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G.I. Joe is a 2007 American military science-fiction action film based on the G.I. Joe toy line. The film was directed by Stephen Sommers, with Steven Spielberg serving as executive producer. It is the first installment of the live-action G.I. Joe film series and the second film in the Hasbro Cinematic Universe. It stars Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Duke and Cobra Commander respectively. The story follows two American soldiers, Duke and Ripcord, who join the G.I. Joe Team after being attacked by an hostile military force known as Cobra who plan to launch a global nuclear threat around the world from the lost city of Atlantis and it's up to the Joes to stop them. Marlon Wayans, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Christopher Eccleston, Byung-hun Lee, Sienna Miller, Rachel Nichols, Dennis Quaid, and Said Taghmaoui also star.

The film was produced by Don Murphy, Tom DeSanto, Bob Ducsay and Brian Goldner. Stuart Beattie, David Elliot, and Paul Lovett were hired to write the story and screenplay. The U.S. Armed Forces and General Motors (GM) loaned vehicles and aircraft during filming, which saved money for the production and added realism to the battle scenes.

Hasbro's promotional campaign for the film included deals with hundreds of companies. Advertising included a viral marketing campaign, coordinated releases of prequel comic books, toys, and books, as well as product placement deals with GM, Burger King, and eBay.

G.I. Joe received mixed to positive reviews from critics and fans. It is the 11th highest-grossing film of 2007, grossing $395 million worldwide with an estimated 16 million tickets sold in the US. The film was nominated for four awards from the Visual Effects Society and was nominated for three Academy Awards, for Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects. Tatum and Levitt's performances were praised by Empire. A sequel, The Rise of Cobra, was released on July 22, 2009. A third film, Retaliation, was released on March 28, 2013. crossover with the Transformers series, Transformers vs. G.I. Joe, was released on February 27, 2015. A fourth film is in development.

Plot Edit

Cast Edit

G.I. JoeEdit

  • Channing Tatum as Conrad S. Hauser / Duke
    The lead soldier. Lorenzo di Bonaventura was originally interested in casting Mark Wahlberg,[1] and when the script was rewritten into a G.I. Joe origin story, the studio offered the role to Tatum.[2] Tatum had played a soldier in Stop-Loss, an anti-war film, and originally wanted no part in G.I. Joe, which he felt glorified war.[3] The actor later detailed that he wound up in the film due to a contractual obligation with Paramount, given Tatum signed a three picture deal following Coach Carter. Tatum was a fan of the G.I. Joe franchise growing up, and expressed interest in playing Snake Eyes despite Paramount wanting him for Duke.[4]
  • Marlon Wayans as Wallace A. Weems / Ripcord
    A pilot with a romantic interest in Scarlett.[5] A fan of the franchise, Wayans was cast on the strength of his performance in Requiem for a Dream.[6] Bonaventura said that the film showed Wayans could be serious as well as funny.[5]
  • Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Hershel Dalton / Heavy Duty
    An ordnance expert and field commander of the team. Common was offered the role of Heavy Duty's cousin Roadblock,[7] although Bonaventura previously indicated Heavy Duty was being used in that character's stead.[1] Stuart Beattie ultimately chose to have Heavy Duty instead of Roadblock.[5]
  • Dennis Quaid as General Clayton M. Abernathy / Hawk
    The Joes' commanding officer. Quaid described Hawk as "a cross between Chuck Yeager and Sgt. Rock and maybe a naïve Hugh Hefner".[8] Quaid's son convinced him to take on the part, and the filmmakers enjoyed working with him so much, Stuart Beattie wrote "10 to 15 more scenes" for the character.[5] He filmed all his scenes within the first two months of production.[9][10]
  • Rachel Nichols as Shana M. O'Hara / Scarlett
    Scarlett graduated from college at age 12 and became the team's intelligence expert. Having left school so early, she does not understand men's attraction to her. Nichols was the first choice for the role.[5] Nichols had dyed her blonde hair red – Scarlett's hair color – for her role in Star Trek, which she filmed before G.I. Joe.[11] She burned herself filming an action sequence with Sienna Miller.[12]
  • Ray Park as Snake Eyes
    A mysterious ninja commando who took a vow of silence, a departure from the character's traditional difficulty in speaking due to grievous vocal wounds, a close member of the Arashikage ninja clan, and Storm Shadow's rival. Park specifically practiced wushu for the role, as well as studying the character's comic book poses.[13] Park was already familiar with the character, but knew very little of the surrounding saga of G.I. Joe versus Cobra, so he read the comics to further understand the character. He was nervous about wearing the mask, which covered his entire head quite tightly, so he requested to practice wearing it at home. He found the full costume, including the visor, very heavy to wear and akin to a rubber band; he had to put effort into moving in it.[14]
  • Leo Howard as young Snake Eyes
  • Saïd Taghmaoui as Abel Shaz / Breaker
    The team's communications specialist and hacker. He is seen chewing gum during the Battle of Paris in an homage to the original character.[5][15]
  • Karolína Kurková as Courtney A. Krieger / Cover Girl
    Hawk's aide-de-camp. Kurková described going from her modeling career to making such a film as "an amazing experience", but said she was upset about not taking part in any action sequences.[16]
  • Brendan Fraser (uncredited) as Sgt. Geoffrey Stone IV / Stone
    Fraser was reportedly going to play Gung-Ho, but was instead later revealed to be playing Sergeant Stone.[17][18] According to the director's commentary on the DVD, Fraser begged director Stephen Sommers to be in the movie, making it his fourth collaboration with Sommers after the The Mummy franchise.[19]

