Debacle of G.I. Joe

I’ve been told that story about Stephen Sommers‘ removal from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra (Paramount 8.7) isn’t far from the truth and at least deserves a read. It comes from a guy named “End Times.” He posted the account last night on Don Murphy’s site. [Note: story was removed yesterday morning.]


G.I. Joe director Stephen Sommers; French poster art

My source says Sommers “was given total freedom but he melted down and has made the biggest bomb in many a moon. Paramount production chief Brad Weston is looking to bail and work for Peter Chernin with Star Trek as his coda because G.I. Joe will decimate the Paramount team and lead to many, many scapegoats.”

Here‘s the “End Times” account with comments:

“After a test screening [of G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra] in which the film got the lowest test score ever from an audience in the history of Paramount, the executive who pushed for the movie — Brad Weston — had Stephen Sommers, the superhack director of the film, fired. Removed. Locked out of the editing room.” Wells comment: How does this guy know what Paramount’s test-scoring history is? Does he have all the stats? If so, how did he get them?

Stuart Baird, a renowned fixer editor, was brought it to try to see if G.I. Joe could be made releasable. Meanwhile producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, whose turkey Imagine That (also championed by Weston) explodes this weekend as the new bomb in theatres, was told his services were no longer needed on the film either.” Wells comment: Someone needs to call around and verify and round this out.

“Sommers was then forced by his William Morris agents to pretend that he was working on Tarzan over at Warner Brothers, doing design work, even though that film doesn’t even have a good script yet. When word of the firing started to be whispered about in Hollywood, Sommers was summoned back to the editing room but merely to save appearances. Baird is still re-editing the movie with studio input.

“Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner, who turned down other offers from the property to go with the script that was rushed out in eight weeks by Stuart Beattie (i.e., because of the writer’s strike), is frantic that the Sommers-created debacle will destroy the brand and is now distancing himself from the pending catastophe.

“None of this needed to happen. The problem is that someone did not know the mythology. Lorenzo di Bonaventura was in charge of the film and never contradicted Sommers on anything. Lorenzo, so you know, was previously a senior Warners honcho and had GI Joe under option there (not as a producer) for seven years and he refused to greenlight the film, stating that because he grew up in Italy he had no knowledge of it.

“If you google enough, at one point you will see he wanted the film to be about an action hero named Mann (Action Man…got it) and he clearly had no clue what the GI Joe world really was.

“And the hapless hack Sommers? Where did he come from? The confused Jon Fogelman at William Morris, who signed Hasbro away from CAA, had to find a director in a hurry for his new clients and gave [Paramount] the only guy who he repped who would do it. A sad end to what could have been a great franchise. Acceleration suits indeed.”

Update: Movieline‘s Kyle Buchanan posted a followup a few hours ago, the gist saying that “sources” have told him that Sommers is still on the film.

So I got in touch with my guy and here’s what he said: “The bottom line is that you don’t read stuff like this about a film that’s working. The bad buzz around G.I. Joe has been swirling around for a long time. The studio knows it’s a bomb and is trying to mitigate the disaster.

“Sommers’ complete autonomy got them into this mess, but he doesn’t have it anymore. He was petulant and demanding throughout the production and got his way at every turn, until now. This isn’t about his final cut nor anyone’s respective ‘vision’ as they’re now mightily endeavoring to get a version of this film together that’s releasable and can get the biggest opening possible.

“One person at Paramount said it’s the weakest major release since Escape From L.A. Any hopes for a new tentpole are completely gone.”

  • bildeaux

    I won’t even rent this turkey.

  • actionman

    the movie looks like a disasterpiece

  • Jeremy Fassler

    Stephen Sommers is a hack.

  • RyanStewart1

    I spoke with Stu Beattie two days ago and he was high on the film. He admitted that Paramount gave him lots of directives, such as to lose the ‘real american hero’ crap, but he said he himself was co-editing it now and it was coming together quite well.

  • Breedlove

    Honestly, I’ve never minded Stephen Sommers too much. I find VAN HELSING and THE MUMMY strangely watchable, I really do. They are bad but not boring. I had been looking forward more to G.I. JOE than stuff like TRANSFORMERS 2 or WOLVERINE. The trailer looked like some good pulpy trash.

  • corey3rd

    the only good thing out of Van Helsing is the minibusts of Dracula, Frankenstein and wolf man

    the trailer looks like team america without real characters

  • Rich S.

