G.I. Joe to Become Global Task Force in Movie
Friday, September 07, 2007
By Catherine Donaldson-Evans
Say it ain't so, G.I. Joe.
The popular all-American comic-book military man and action figure dating back to the 1940s is undergoing a significant transformation for the Paramount Pictures-distributed "G.I. Joe" film, which begins production in February and is scheduled for release in summer 2009.
No longer will G.I. Joe be a U.S. Special Forces soldier, the "Real American Hero" who, in his glory days, single-handedly won World War II.
In the politically correct new millennium, G.I. Joe bears no resemblance to the original.
Paramount has confirmed that in the movie, the name G.I. Joe will become an acronym for "Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity" — an international, coed task force charged with defeating bad guys. It will no longer stand for government issued, as in issued by the American government.
The studio won't elaborate, saying filming hasn't begun and details are still in the works, but the behind-the-scenes rumblings are that the producers have decided to change the nature of G.I. Joe in order to appeal to a wider, more international audience.
The word is that in the current political climate, they're afraid that a heroic U.S. soldier won't fly.
Joe's transformation, however, isn't sitting well with diehard fans and military types.
"I find it outrageous that they'd want to drop everything American" from the character, said conservative blogger Warner Todd Huston, who wrote about the rumors this week on Newsbusters.org and his own blog. "That's nuts."
Retired Army Col. David W. Hunt, a FOX News military and terrorism analyst, called the scheme to make a whole new Joe "a shame."
"G.I. Joe is a U.S. guy," Hunt said. "What are we going to call it — Global Joe? International Joe? It's kind of stupid. It's ridiculous that they're doing that."
Paramount wouldn't say whether an American would be part of the new "global entity," nor would it offer specifics about the storyline or the characters.
"It is too early to tell about plots. We just don't know that," Jessica Rovins, a marketing executive at Paramount, told FOXNews.com.
But she did confirm the accuracy of an article that ran in the film trade publication Variety, which reported last week that G.I. Joe the soldier is being transformed into G.I.J.O.E. the task force.
A Navy spokeswoman said the studio and film's writers have already approached people at the Pentagon for input.
"They had talked about what would be the best way forward, but without seeing a treatment we don’t know yet which way it’s going to go," Lt. Stephanie Murdock, a project officer in the Navy Office of Information West, told FOXNews.com. "We're definitely open to assisting them when they get around to asking us."
But with no script in hand, she said, it's hard to gauge how the military feels about the characterization of G.I. Joe.
The comic-book character and toy line have already undergone an evolution of sorts since Joe first won the hearts of American little boys — and some little girls — beginning in 1942 with the comic strip and in the early 1960s with the action figure.
In the 1940s, he debuted as a comic-book hero in a strip that ran in U.S. military magazines during World War II.
In the 1960s, G.I. Joe was a burly U.S. Special Forces soldier, the "Real American Hero" of both comic book and action figure fame. The doll had various versions and counterparts of different races and ethnicities, but he was clearly an American male soldier.
In the post-Vietnam War era in the 1970s, Hasbro decided to downplay G.I. Joe's military theme by renaming the line "The Adventures of G.I. Joe" and recasting Joe as the leader of an adventure team charged with espionage missions and fighting evil.
But in the 1980s, the toy company Hasbro made G.I. Joe more of a superhero and added a host of other action figures, expanding the line to include characters that made up a team of international operatives.
Now some critics say the globalization of G.I. Joe has gone too far.
"G.I. Joe is not an international hero. That's crap," said Col. Hunt. "They don't have to water it down. That doesn't make sense."
For blogger Huston, who played with G.I. Joe as a boy, transforming the entire character into an amorphous task force in the movie feels like a hit to his childhood memories.
"I certainly understand that it's for international audiences, but these things are American icons," he said. "Why even pretend it's G.I. Joe then? I am a little bit upset about the whole thing."
Huston believes it's the latest example of Hollywood's hostility toward all things American, and he said he probably won't go to see the film if the existing plans are executed.
"It's the last spit in the face of our military," Huston said. "The doll was G.I. Joe, the government-issued guy who was a hero and American. It was celebrating this one heroic soldier. They want to take even that away."