CobraEdit

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Rexford G. "Rex" Lewis / The Doctor / Cobra Commander[20]
    The Baroness' brother, a former soldier who was thought to have been killed during a mission led by Duke – instead, he became the disfigured head scientist of Military Armament Research Syndicate (MARS). USA Today reported that Gordon-Levitt would play multiple roles. Gordon-Levitt wore prosthetic makeup under a mask that was redesigned from the comics because the crew found it too reminiscent of the Ku Klux Klan.[21][22] Upon seeing concept art of the character, Gordon-Levitt signed on because; "I was like, 'I get to be that? You're going to make that [makeup] in real life and stick it on me? Cool. Let me do it.' That's a once-in-lifetime opportunity."[23] Gordon-Levitt is a friend of Tatum and they co-starred in Stop-Loss and Havoc. His casting provided extra incentive for Tatum to join the film.[3] Gordon-Levitt described his vocal performance as being "half reminiscent" of Chris Latta's voice for the 1980s cartoon, but also half his own ideas, because he felt rendering it fully would sound ridiculous.[21]
  • Christopher Eccleston as Laird James McCullen XXIV / Destro
    A weapons designer and the founder of MARS who is the main villain in the early part of the film.[5] Irish actor David Murray was originally cast as Destro, but was forced to drop out due to visa issues.[24] Murray was later cast as an ancestor of James McCullen in a flashback scene.[25]
  • Sienna Miller as Anastasia DeCobray / Ana Lewis / The Baroness
    The sister of Cobra Commander and a spy.[26] Years earlier, The Baroness was going to marry Duke, but he left her at the altar,[5] due to his guilt over her brother's apparent death.[27] Miller auditioned for the part because it did not involve "having a breakdown or addicted to heroin or dying at the end, something that was just maybe really great fun and that people went to see and actually just had a great time seeing."[28] Miller prepared with four months of weight training, boxing sessions and learned to fire live ammunition, gaining five pounds of muscle.[29] She sprained her wrist after slipping on a rubber bullet while filming a fight scene with Rachel Nichols.[12]
  • Lee Byung-hun as Thomas Arashikage / Storm Shadow
    Snake Eyes' rival; both were close members of the Arashikage ninja clan. Lee was unfamiliar with G.I. Joe because the franchise is unknown in South Korea, but Sommers and Bonaventura told him that it was not necessary to watch the cartoons to prepare for the role. Lee was attracted to Storm Shadow's "dual personality," which he stated has "huge pride and honor."[30]
  • Brandon Soo Hoo as young Storm Shadow
  • Arnold Vosloo as Zartan
    A disguise expert who serves Destro.[31]
  • Kevin J. O'Connor as Doctor Mindbender
    A scientist in McCullen's employ who developed the nanomite technology.[32] After playing Igor in Van Helsing, this is O'Connor's fourth collaboration with Stephen Sommers.