    I’ve always liked Sommers’ tongue-in-cheek attitude. It doesn’t always work, but sometimes it’s ideally suited to material that too often takes itself way too seriously.

    I liked the Mummy, though I didn’t care for Mummy 2 or Van Helsing. But Deep Rising is aces.

  • Alboone

    I find this to be completely fascinating, sad yes, but nevertheless fascinating how industries time and again fail to learn from their mistakes. I just want to know how this deal was put together and in what way did Sommers melt down?

    What I find really troubling about this story is that again it shows how much of backward logic permeates throughout Hollywood. Why would you hire someone to shepard a project who had no prior knowledge nor exposure to it in the first place? Wouldn’t it make sense to actually hire people who have a passion for the mythology, who understand it, who would also take it seriously? I don’t get it.

  • The InSneider

    A former roommate of mine worked on it and would come home from the production office/set everyday with stories of what a clusterfuck it was and what a tool Sommers was.

    That said, the trailers have looked much better than what I was initially expecting. We’ll see… It’s definitely not a movie I’m excited about but how bad can it be? Worse than T4?

  • BoshBarnetWonkyDonkey

    I bet we’ll still get some people on this board insisting that Sommers is better than Bay. Baffling.

  • actionman

    and it won’t make a lick of a difference how shitty this movie is. it’s GI JOE. 6-13 year old boys will be there opening weekend. they don’t read reviews and blogs. it won’t crossover the way Transformers did, but I could still see GI Joe limping to $100 million domestic based on ticket sales to kids only.

  • Sabina E

    I love stupid movies… but jesus, THIS looks awful… horrendous at its best.

  • Big Black

    Alboone, good question.

    This is a meat-head property to begin with, but the recent Cartoon Network/Adult Swim GI JOE written by English author Warren Ellis was actually pretty awesome and proves that it can work as a modern, high tech action thing. It’s a good bet Ellis doesn’t give a shit about GI JOE, and yet he managed to make something worthwhile out of it, and likely for a sliver of the money these jokers will have wasted on this (terrible-looking) film.

  • Rich S.

    The two best Star Trek films, Wrath of Khan and the latest one, were made by directors that admittedly had no affinity for Star Trek before they were assigned the project. I also believe Bryan Singer said the same thing before he took on X-Men.

    Admittedly, it’s a fine line to walk. You have a group of people who care passionately about the “mythology” of the property – even if it is a glorified toy commercial – vs. the suits who just want to make money and don’t really care about the final product. You also have to be careful about going too far the other way. Star Trek: The Motion Picture was sunk by it’s desire to be overly-reverential to the source material.

    Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes you don’t.

  • JustThisGuy

    This is a bizarre and fascinating story, but I do have one request.

    Can we all stop using the word “mythology” in these contexts? I mean, come on, it’s a fucking line of plastic toys from the 1980s that shot plastic darts out of over sized “guns”. That kind of thing (and this includes transformers, and pretty much anything else the term “mythology” has been applied to in the past five years) can’t have a mythology.

  • DavidF

    There’s someone who thought the trailer made it look BETTER than they thought?

    And Bosh is totally right about people here who said this will be better than Transformer and that Sommers is better than Bay. Anyone who said that should be forced to sit though this 3 times and THEN have to see Transformers 3 times to boot.

    I’m not going to sit here and say GI Joe is great literature but I’ve got some old action figures in my basement and there’s sure as shit a way to have made a decent, fun movie out of that material.

    All you have to do is look at the trailer too see a fundamental misunderstanding of the material. THE ENTIRE POINT (to the extent there is one) is that the group are all experts from various fields so there’s a ninja and a marine and a sailor and blah blah blah.

    Putting them in stupid metal jumping/flying suits totally takes away their individuality and totally negates the point of GI Joe.

    This thing will suck and the fact that the director of Star Trek: Nemesis has been brought in to save the day does not instill confidence.

    (Oh, and the Mummy was fun enough for an Indy Jones light but Sommers is a hack any way you slice it. And not even a good one at that. Only in his dreams can be Brett Rattner or McG.)

  • Mgmax, le Corbeau

    The delusion started with the idea that there was ever a great franchise to be had here. I mean, what’s next? Doughboy Begins? Charlie, The Last Tuna? Predator Vs. Hamburglar? There was never a movie in this. There was a presold title and there was a generic action movie to be attached to it, but there was never an organic concept for even a popcorn movie here. When I saw the trailer for this at Star Trek, the audience laughed and mocked it. Might as well make a movie about Drano or Q-Tips. People know those brands too.

