Here’s an item that’s a little different that the art artifacts I usually show: Merrill Hassenfeld’s obituary from The Evening Bulletin, an afternoon edition of the Providence Journal. Hasbro was a family-owned company for three generations, and Merrill represents the middle of that. He had no direct interaction with A Real American Hero and the 1980s iteration of G.I. Joe, but he approved the original, 1963 Joe. Merrill’s son Stephen learned much from his father while climbing the ranks at Hasbro, and Stephen was president of the company (and heavily involved in A Real American Hero’s development) when G.I. Joe was re-introduced in 1983. Authors John Michlig and G. Wayne Miller both paint interesting portraits of Merrill Hassenfeld in their books GI Joe: The Complete Story of America’s Favorite Man of Action and Toy Wars, and if I could be a time-traveling fly on a wall, I might go to Mr. Hassenfeld’s office circa 1970.
Today we’ve got something different and special if last week’s text review of the theatrical cut of G.I. Joe: Retaliation wasn’t enough to sate your critical appetite. Late last year my friend and editor Nick Nadel sat down with me to discuss the ups and downs of the G.I. Joe: Retaliation Best Buy Exclusive Extended Action Cut. We chatted for 2 hours, so this 37.5 minute cut represents (hopefully) me trimming the fat from the meat while still keeping the steak understandable. Note: spoilers abound, and someone says the s-word at the very end. We had a great time, and I Ioved putting on my editor’s cap, so when there’s time we’d like to record another. Let me know what you think in the comments, and spoilers will probably pop up there, so there’s your light warning. Download or stream.
Download 90.2MB mp3, 37 min 33 sec:
G.I. Joe: Retaliation is a fun movie and a good adaptation of the Hasbro brand, capturing both the spirit of the Sunbow cartoons and the Marvel comic book. It has solid performances, convincing visual effects, and manages to both act as a sequel to Paramount’s hugely flawed 2009 G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, while also somewhat ignoring that and rebooting the franchise as a new first installment. Much credit goes to Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, who’s great as Roadblock, the film’s heart, and director Jon M. Chu, for exciting action sequences and properly mining G.I. Joe for many of the things we’ve always wanted to see onscreen. I certainly raised my eyebrow when Chu was announced for the director’s chair based on his previous filmography, but I recognize that professionals have skills that don’t always correspond to past work. The man who directed one of my favorite commercials went on to direct three of my least favorite films, so it can easily go the other way. (That would be Michael Bay, the Aaron Burr/Got Milk? spot, and Transformers.) Don Jurwich, who directed the animated G.I. Joe, had previously worked on Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo. If there had been an internet in 1983, would we have reacted poorly after seeing Jurwich’s name in the Joe TV credits reel? Some additional credit goes to writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (both of Zombieland), who turned in a decent action script that needed to serve several masters. There are story problems, but the bar was set low by The Rise of Cobra. Continue reading
Hi all, sorry it’s been quiet. Busy with school and store. Three items today.
1) I’m putting the finishing touches on my long-promised film review of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. Should be up next week.
2) I’ve finished editing an audio podcast of a completely different film review of G.I. Joe: Retaliation. This one’s me in conversation with editor Nick Nadel, and we talk about the Best Buy Blu-Ray Extended Action Cut. Will post after the text review.
3) A Real American Book is on Twitter! Follow me @GIJoeBook. Don’t miss another update!
Thanks for your patience and your readership. Here is a tiny doodle of Destro.
Here. This is topical since the author is a) my father, and b) the second editor on my G.I. Joe book.
Terence T. Finn worked for NASA and the US Senate. Later he spent eight years and read 150 of books to bring you America At War. Each chapter covers one war we’ve fought and ends with a series of questions and answers (Did we have to drop the bomb on Hiroshima?). Though the cover design makes it look like this is for adult males who watch the History Channel, it’s written for everyone — students, history lovers, lapsed history lovers, and the curious.
Fun fact: I indirectly gave my dad the idea for the cover design. My highest and most biased recommendation! And if you’re in Somerville, MA, you can buy it at my store.
Here’s Kurt Groen’s presentation art (marker over photocopy, not paint) for 1992 Duke in green, brown, and black, as opposed to the beige and red that made it to market.
What other colors might that trash can have been?
While Ron Rudat is best known for designing the G.I. Joe figure line (and a few vehicles) from 1981 to about 1987 (for the ’82 to about-the-’88 lines), what’s less well known is that he continued to contribute after that. Case in point, Star Bridgade Cobra Commander. Remember when Cobra Commander was an astronaut? You don’t? Oh, that’s because you perhaps stopped paying attention to the Real American Hero line before its end in 1994. Well, to catch you up, those final two years had a bunch of favorites (Duke, Roadblock, Destro) in astro-gear. And some aliens. (A topic for another day). Anyhoo, full disclosure, I added the color above. Today’s art is a black and white photocopy. Continue reading