Yesterday I got a sneak peek at 15 minutes of footage from the upcoming G.I. Joe: Retaliation, which didn’t reveal much more than this new trailer does: mostly there was the addition of a wide variety of interesting and creative methods for making things explode. In fact, there’s nothing that I want to share about my reaction that isn’t reflected in this new trailer.
What we see here, it seems to me, is a blockbuster made more for a global audience than a solely U.S. one, in ways that go far beyond merely exchanging complex dialogue and nuanced characters for explosions and car chases. Look at our heroes:
These are not the usual white-bread faces that populate Hollywood blockbusters. (In fact, this trailer appears to suggest that white-bread Channing Tatum does not survive the attack on the Joes and hence will not feature much in the film. Which can only be a positive.) Whatever their actual ethnic backgrounds, D.J. Cotrona, Dwayne Johnson, and Adrianne Palicki all have a multiracial look that blends in in far more places around the planet than very pale skin and blond hair. Do you remember that Time magazine cover from 1993, the one with the computer-generated image?
Okay, that was meant to represent the average American of the then-near future, but it’s a helluva lot more representative of what the whole world looks like than Channing Tatum is. And this cast looks like that imaginary woman.
So there’s that: more of the globe (and of course, more of America, too) will see people in this movie that look like them.
More importantly, in the current global environment, is the fact that the villain is a WMD-wielding President of the United States. Who attacks London.
Okay, yes, it’s not really the President — the President is being impersonated by someone else who’s very very evil indeed. But for this to work, it has to be plausible that the President of the United States is just blowing up whatever he wants to blow up, and expecting no repercussions.
Perhaps the most interesting explosions connected to this movie will be those at Fox News, Big Hollywood, and in Rush Limbaugh’s tiny mind once this gets on the right-wing, America-can-do-no-wrong radar. “The United States is not aggressive and injust!” I can hear Limbaugh sputtering already. “America only brings peace with our freedom bombs!” It’s just more of Hollywood’s liberal agenda to… generate ungodly profit by catering to a paying global audience, some of which might not be big fans of American politics and military adventurism (and just fans of American movies). Free market in action, no?
Anyway, it remains to be seen whether the film itself is more interesting than what can be gleaned from the trailer. It can’t be any worse than G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra… and with both The Rock and Bruce Willis — oh, and Walton Goggins from Justified! he was in the footage we saw, but isn’t in the trailer — it might just be okay.