Saturday, July 14, 2018

G.I. Joe: Resolute

A number of ‘80s toyline properties initially aimed at children, including some of Hasbro’s IPs, have since garnered an adult fanbase, some of which would rather that franchise cater to them. Rarely does such a franchise actually deliver on this request, which is where G.I. Joe: Resolute comes in. Originally released as a series of 11 episodes (ten 5-minute and one 10-minute) released on [adult swim]’s website, these were then compiled into a feature that was aired on TV and released to home media in this form. Though I’m more of a drive-by fan of G.I. Joe, this special seemed intriguing enough that I watched it via DVD. Not only was it better than I expected, by the end of it I almost wanted to see what happened next.

Cobra Commander (Charlie Adler) has taken the world hostage, threatening to destroy various nations around the world with a particle beam unless the UN gives him control over all of them within 24 hours. When Cobra Commander destroys Moscow to show he’s serious, the Joes, led by Duke (Steve Blum), work tirelessly to come up with a plan to stop Cobra’s plans. Meanwhile, Snake-Eyes has some personal business to take care of when Storm Shadow (Eric Bauza) challenges him to a final showdown at their dojo.

There’s a lot going on in the story, however everything resolves and comes together in interesting ways. The combined form of the special results in some hesitations, meaning you can tell when each of the original episodes starts and ends, however these actually allow one to better absorb what’s going on in the feature’s multiple subplots. The story is overall one of the better takes on G.I. Joe that I’ve seen, not just because of its more violent/serious nature, rather it was just really well-written and executed.

Storm Shadow (Eric Bauza, left) and Snake-Eyes (right) about to face off.

The animation, provided by the well-regarded studio Titmouse, Inc., is very well-done, using a polished, yet gritty art style that fits well with the G.I. Joe setting. Knowing that Titmouse animates in Flash makes the animation quality seem more impressive than it already is since it’s not obvious and very much resembles a more traditionally-animated series.

The voice acting for Resolute is impressive, especially given the size of the cast and that all of them are voiced by four people between them: Steve Blum, Eric Bauza, Grey DeLisle and Charlie Adler. Each actor’s vocal range is on good display here, each of them providing voices for several characters at once while still making them sound different from each other. Steve Blum’s range kind of shows a little if you’re familiar with some of his other work, however I only knew it was him when voicing Duke and some background Joes without realizing who he also voiced (among them Ripcord and Zartan) until the credits rolled. Charlie Adler’s take on Cobra Commander is rather interesting; having seen clips of the original cartoon where the late Chris Latta voiced the character, it was evident that Adler was trying to emulate Latta while at the same time giving it a more sinister twist that matched his more ruthless personality in this feature (amusingly, Latta and Adler have also each provided a voice for different versions of Starscream in the Transformers franchise, as has Blum).

G.I. Joe: Resolute is a very interesting take on G.I. Joe that older fans of the series should not miss. The animation and voice talent are excellent, as are the writing and character dynamics. Though the G.I. Joe brand generally aims at a younger demographic, Resolute was designed for a much older audience and, as such, is best not shown to any younger G.I. Joe fans. That said, even those with only a passing knowledge of G.I. Joe will be able to get some enjoyment out of Resolute.

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