Monday, March 01, 2010

Star Trek and G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (2009)

In recent weeks, I've watched both G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra and Star Trek. Both of them are 2009 sci-fi/action films, and both are revivals/updates of successful franchises. And my thoughts on both of them are very similar, so I'll review them together.

Both films do an excellent job of updating the franchises to present them to a wider audience. And they've avoided the worst pitfalls of the absolutely terrible Transformers (a 1 star movie), i.e., neither one of these films puts a lot of goofy crap into it, and neither one stars Shia LaBeouf. The action in these movies is interesting, and the characters are at least somewhat believable.

However, they both suffer from one major pitfall: They both do too much to court long-time fans of the franchises. I understand this is good business. But they simply cram way too much of their respective mythologies into too short a time frame. Why couldn't they take a cue from the re-started Batman franchise, and let the movie itself come before the expectations of fans? In that franchise, they are allowing the mythology to gradually re-develop, the way it developed in the first place. The technique was successful there, among new and existing fans, so there's no reason it couldn't have worked on these two movies.

Now, on to the movies individually. I've been a fan of the G.I. Joe franchise since a very young age. The movie was a little less believable, and I didn't much care for the main characters Duke and Ripcord, although I liked the other characters. I wish they would have kept all of the love triangle crap out of it, too. But it was still entertaining, and since I'm a fan of the franchise, I'll give it the benefit of the doubt and a 3 out of 5 star rating.

As for Star Trek, I'm not really a big fan of the franchise, although most of the movies have been pretty good (as opposed to the T.V. series). The Kirk character was a little over-the-top, but I suppose that could be ascribed to his youth. I was very impressed with the way they "rebooted" the franchise, discarding continuity problems without discarding continuity itself. It is definitely a better movie than Rise, so I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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