie is a lot more fun if you have recently watched Team America: World Police. As a matter of fact, it’s a lot like rewatching Team America. But you can’t see the strings on the characters.

Well, most of them, anyway. I was not totally sure about the evil Doctor, played by that kid who was in 3rd Rock from the Sun. He looked like a puppet to me.

And most importantly, if I worked in Hollywood, and had to pick one friend, it would definitely be Stephen Sommers. Working with him has got to be even a surer thing than reading Harlequins on the couch. Half the cast of The Mummy was in GI Joe, like some kind of pyrotechnic Where’s Waldo.

Not that I minded.

I got enough Christopher Eccleston. But I could have used some more Brendan Fraser. This movie definitely needed more Brendan Fraser.

But as #1 son says, “What movie doesn’t?”