What a mess that movie turned out to be. Not the movie itself, but the events around the movie. I was all pumped to see it in the theater, then Hasbro and Paramount went and delayed the movie to add in 3D effects...or something like that. While I really enjoyed the movie, I'm sad to say it didn't help the G.I. Joe franchise much.
2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the G.I. Joe brand. What started off as a series of 12 inch figures (can you call them dolls?), the Joes were re-invented so to speak in 1982 as the premier 3 3/4" action figure line. Hasbro wanted to cash in on the success of the Stars Wars line, thus the smaller Joes were born. They were given their own nemesis organization, Cobra, to defend against. The Real American Hero G.I. Joe franchise went on to great success with several seasons of an animated cartoon, toy series by Hasbro and a long comic book run by Marvel Comics. All was well.
Similar to Transformers, G.I. Joe found retail shelf space for many many years. However today, I feel that the end of the line is here for the Joe franchise. After watching the Retaliation movie, I started wondering and looking back and what went wrong. This is what I came up with.
Interest started to wane in the toy line. By this time the original Sunbow cartoon was over. DIC had a short lived animated series, but what I remember of it paled in comparison to the original series. Marvel's run of the comic was also coming to an end.
Just like Transformers, G.I. Joe came back with a new theme in the following years. New toys (or at least repainted toys) could be found at retail. Despite my feelings of some the subsequent series, the brand continued to survive through new toys and other forms of media. Then came the first live action movie, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra. This movie was freakin' horrible. I really can't find anything redeemable from the movie. Well maybe Rachel Nichols who portrayed Scarlett. Cobra Commander was a joke, Destro I just couldn't buy into and the guy that portrayed Zartan will always be that guy from the Mummy movies. Hasbro created a huge movie tie-in series of toys that mostly warmed the retail shelves. There were a few good toys, some of which I plan on sharing here on the blog at some point, but overall I don't believe the toy line fared as well as Hasbro had hoped.
I do have to say that when I finally watched the movie, I was impressed. I liked the casting of the actors and actresses of the main characters. I was glad Cobra Commander returned to his iconic cartoon/comic/toy look. It was a good action oriented movie and it was everything the first movie should have been. However it was just a little too late.
The annual G.I. Joe Convention hosted by Fun Publications just took place a few weeks ago. Lacking in attendance was Hasbro. The 50th anniversary of the brand, in a celebration of the brand, and Hasbro was no where to be found at the convention. If that doesn't ring loud I don't know what does. There are a few new toys slated for release in 2014 as Toys R Us exclusives, but outside of those and the convention exclusive items released this year it looks like this is the last hurrah for the iconic Joe brand.
While it does sadden me a bit to think that brand is dead, I can look back on what was a great run...at least for me. Before I had Transformers, I had G.I. Joe. I have lots of good memories of playing with the toys and watching the cartoon. I never got into Marvel's run of the comic, but I did enjoy the Devil's Due reboot of the comic. Only time will tell if Hasbro has plans for the Joes, but if not I bid you farewell. It's been fun.