When I was growing up, there were two types of people. There were people who played with GI Joes and people who played with Transformers. You can guess which guy I was. The Transformer-boys had a higher, more lofty attitude and knowledge to the world, understood why we had a space-program and why we had to be better than our fathers. GI Joe boys? They shot people with bb guns and carried around hunting knives and talked about silly stuff like football and motor vehicles. They were not serious about their playtime. I honestly believe that GI Joe is a very long, tired, silly joke, and the movie is going to bomb and fail like the McCain Campaign (Oh Snap!). There is a real reason why GI Joe has languished in the public mind share while the Transformers have only gotten better. And, hey, look at that. I’m going to explain why.
First, I have to explain why we play with toys. It is the same reason we read and watch movies. The real world sucks. It sucks really badly. It’s not your fault, its just how it is. We need a distraction. We need to be away from all that crap. It is always interesting to see what we use for the distraction. Transformers are as far away from the real world as you can get. These things are giant robots, hiding in the real world. The idea of them being robots is, yes, important. And they blow things up and hit things and punch people. Yes, that’s great. But they are in disguise! They are hidden. If you enjoy the Transformers, you believe that there are hidden, special, amazing things in this world that we aren’t privy to. The world is grander and more impressive than it looks, and Transformers reinforces this idea.
GI Joe? Yeah, lets break this down. First, they are guys with guns. Second, they are guys with guns who hunt terrorists. Seriously, GI Joe attacked terrorism and the war on terrorism and terrorist doing terrorism before GW Bush even wanted to beat one off on the White House fancy carpet. Third, the Joes are all the best and the brightest from around the World, making the GI Joe force a collection of human beings on a mission to eradicate “Evil”. Sound familiar? Yeah, cause its real. It’s way, way too real.
Seeing guys with guns shooting each other, firing rockets and being the “Real American Hero” isn’t, and never will be, better or more interesting than mega, giant robots the size of a house tossing each other around. The more fantastic, the more Unreal, a concept is, the better. It isn’t a coincidence that everyone’s favorite GI Joe is Snake Eyes. He doesn’t speak, he kicks incredible ass, and we never see his face. He is everything a man wants to be. Too bad the rest of the Joes can’t be any cooler…