  • OtownRog

    Credibility issue–Imagine

    That may yet bomb, but the early reviews (both trades, for instance) are skewing positive. And it’s kid-friendly.

    Guy posting that had more venom than sourcing.

  • Abbey Normal

    I hope it bombs. Sommers is another director, along with Von Trier, who is releasing a movie that may end his career this year, and for that I am only grateful.

  • Travis Crabtree

    Hold on.

    You’re telling me that a CGI-laden summer blockbuster action movie based on a Hasbro kid’s toy might not be very good?!

    NO!

  • Terry McCarty

    Here are the early reviews of IMAGINE THAT: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/1190964-imagine_that/

  • theultimatebiu

    Is anyone shocked by this. G.I. Joe barely made a interesting cartoon let alone a $170 million dollar summer blockbuster. Paramount still have Star Trek and Transformers to keep their investors and stock happy

  • http://Burbanked Burbanked

    Latino Review updates their story with some spintastic comments from Lorenzo di Bonaventura: http://tinyurl.com/nkqu2t

    So now the debate is laid to rest: G.I. JOE WILL BE AWESOME! (with apologies to Actionlover)

  • nemo

    Who over the age of 12 cares?

    The original GI Joe dates back even earlier than the 1980s, back to the mid-1960s. I remember when I was 13, my friend’s younger brother got a GI Joe for Christmas. I made the mistake of referring to it as “your little brother’s doll.”

    My friend (defensively): “It’s not a doll. It’s a GI Joe.”

    Me: “I hate to tell you this, but GI Joe is a doll. It’s a doll for boys.”

  • nemo

    By the way, “action figure” is a term coined by Hasbro to market GI Joe. It’s a meaningless term invented to disguise the fact that GI Joe and all the later action figures are dolls for boys.

  • bibliotechnician

    Yes, It very well could have been a great summer movie franchise. Just like any other comic book property (Iron Man, X-Men). So yes, it does have a mythology (a collection of stories) from a great run of Marvel comics from the ’80’s, so there’s tons of back-story, intrigue, memorable characters, etc. for an accomplished action movie director to create some good popcorn fun. It’s just that Sommers couldn’t hold Bay’s jock strap, and Bay sucks ass.

    That said, I so want to see Predator Vs. Hamburglar in IMAX 3-D!!! Mayor McCheese with a fry thrower. A slow shot of Grimace emerging from a milkshake pool. A decapitated Ronald.

    McG’s next project?

  • DavidF

    The 60s were dolls; the 80s ones were action figures.

    Anyway, as I said, I don’t expect this thing to be treated like Hamlet but there’s no reason it couldn’t have been turned into a fun, summer action flick. It’s not like the material was hard to grasp.

    By comparison, Rich is right that the best Star Trek films were made by Nick Meyer who was basically a newbie. But he grasped the rather extensive underpinnings before changing it.

    This is just avarice and ignorance.

  • theultimatebiu

    Brilliant spin. I love how he bypasses how well the test screenings were compared to Transformers. Sorry but this film looks and sounds like a dud and Paramount are just trying to save grace. Its the same like WB with ‘Alexander’ when they kept telling everyone they thought it was great until the reviews started pouring in.

  • http://moviemaniac2002 moviemaniac2002

    You mean….another collossal summer CGI turd is about to be flushed??? Pardon me…while I choke back my tears.

  • BurmaShave

    They brought in the director of US MARSHALS and STAR TREK NEMESIS? Yeeeeeesh.

  • hollyman

    Paramount deserves this. The Paramount marketing & the teams were so pompus handling Star Trek and Transfromers.

    Now that they have trouble with GI Joe it will be very interesting to see how they handle this.

  • raygo

    The phrase “dolls for boys” in now in endless loop in my head … and it makes me chuckle … THAT was the movie … or a Mad Men episode … “Hey guys … how do we market dolls for boys … any ideas?”

    That would’ve been my GI Joe story pitch.

  • actionman

    Burmashave — don’t forget Baird’s Executive Decision!

    But seriously — Baird has “fixed” so many movies it’s almost like a running joke. His uncredited editing resume is asinine. Look at his “additonal editor” credits. And his work on Casino Royale, Superman, Lethal Weapon, The Last Boyscout, and Die Hard 2 cannot be ignored.

    Still, this was a problem movie the moment Paramount signed Sommers. This is Bay material all the way — problem is he can’t make every single “action-figure/doll” movie.

    And Hollyman — what is so “pompous” about Paramount’s marketing team when it comes to TF2 and ST?