But in order to be a true success these days, a film has to play well to foreign markets as well as stateside in everything from box-office to DVD sales.
For some citizens of other countries — where sentiments against the Iraq war and the American government are strong — a U.S. soldier might not be the easiest character to get viewers to identify with.
Paramount's Rob Moore, a high-level marketing executive, recently told AdAge.com that it was too soon to know what the global response would be to the film.
"Until there's a [locked] script, I don't think you can really comment on what the international reaction will be," he said. "There are parts of the world where [the negative perception of the American government] is an issue, like Western Europe, and parts where it isn't, like the U.K., Australia and Asia."
Hasbro, the maker of the G.I. Joe action figure line, declined to comment about what's in store for its line of G.I. Joe toys and action figures.
But the toy company's chief operating officer, Brian Goldner, has previously spoken to the media about plans for the movie and brand.
"There are always challenges ... G.I. Joe is not just a brand that represents the military, it also represents great characters," he told AdAge.com. "We'll weigh our options. Clearly we do a lot of work on consumer insight."
The film will be directed by Stephen Sommers, produced by Di Bonaventura Films — which just did the highly successful "Transformers" movie — and written by Stuart Beattie and Skip Woods.
G.I. Joe was just a toy, wasn't he?
Monday October 29, 2007
Hollywood now proposes that in a new live-action movie based on the G.I. Joe toy line, Joe's -- well, "G.I." -- identity needs to be replaced by membership in an "international force based in Brussels." The IGN Entertainment news site reports Paramount is considering replacing our "real American hero" with "Action Man," member of an "international operations team."
Paramount will simply turn Joe's name into an acronym.
The show biz newspaper Variety reports: "G.I. Joe is now a Brussels-based outfit that stands for Global Integrated Joint Operating Entity, an international co-ed force of operatives who use hi-tech equipment to battle Cobra, an evil organization headed by a double-crossing Scottish arms dealer."
Well, thank goodness the villain -- no need to offend anyone by making our villains Arabs, Muslims, or foreign dictators of any stripe these days, though apparently Presbyterians who talk like Scottie on "Star Trek" are still OK -- is a double-crossing arms dealer. Otherwise one might be tempted to conclude the geniuses at Paramount believe arms dealing itself is evil.
(Article continues below)
(Just for the record, what did the quintessential American hero, Humphrey Bogart's Rick Blaine in "Casablanca," do before he opened his eponymous cafe? Yep: gun-runner.)
According to reports in Variety and the aforementioned IGN, the producers explain international marketing would simply prove too difficult for a summer, 2009 film about a heroic U.S. soldier. Thus the need to "eliminate Joe's connection to the U.S. military."
Well, who cares. G.I. Joe is just a toy, right? He was never real. Right?
On Nov. 15, 2003, an 85-year-old retired Marine Corps colonel died of congestive heart failure at his home in La Quinta, Calif., southeast of Palm Springs. He was a combat veteran of World War II. His name was Mitchell Paige.
It's hard today to envision -- or, for the dwindling few, to remember -- what the world looked like on Oct. 25, 1942 -- 65 years ago.
The U.S. Navy was not the most powerful fighting force in the Pacific. Not by a long shot. So the Navy basically dumped a few thousand lonely American Marines on the beach at Guadalcanal and high-tailed it out of there.
(You old swabbies can hold the letters. I've written elsewhere about the way Bull Halsey rolled the dice on the night of Nov. 13, 1942, violating the stern War College edict against committing capital ships in restricted waters and instead dispatching into the Slot his last two remaining fast battleships, the South Dakota and the Washington, escorted by the only four destroyers with enough fuel in their bunkers to get them there and back. By 11 p.m., with the fire control systems on the South Dakota malfunctioning, with the crews of those American destroyers cheering her on as they treaded water in an inky sea full of flaming wreckage, "At that moment Washington was the entire U.S. Pacific Fleet," writes naval historian David Lippman. "If this one ship did not stop 14 Japanese ships right then and there, America might lose the war. ..." At midnight precisely, facing those impossible odds, the battleship Washington opened up with her 16-inch guns. If you're reading this in English, you should be able to figure out how she did.)
