The League: The only thing that makes me feel patriotic!


By Shawn Robare

The new topic for the League actually covers two weeks (with the next being a holiday and all.)  Since it’s almost July 4th, Brian decided to pose the question of what is our favorite patriotic pop culture, be it movies, TV, or what ever.  What gets us to stand up and salute Old Glory.  To be honest, I’m not typically the most patriotic guy, not even with my love of G.I. Joe.  But there are approximately three minutes and thirteen seconds of animation that open G.I. Joe the movie that will always get me on my feet and screaming “yahoo” while waving an imaginary cowboy hat and firing off a make-believe gun into the air.  For those of you not familiar, the opening title sequence of the 1986 Sunbow/Marvel G.I. Joe animated movie is probably the most exciting, the most condensed, and arguably the most artfully animated segment of G.I. Joe that the studio ever released.  It’s also the most patriotic piece of animation I’ve ever witnessed, next to some of the School House Rocks segments of course, but with a billion times more explosions and lasers that SHR ever dreamed of…

For those of you who want to watch along at home, here’s a youtube clip of the segment…

7447412412_3827c964c0_b

The segment opens in space where the stillness is interrupted by a streaming comet zigzagging across the screen.  Of course the comet is revealed to be the G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero logo, which bursts into view with a hail of fireworks…

7447412474_477b2c4790_b

7447412518_cc027da544_b

This leads down to New York harbor at night, I’m guessing on July 4th because the Statue of Liberty is swathed in yet more fireworks and a metric ton of floating balloons…

7447412658_848129ba22_b

We all know that there is only one thing that can interrupt the festivities, the fearful cry of “Cobra!”, as their helicarrier comes crashing through the sky dispensing a multitude of Cobra paratroopers onto Ellis Island…

7447412746_3e080cae0f_b

One of the aspects that I love so much about this opening sequence is how dynamic the animation is and how close we end up getting to the action.  Sometimes too close, as in that worms-eye-view nut-shot of the Cobra paratrooper literally tea-bagging the audience…

7447412762_de011bae40_b

There are a lot of fun angles though, in particular this shot of a Crimson Guard member punching into the screen, shattering what at first seems like our collective TV screens, but instead is the lens of a camera that was filming the attack.  If this sort of stuff was in every single episode of the regular series it really would have pushed it over the top, but I’ll settle for this three minutes of glory…

7447412328_15683a88af_b

7447412924_b85f8dc674_b

7447412980_01eb727645_b

Of course, there’s only one thing that can turn the tide of a flood of serpents this thick, Duke, his bazooka, and a well placed scream of “Yo Joe!”

7447412950_3d0db4b7bc_b

Though they’re featured in earlier episode of the series, this segment is a veritable advertisement for rocket-propelled human flight as every single Joe team member has their own freaking jetpack!

7447413062_e1890d4319_b

Another aspect of this intro that is so darn cool is that it pretty much features at least a half second segment highlighting just about every single member of the Joe team up until this point.  Even folks that really aren’t required when defending the Statue of Liberty from attack like Iceberg or Recondo, but I’m still happy to see them.  It’s also some of the best footage of the Cobra BATS, which were an awesome concept and toy, but were never utilized very well in the series…

7447413134_30efd5ff30_b

Being just as wonderfully ludicrous as the series itself, Cobra’s master plan is to distract G.I. Joe with about a million and a half Troopers, which Cobra Commander secretly flies down to the Statue to set a timed bomb.  Overkill?  Sure, but why attack if not in style!

7447413200_8e6ecea785_b

As far as patriotism goes, this three minutes features some of the best Statue of Liberty-based action this side of Remo Williams.  Forget that stupid battle at the end of the first X-Men movie (I’d much rather edit this sequence into that film frankly…)

7447412822_6e4ce58fa7_b

Not only is the action awesome, but some of the character get a chance to be the badasses that their file-cards eluded that they were.  Case in point Snake Eyes.  Again, underutilized in the main series, in this segment he get a chance to ninja flip onto a Trouble Bubble, kicking out the pilot, and stealing the aircraft!

7447413294_72db0fee05_b

7447413422_98175b2987_b

Not to be outdone, Alpine gets in on the action and uses his grappling hook gun to snag onto a speeding Firebat.  He then smashes his way into the cockpit, sending the vehicle plummeting to the ground, all while flinging himself off and snagging a ride on Snake Eye’s Trouble Bubble…

7447412240_55f7cf1a47_b

7447413572_bf85d18a47_b

7447413506_5655b2f891_b

The best part?  Snake Eyes gives Alpine the international mute sign for “Nice Job” in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it beat before picking him up.  This three minutes is so jam packed with stuff I had to watch it like ten times to get all of these screencaps!