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    1) This “story” comes off Don Murphy’s site, which — let’s face it — is not exactly known as a bastion of objectivity, esp. when their “minions” have a competing horse in this summer’s blockbuster race. Also, the thread you linked to is no longer valid. Not sure what’s up with that.

    2) Yeah, Baird coming in is probably a sign of trouble, but it doesn’t necessarily mean the film can’t be a fun mess (“disasterpiece,” as AM noted above). I liked M:I 2 — I’m aware I’m the only one — and I don’t think it’s off-base to expect similar results: fun, visceral action set against some of the most ludicrous, campy dialogue ever recorded.

    3) Sommers is probably a hack, but he’s my kinda hack. He doesn’t get bogged down by pretentiousness, keeps things moving swiftly, and never lets the running time drag on to Shakespearian lengths (it appears they have G.I. Joe locked in at 107 minutes, which admittedly is probably a little too long, but not insufferable). Exhibit A: Deep Rising.

    4) Trailer looks fun in the kind of ’80s way that most action films aren’t anymore. To me, this resembles a preview for a lower-level Arnie flick (Raw Deal, Running Man) back in the day. Not that those were good movies. But it sure as fuck looks better than that Transformers POS being foisted upon us. Who are you people defending that garbage? I really feel like I don’t know you at all.

  • actionman

    “Who are you people defending that garbage?”

    I am me. That’s all. Just me.

    I will definitely check out GI Joe in the hopes that it’s cheesy fun and a disasterpiece like I mentioned above. But to suggest that it will be a better popcorn movie that TF2 is just pure insanity. At least from where I’m sitting.

  • BoshBarnetWonkyDonkey

    Poor Channing Tatum. He’s having to work hard to get noticed by the public.

  • raygo

    He really should have changed his name … I always think Stockard O’Neal.

  • Aris P

    A simple question: exactly who is the audience for this film?

    6-13 year old boys, as was mentioned above, are definitely not. The last time GIJoe had any relevance was in the mid- 80s. The ONLY group who will care to see this film, are people out on dates who want to fill some time, people who want to purposely see a train-wreck, or people like me who were fans of the cartoons and the toys b/c we were 11 years old then. But we know that this is a stinking turd, so we won’t, in fact, see it.

    So, in my estimation, there’s NO target for this picture.

  • Chase Kahn

    “Sommers “was given total freedom “…

    These guys deserve whatever is coming to them.

    Talk about a hang-your-head, cover with a blanket a la Ben-Hur’s lepur mother for Channing Tatum, Sienna MIller, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt. Yikes.

  • Travis Crabtree

    So let me get this straight, actionman….

    You think CGI Joe looks like a “disasterpiece”, (presumably a bad thing) and yet you’re “definitely going to check it out”?

    That’s about ten bucks and two hours out of your life for a movie that even you admit looks like a piece of shit…

    (I had to double check to make sure it was you and not actionmam or actionlover)

    Knock yourself out.

  • actionman

    yeah — it’ll probably suck but the inner child in me wants to see GI Joe on the big screen. I have ZERO expectations and I know what I’ll be getting into but I’ll see it for $6 at one of the Tuesday bargain shows near my apt.

    Plus, it’s got Sienna Miller in tight black leather brandishing multiple firearms.

  • actionman

    and yeah — a “disasterpiece” is a film that’s so bad and so beyond salvation (like last year’s The Happening) that you just have to see it to believe it. It’s a film that couldn’t be any worse if it tried.

  • DavidF

    I was going to say what Ari said about their being no market but there have been some GI Joe cartoons on the last few years. I still think there are more people in their 30s who would have cared than there are 7 year olds who can’t wait to see Dennis Quad bring Hawk to life. Or is he Duke? Who cares.

    MI;2 was crap but at least it was well made crap. I mean, if John Woo made a Snake Eyes movie, I’d go see that shit. If they’d hired him for GI Joe I would have thought they were at least trying to do something cool. Sommers was just aiming low from the get go.

    Stephen Sommers on his best day is not Woo on his worst. And Baird? The man who managed to (temporarily) put the nail in Star Trek’s coffin? Lord…I was going to say there’s no one worse but then I remembered Rob Cohen.

    Doesn’t Don Murphy like to drop in here? Where is he when you need him.

  • MilkMan

    Wow. And I had such high hopes for this movie.

    Sienna Miller is the most beautiful woman in the world.

  • Jay T.