But the Washington's one-sided battle with the Kirishima was still weeks in the future. On Oct. 25, Mitchell Paige was back on the God-forsaken malarial jungle island of Guadalcanal.
On Guadalcanal, the Marines struggled to complete an airfield that could threaten the Japanese route to Australia. Admiral Yamamoto knew how dangerous that was. Before long, relentless Japanese counterattacks had driven the supporting U.S. Navy from inshore waters. The Marines were on their own.
As Platoon Sgt. Mitchell Paige and his 33 riflemen set about carefully emplacing their four water-cooled .30-caliber Brownings on that hillside, 65 years ago this week -- manning their section of the thin khaki line that was expected to defend Henderson Field against the assault of the night of Oct. 25, 1942 -- it's unlikely anyone thought they were about to provide the definitive answer to that most desperate of questions: How many able-bodied U.S. Marines does it take to hold a hill against 2,000 armed and motivated attackers?
But by the time the night was over, "The 29th (Japanese) Infantry Regiment has lost 553 killed or missing and 479 wounded among its 2,554 men," historian Lippman reports. "The 16th (Japanese) Regiment's losses are uncounted, but the 164th's burial parties handled 975 Japanese bodies. ... The American estimate of 2,200 Japanese dead is probably too low."
You've already figured out where the Japanese focused their attack, haven't you? Among the 90 American dead and seriously wounded that night were all the men in Mitchell Paige's platoon. Every one. As the night of endless attacks wore on, Paige moved up and down his line, pulling his dead and wounded comrades back into their foxholes and firing a few bursts from each of the four Brownings in turn, convincing the Japanese forces down the hill that the positions were still manned.
The citation for Paige's Medal of Honor picks up the tale: "When the enemy broke through the line directly in front of his position, P/Sgt. Paige, commanding a machine gun section with fearless determination, continued to direct the fire of his gunners until all his men were either killed or wounded. Alone, against the deadly hail of Japanese shells, he fought with his gun and when it was destroyed, took over another, moving from gun to gun, never ceasing his withering fire."
In the end, Sgt. Paige picked up the last of the 40-pound, belt-fed Brownings and did something for which the weapon was never designed. Sgt. Paige walked down the hill toward the place where he could hear the last Japanese survivors rallying to move around his flank, the belt-fed gun cradled under his arm, firing as he went.
Coming up at dawn, battalion executive officer Major Odell M. Conoley was the first to discover how many able-bodied United States Marines it takes to hold a hill against two regiments of motivated, combat-hardened infantrymen who have never known defeat.
On a hill where the bodies were piled like cordwood, Mitchell Paige alone sat upright behind his 30-caliber Browning, waiting to see what the dawn would bring.
The hill had held, because on the hill remained the minimum number of able-bodied United States Marines necessary to hold the position.
And that's where the unstoppable wave of Japanese conquest finally crested, broke, and began to recede. On an unnamed jungle ridge on an insignificant island no one ever heard of, called Guadalcanal.
When the Hasbro Toy Co. called some years back, asking permission to put the retired colonel's face on some kid's doll, Mitchell Paige thought they must be joking.
But they weren't. That's his mug, on the little Marine they call "G.I. Joe." At least, it has been up till now.
Mitchell Paige's only condition? That G.I. Joe must always remain a United States Marine.
But don't worry. Far more important for our new movies not to offend anyone in Cairo or Karachi or Paris or Palembang.
After all, it's only a toy. It doesn't mean anything.
1 post • Page 1 of 1
G.i. Joe To Become Global Task Force In Movie
- Joined: Nov 4 2006, 03:04 PM
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. ... The means of defense against foreign danger historically have become the instruments of tyranny at home." -- James Madison
<A href="http://www.aclu.org/clock"><IMG src="http://www.aclu.org/images/buttons/surv ... iliate.gif" border=0></A>"Crito, I owe a cock to Asclepius; will you remember to pay the debt?" -- last words of Socrates, recorded by Plato (Phaedo 118a, tr. B. Jowett)
http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fusea ... ID=6711696
Use www.Scroogle.org more - http://www.wikipedia-watch.org/usatoday.html
0 people like this