ProductionEdit

DevelopmentEdit

In 1994, Larry Kasanoff and his production company, Threshold Entertainment, held the rights to do a live-action G.I. Joe film with Warner Bros. as the distributor, but instead chose to concentrate their efforts on their Mortal Kombat films. As late as 1999, there had been rumors that a film from Threshold Entertainment was still a possibility, but that project never panned out. In 2003, Lorenzo di Bonaventura was interested in making a film about advanced military technology; Hasbro's Brian Goldner called him and suggested to base the film on the G.I. Joe toy line.[33] Goldner and Bonaventura worked together before, creating toy lines for films Bonaventura produced as CEO of Warner Bros. Goldner and Bonaventura spent three months working out a story, and chose Michael B. Gordon as screenwriter, because they liked his script for 300.[34] Bonaventura wanted to depict the origin story of certain characters, and introduced the new character of Rex, to allow an exploration of Duke.[35] Rex's name came from Hasbro.[36] Beforehand, Don Murphy was interested in filming the property, but when the Iraq War broke out, he considered the subject matter inappropriate, and chose to develop Transformers (another Hasbro toy line) instead.[37] Bonaventura felt, "What [the Joes] stand for, and what Duke stands for specifically in the movie, is something that I'd like to think a worldwide audience might connect with."[35]

By February 2005, Paul Lovett and David Elliot, who wrote Bonaventura's Four Brothers, were rewriting Gordon's draft.[38] In their script, the Rex character is corrupted and mutated into the Cobra Commander, whom Destro needs to lead an army of supersoldiers.[39] Skip Woods was rewriting the script by March 2007, and he added the Alex Mann character from the British Action Man toy line. Bonaventura explained, "Unfortunately, our president has put us in a position internationally where it would be very difficult to release a movie called G.I. Joe. To add one character to the mix is sort of a fun thing to do."[1] The script was leaked online by El Mayimbe of Latino Review, who revealed Woods had dropped the Cobra Organization in favor of the Naja / Ryan, a crooked CIA agent. In this draft, Scarlett is married to Action Man but still has feelings for Duke, and is killed by the Baroness. Snake Eyes speaks, but his vocal cords are slashed during the story, rendering him mute. Mayimbe suggested Stuart Beattie rewrite the script.[40] Fan response to the film following the script review was negative. Bonaventura promised with subsequent rewrites, "I'm hoping we're going to get it right this time."[41] He admitted he had problems with Cobra, concurring with an interviewer "they were probably the stupidest evil organization out there [as depicted in the cartoon]".[1] Hasbro promised they would write Cobra back into the script.[42]

In August 2005, Paramount Pictures hired Stephen Sommers to direct the film after his presentation to CEO Brad Grey and production prexy Brad Weston was well received.[43] Sommers had been inspired to explore the G.I. Joe universe after visiting Hasbro's headquarters in Rhode Island.[44] Sommers partly signed on to direct because the concept reminded him of James Bond, and he described an underwater battle in the story as a tribute to Thunderball.[45] Stuart Beattie was hired to write a new script for Sommers' film,[46] and G.I. Joe comic and filecard writer Larry Hama was hired as creative consultant. Hama helped them change story elements that fans would have disliked and made it closer to the comics, ultimately deciding fans would enjoy the script.[47] He persuaded them to drop a comic scene at the film's end, where Snake Eyes speaks.[48]

Filming and design Edit

Filming began on February 11, 2006, in New York City. The first two levels of the Pit were built there, to complement the rest of the building which would be done with special effects.

Sommers felt "almost 100 percent" of the technology in the film would be available within 10 to 20 years, citing the various books and magazines about developing weapons that he loved reading. For example, Sommers said he believed invisibility was impossible, but the virtual invisibility provided by camouflage camera that projects what is behind a soldier on their front allowed him to include it.

Release and receptionEdit

The film was first screened in the US on July 29, 2007 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland.[49] The premiere was at Hollywood's Grauman's Chinese Theater on August 13, 2007.[50] G.I. Joe started playing at 4,007 theaters in the US,[51] along with 35 overseas markets on August 16.[52]

GeneralEdit

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USA Today[53]

G.I. Joe fans were initially divided over the film.[54] Transformers comic book writer Simon Furman and Beast Wars script consultant Benson Yee both considered the film to be spectacular fun, although Furman also argued that the storyline was a keen off.[55]

The film created a greater awareness of the franchise and drew in many new fans.[56]

When filming the sequel and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, Sommers and Michael Bay were told by soldiers the films helped their children understand what their work was like, and that many had christened their Buffalos – the vehicle used for the Transformers character Bonecrusher – after various Transformer characters.[57]

Critical receptionEdit

On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film had an overall approval rating of 56% based on 159 reviews.

