Monday, June 23, 2008

Yo...Joe?


That there is a teaser poster for next year's G.I. Joe movie. A movie that I am not as vehemently opposed to as I thought I'd be. I mean, sure, I'm disappointed that this thing got made before Aaron Cameron and I could fantasy-cast it. But I don't think it's going to be raping my childhood or anything.

There are some (many) things that give me pause, however. Starting with Stephen "Van Helsing" Sommers behind the camera. Uh...yikes. Channing Tatum as Duke I'm ambivalent about. Duke's not such a deep and complicated character that he needs to be an award-winning thespian or anything (I'm pretty sure "Yo Joe!" is the extent of his personality), so casting an attractive slab of granite like Tatum isn't a bad idea. It does signal a significant youth-ifying of the story as a whole which on the one hand is more realistic (America's elite fighting force would probably not be a bunch of grizzled old vets), but on the other strains credulity when you're talking about fantastical taking-over-the-world plots. What do kids know about weather-changing machines and DNA-cloning anyway?

The rest of the cast is similarly a mixed bag. Let's examine, shall we?

Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Cobra Commander: Okay, he's easily my favorite actor in the cast, so that's a plus, but...Cobra Commander? I guess the degree of cartoonification (or not) in this role will probably dictate the tone the movie will take (I don't know how you make someone like Cobra Commander realistic without making him totally boring but whatever), so there's a lot of wait-and-see here. I'd kind of rather see JGL using his time more wisely, to be frank.
Joe's Alternate: Josh Lucas

Brendan Fraser as Gung-Ho: Gung-Ho was never a favorite of mine, so to see him so prominently featured (particularly with characters like Flint and Roadblock absent) is a little boring. But what luck! They cast one of the more boring American actors in the role! Perfect!
Joe's Alternate: Thomas Jane

Dennis Quaid as General Hawk: Yeah, sure, boring character, whatever.
Joe's Alternate: Quaid's fine

Rachel Nichols as Scarlett: That's more like it. Great (and most likely economical) casting there. I've liked Rachel Nichols ever since that last season of Alias, and I think she can really shine here.
Joe's Alternate: I'm just glad we didn't get Olivia Wilde or Megan Fox.

Sienna Miller as The Baroness: Total wasted opportunity here. The Baroness should be one of those roles an actress can really dig into. There had to have been better actresses available who could have invested the part with the kind of largesse it deserves. Think Angelina Jolie in Alexander crossed with...well, Angelina Jolie in Wanted, from the looks of it.
Joe's Alternate: Kisten Dunst. ...Just kidding; Angelina Jolie, come on.

EDIT: In hindsight, Jolie's not an ideal choice, both because her star power would overshadow the rest of the cast/production, and because you could get more bang for your buck with a Famke Janssen or a Milla Jovovich (credit to Cam for that last one).

Arnold Vosloo as Zartan: I like this one. Zartan's maybe more verbal than Vosloo is used to being, but he's also a chamaleon, and I think Vosloo offers a great palette for that.
Joe's Alternate: Justin Theroux

Christopher Eccleston as Destro: This is perfect casting, and I have no qualms with it at all. And considering the movie appears to be hewing closer to the comic books than the cartoon, Eccleston's Scottish roots suit the character. But as someone who grew up with the cartoon, I always thought Destro was...well, black. So while I find zero fault with the casting as it is, I nevertheless might have cast it differently.
Joe's Alternate: Lance Reddick or Eammon Walker

Ray Park as Snake Eyes: I guess if you're looking for a guy who never speaks and you barely ever see his face, Ray Park is the guy to go for.
Joe's Alternate: Will Yun Lee

Byun-hung Lee as Storm Shadow: He was in Hero, but I don't remember who he was or what he did. And if we're on the Zhang Yimou tip anyway, why not...
Joe's Alternate: Takeshi Kaneshiro

Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Heavy Duty: Okay, I don't remember who Heavy Duty was at all, but if it gets Adebisi back on a screen in front of me, so much the better.

Interesting to note the characters who are absent so far: Flint (like I said), Lady Jaye, Shipwreck, Dr. Mindbender, Tomax and Xamot. I guess the absence of the latter four means we're going way less cartoony for the movie. Probably a defensible choice, but I'll miss that crazy asshole Mindbender (seriously, how great a show is it when even your mad scientists wear a cape and no shirt?), and the former two are perhaps being held in reserve for a sequel? They were kind of second-generation Joes.

Holy shit, I wrote a whole lot about the G.I. Joe movie, huh? Please tell me some of you have thoughts on this matter so I don't feel so weird. Any casting choices you might add to mine?

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