When Fin was a newborn and still really sick and in the hospital, my wife and I would spend all day by his side and then nights at my in-laws’ house. We usually grabbed dinner somewhere and headed back home and went right to bed, just to get up and do it all again, for several weeks in a row. But one night, when G.I. Joe: Rise of Cobra came out, we went out to eat and then went to the drive-in. My son was sick, but I wasn’t going to miss G.I. Joe. I spent way too much time and money on the toys and TV shows and comics as a kid to let something like a constant hospitalization get in my way.
Not really, but I felt helpless, as helpless as I’d ever felt in my life, and entertainment was a good distraction. So we saw the movie and it wasn’t great, but I couldn’t tell if it wasn’t great because the drive-in screen and sound system sucked or if everything about the situation sucked or if the movie sucked. I liked a lot of things about it, and eventually, when it came out on DVD, I watched it a bunch of times in a row, and got to the point where I enjoyed it for reasons that I didn’t expect, like Scarlet and The Baroness fighting and over-the-top battle scenes contrasted against the real-life combat element. I was hoping to be a little more sucked in by the individual characters and their unique skill sets and Destro’s metal mask moving when he talked, and all that fun stuff. Those things pretty much never happened, or were featured so minimally it was almost not worth mentioning. Snake-Eyes was cool, though.
The sequel looked more promising. A new director, a primarily new cast, more ninjas, the continued threat of Cobra, the addition of Roadblock and Firefly, not to mention Bruce Willis, and the early exit of Channing Tatum. All this pointed toward an improvement. And Snake-Eyes still looked cool. The movie was supposed to come out this Friday. Now, it’s been pulled from its release date as a summer action flick and moved to sometime in March. The official reason is that they need the extra time for 3D conversion. But the real reason is to reshoot and rewrite part of the movie because Channing Tatum is suddenly a bigger star than everyone thought he would be and test audiences didn’t want him killed off. Also, initial screenings have indicated an improvement on the first flick, but not enough of an improvement to be a tentpole release. No real surprise there. Now I have to wait until late this winter to see a movie that’s probably not very good and has probably been made worse by this PR disaster and a whole bunch of bad press.
Not that I should care. I really shouldn’t. But my closet at home is full of three things: clothes, my writing and drawings from college, and G.I. Joe toys. I have a box of action figures I played with when I was a kid and I have an unopened Snake-Eyes from every line they’ve launched ever since. I’m like the rest of the poor kids standing in Walmart, staring at aisles of G.I. Joe: Retaliation toys and merchandise and wondering why I can buy a Roadblock with kung-fu grip and an M2 Browing machine gun but I can’t go see the movie until March. Not okay, movie-making people. Not okay. You can let the grown ups down, but you can’t let the kids down. That just hurts.