At the website Metacritic, the film received a rating average of 61, based on 35 reviews, indicating that it is generally a favorably reviewed film.

Box officeEdit

In North America, the film had the second highest per-screen and per-theater gross in 2007. It was released on August 16, 2007 with 8 p.m. preview screenings on August 15. The United States previews earned $4.8 million and in its first day of general release, it grossed $21.5 million. G.I. Joe opened in over 4,017 theaters in North America and opened at #1 of the North American box office with an estimated $67.8 million, the second highest opening weekend in August behind The Bourne Ultimatum.[51] It earned an additional $50 million internationally during the same weekend.[52] The opening's gross in the United States was 40% more than what Paramount Pictures had expected. One executive attributed it to word of mouth that explained to parents that "it [was] OK to take the kids". A CinemaScore poll indicated the film was most popular with children and parents, including older women, and attracted many African American and Latino viewers. G.I. Joe ended its theatrical run in the United States and Canada with a gross of $194,201,498. The film sold an estimated 42,255,100 tickets in North America.

The film was released in 10 international markets on August 23, 2007, including Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the Philippines. G.I. Joe made $25.1 million in its first weekend, topping the box office in 10 countries. It grossed $5.2 million in Malaysia, becoming the most successful film in the country's history. G.I. Joe opened in China on August 20 and became the second highest-grossing foreign film in the country (behind Titanic and Transformers), making $31.3 million.[58] The film was officially released in the United Kingdom on August 27, making £8.7 million, and helped contribute to the biggest attendance record ever for that weekend. It was second at the UK box office, behind The Bourne Ultimatum. In South Korea, G.I. Joe recorded the second largest audience for a foreign film in 2007 and the highest foreign revenue of the movie. The film ended it's international run with $201,267,519.

G.I. Joe grossed a worldwide total of $395,469,017.[59] It was the 11th highest grossing film of 2007 worldwide.

AccoladesEdit

Before its release, G.I. Joe was nominated "Best Summer Movie You Haven't Seen Yet" at the 2007 MTV Movie Awards with the award won by Transformers,[60] and at the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, it was nominated "best movie". It was nominated for three Academy Awards, in the fields of Achievement in Sound Editing, Achievement in Sound Mixing (Kevin O'Connell, Greg P. Russell and Peter J. Devlin), and Achievement in Visual Effects (Scott Benza, Russell Earl, Scott Farrar and John Knoll), but lost to The Bourne Ultimatum and The Golden Compass, respectively.[61] It received a 2008 Kids' Choice Award nomination for Favorite Movie, but lost to Alvin and the Chipmunks.[62] The film received a Jury Merit Award for Best Special Effects in the 2007 Kuala Lumpur International Film Festival.[63] Visual effects supervisor Scott Farrar was honored at the Hollywood Film Festival and Hollywood Awards Gala Ceremony on October 22, 2007 for his work on the film.[64]

In 2008, the Visual Effects Society awarded G.I. Joe four awards: for the best visual effects in an "effects driven" film and the "best single visual effects sequence" (the Optimus-Bonecrusher battle). The film's other two awards were for its miniatures and compositing.[65] Broadcast Music Incorporated awarded composer Alan Silvestri for his score.[66] Entertainment Weekly named Ripcord as their fourth favorite comedic character,[67] while The Times listed Duke's depiction as the thirtieth best film soldier, citing his coolness and dangerousness.[68] On the negative side, Dennis Quaid was nominated for Worst Supporting Actor at the 28th Golden Raspberry Awards.[69]

Home mediaEdit

G.I. Joe was released in Region 1 territories on November 6, 2007, on DVD and the now defunct HD DVD format. The DVD sold 7.2 million copies in its first week, making it the second fastest-selling DVD of 2007, in North America, and it sold 180,000 copies on HD DVD, which was the second biggest debut on the format.[70] The DVDs sold 12.63 million copies, making the film the second most popular DVD title of 2007.[71]

It was released on Blu-ray on September 2, 2008.[72] In the first week, the two-disc edition of the Blu-ray was number one in sales compared to other films on the format. The Blu-ray version accounted for two-thirds of the film's DVD sales that first week, selling the third most in overall DVD sales.[73]

SequelsEdit

References Edit

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