DVD Review G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Season 1.1
Cast: Duke, Scarlett, Cobra Commander, Flint, Destro, Zartan, Snake Eyes Running Time: 22 episodes (22 minutes each) Due out: July 21, 2009
Plot: G. I. Joe is the codename for America's daring, highly trained, special mission force. Its purpose: To defend human freedom against Cobra, a ruthless, terrorist organization determined to rule the world. Yes, that's straight from the theme song, but that pretty much sums it up, right? Maybe this will help more ... Duke & Flint = good guys. Cobra Commander & Destro = bad guys.
Who’s It For? Kids, kids kids … and then after that, guys who grew up loving the cartoons and toys.
Episodes: There are four DVDs in the mix and each are separated by a continuous story, except for the final disc. It's great to have the mini-series, but the one thing they do a terrible job of is character development. Each mini-series brings a new stream of characters to sell. Yes, sell.
Disc One - A Real American Hero: The M.A.S.S Device Disc Two - The Revenge of Cobra Disc Three - The Pyramid of Darkness Disc Four - Random Epsidoes.
There's a chance some could say the series jumps the shark with "Fatal Fluffies" and Shipwreck's talking parrot. But really, the whole thing is just good old fashion cartoon fun. I haven't done the proper research, but I'm still searching for the episode featuring Shipwreck on an island where everyone eventually melts. I swear I didn't make this up. Score: 7/10
Looking Back with Writer Ron Friedman (Three Parts): This guy really believes in what he's selling.Friedman talks about escape, and also painting the clear black and white strokes of good and evil. He even says he wrote the theme song. If you want someone to dissect the ethos of G.I. Joe, then here you go. Immortality is what he's after. I guess G.I. Joe gave that to him.
Original Hasbro Commercials: The kids faces are blurred out (so they don't have to be paid), and it seems they are just random commercials.
Public Service Announcement: Knowing IS half the battle, and while there are definitely more PSAs out there, this is a nice selection.
G.I. Joe's Original 1963 Toy Fair Presentation: Wow, this is the gold mine for people interested in advertising, Americana, or the history of G.I. Joe. They actually show you in the commercial that the canteen will fit in a pouch, and that pouch will fit on the solider's belt.
The other extras: Printable “Jungle Trap” script
Extras Score: 7/10
Always action-packed, and always dodging red and blue lasers. That's the G.I. Joe collection in a nutshell. Sure important lessons can be gained like in an earlier episode when we learn you can survive huge amounts of radiation poisoning (if you're Snake Eyes). Or maybe it's when Quick-Kick tosses one throwing star to block three of Storm Shadow's, then explains he's a stunt man stuck in the snow because he's director took off. I said there is only one reason to buy Transformers – The Complete First Season 25-Year Anniversary DVD, and that's if you have kids. Well, G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Season 1.1 is the exact same. My sketchy memory has G.I. Joe: The Movie (1987) with the introduction of Serpentor as the best this cartoon series ever offers. That's the thing though, nostalgia is very powerful and sometimes just enough to push you over the top.
G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero Season 1.1 exists to tap into the selling power of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (coming out August 7, 2009), which exists to sell tickets because of the nostaglic allure of the "G.I. Joe" cartoon. It's a circle. Whether you decide that's a good thing or bad is up to you.
G.I. Joe was my toy growing up. The cartoons help me remember that. Now I must decide if I wasted part of my childhood or not. Knowing really is only half the battle.
Final Score: 7/10
And here's a bonus clip from the very first "G.I. Joe" episode.