7447413630_8dbb5368dd_b

This is about the part where my inner eight year-old takes over and I can’t help but talk back to the screen narrating everything that I’m seeing…

“And then Duke Punches Cobra Commander off the statue!” I’m assuming he saying something like “…the lady said she didn’t want to dance!” as he did it too…

7447413684_d5c91ede9c_b

“And then Junkyard, Freedom and Scarlet pummel Torch!”

7447412212_53746a151b_b

7447413736_58ea3919b7_b

“And then Jets, firing missles!”

7447413820_166633cc2f_b

“And then Roadblock knocks the crap out of some Vipers!”

7448758146_fc95ae70f4_b

“And then General Hawk and Duke are shooting like Rambo!”

7447413890_99f399a087_b

7447414020_0f87aaa323_b

“And flint is beating up like 20 cobra vipers!”  Okay it’s four, but still…

7447413950_9ed9f547b6_b

(pant, wheeze, pant, pant…)

Now that I have my breath back, we’re at the crescendo of this sequence as Duke finds the bomb planted by Cobra Commander and he snags it, flying up to the helicarrier and planting it there with only seconds to spare…

7447414052_c432ac0b4b_b

7447414092_72565ef882_b

Of course we get a very satisfying scream of “Retreat!” from CC before the patriotism ramps up to a fever pitch as…

7447414160_3de77bb7f1_b

…Duke grabs a flag lying on the ground and zooms it up to the top of the statue!

 7447414540_8c2639d700_b

7447414560_0ca662a259_b

At this point all I can think is that G.I. Joe and America rules!

7447412132_83669a4d83_b

The rest of the movie is fun, but it’s nothing compared to these first three minutes.  Oh and for the record, I made sure to use exactly 50 screen captures, one for each and every state in this country.  How’s that for patriotism?  Yeah, I guess it’s not all that patriotic, but it sure did take a long time to snag and code them all…

Like what you read here?  Why not visit some of the other League members who weighed in on this week’s topic…

Reis, Lair of the Dork Horde, also talks about G.I. Joe this week!

Brother Midnight, Green Plastic Squirtgun, talks about Team America!

Adamotomy talks about Bomb Pops!

Brian, Cool & Collected, salutes along with the Hulkster and the Demon?!?

Newt, Infinite Hollywood, has three words for you, Hacksaw Jim Duggan!

Jamie, Shezcrafti, pulls out all the stops with cursing, Powers, and Fonda boobs!

Tim, Flashlights are Something to Eat, brings the music and some subliminal patriotism in the Alf cartoon!

  • http://thedascrypt.blogspot.com/ Dr. Theda

    i Liked the “Legion of Doom”…but then again… Lex and the Joker never did get along….

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Mr. R – Yeah, I think I could do a second set of just stuff blowing up!

  • http://adambobomb.blogspot.com Mr. R

    I have the biggest smile on my face after reading this. It’s a shame this sequence didn’t go on for the next hour. They even got some Hydrofoils getting nailed by Conquests in there. I never noticed the Snake Eyes “OK” symbol. Great post!

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Jon – This is what immediately sprung to mind, and after seeing Reis over at the Dork Horde post about G.I. Joe I knew I had to get this out quick… ;)

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Violet – Thanks! Yeah, between this and Transformers the movie, I think I also squeezed a couple more years of childhood out of my adolescence…

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Shezcrafti – Way too much time. Yeah the rest of the movie is bizarre at best (they end up fighting a secret Cobra organization that uses organic weaponry and bugs), but that opening, Man that opening.

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Paxton – Yeah, I’m wondering how many 30-something guys are gonna pick G.I. Joe for this assignment…?

  • http://www.doubledumbassonyou.com Jon

    Damn you! This was my go to as well.

  • http://www.shezcrafti.com/ ShezCrafti

    Wow, that was an epic clip and song! I’ve never seen this movie, so thanks for the meticulous recap. I was struck by the beauty of the primary color palette, especially when the lasers are firing. I feel patriotic just looking at the visuals. I bet you spent a lot of time on those screencaps.

  • Violet Sverine

    Although I was just nearing the outer edge of kid being too cool for cartoons age I remember seeing GI Joe the Movie and flipping out. I quickly grabbed all my toys out of the boxes I had neglected them in and played with them for another few years. It was nice to finally see Snake Eyes be a kick butt ninja. Good job. ;)

  • http://www.cavalcadeofawesome.net/ Paxton Holley

    Nice job, Shawn. My pic would also be a GI Joe intro. While this movie one is FANTASTIC, I’d go with Revenge of Cobra. Mostly due to the nostalgia factor. Pax

  • http://www.brandedinthe80s.com/ Shawn Robare

    Brain – I guess some things call for it. My one hope is that this live action sequel can even come close to this opening sequence…

  • http://www.coolandcollected.com/ Brian (Cool and Collected)

    America Rules! (And you sir, are an overachiever.)