    When I saw the trailer for it I couldn’t even figure out that it was G.I. Joe until the title came up at the end. Very bad sign – it looks god awful.

  • http://burbanked.com Burbanked

    Yeah, I don’t get that logic either, Actionman. Life’s too short and I’m sure there’s other ways to indulge a Sienna Miller jones, if that’s really one’s thing.

    God bless you if you’ve got unending reserves of money to blow on awful crap like this. I could spend that matinee ticket cost on gas to mow my lawn and it’d take about the same amount of time. It wouldn’t be fun but at least when I was done I could say “Cool. Now the lawn’s mowed.”

  • DeafBrownTrashPunk

    I love stupid movies… but jesus, THIS looks awful… horrendous at its best.

  • actionman

    $6 bucks, dude. $6 bucks. I’ve got $6 bucks to go and watch a silly summer action movie. It a’int gonna break the bank.

  • DavidF

    I understand what Actionman is saying. I paid to see Batman & Robin on opening day knowing to expect and we had a blast…it was like watching Rocky Horror for me and my friend.

    but, yeah, I wouldn’t do that all the time.

  • actionman

    precisely, DavidF.

  • Skip McCoy, American

    The delusion started with the idea that there was ever a great franchise to be had here. I mean, what’s next? Doughboy Begins? Charlie, The Last Tuna? Predator Vs. Hamburglar? There was never a movie in this. There was a presold title and there was a generic action movie to be attached to it, but there was never an organic concept for even a popcorn movie here. When I saw the trailer for this at Star Trek, the audience laughed and mocked it. Might as well make a movie about Drano or Q-Tips. People know those brands too.

  • Aris P

    I rented the Happening to see what the hoopla was about, and yeah, it was one of the worst movies I have ever seen in my life, and kind of enjoyable for that reason. But it was a suspense/supernatural thing, a genre I am more likely to watch (for whatever reason) than an action movie. So, while I understand the desire to watch the train wreck, even paying a rental for this turd is too much for me.

    I will however say that the Warren Ellis cartoon was pretty awesome, and, yes, I will be buying the box set DVD of the series when it comes out in a few months.

  • jse33

    BurmaShave says …

    They brought in the director of US MARSHALS and STAR TREK NEMESIS? Yeeeeeesh.

    —————-

    Baird is a better editor than director. Some of his editing credits include: Casino Royale (2006), Superman (1978), The Omen (1976)

  • COCO

    Sienna…indeed.

    Action dolls?

    I still like Quaid…..2 hours in the AC in Houston.

    That works for me.

  • The Hoyk

    I think it is worth noting that the so-called “mythology” of G.I. JOE stems from Hasbro’s determination to make a cartoon series from this toy line. The original original G.I. Joe from the ’60’s, complete with “kung-fu grip” was just one guy, literally just a G.I. named Joe. It wasn’t until the ’80’s that it became the name of an elite organization of experts and their evil counterpart Cobra was created. And this was that ultra-lame era of TV action cartoons where nobody could be killed and actual real-world weapons were verboten, so Joe and Cobra would always be fighting with these mysterious lasers that could destroy buildings but never so much as scratched anyone, and these battles would always end in Joe victory or mutual stalemate. So to complain about not knowing G.I. JOE mythology is a bit ridiculous when essentially, the cartoon series was just making it up as they went along, hoping that they’d sell enough toys and making just enough “Knowing is Half the Battle – Go JOE” PSA’s for the end of the episode to fulfill the FCC’s “educational content” requirements.

  • arnold stang

    actionman is right…when I first moved to Los Angeles I worked for a director. He got invited to the premiere of HUDSON HAWK. he had no desire to go. “It’s suppose to be shit.”. I jumped on the ticket and went by myself. My first Hollywood premiere, and it was a turkey. You couldn’t ask for a better introduction to Hollywood than that..

    As a sidenote: After the screening Joel Silver sat on a couch at the old National Theatre in Westwood. He held his hand in his head. People filed out of the movie theatre and hurried down the staris. Nobody wanted to talk to him. I stood back in the lobby and watched, and watched.

  • Rich S.

    Hoyk, you forgot a few steps, which I only know because my older cousins collected GI Joe stuff and I got a lot of it as hand-me-downs.

    The first GI Joes didn’t even have kung-fu grip. They had weird molded hands that were supposed to hold a rifle. Never worked, though.

    The original Joes were generally sold as sets, skin diver, snow commando, astronaut, etc. They sometimes had different color molded hair, but, you are correct, were all named “Joe.”

    When the public turned against Vietnam, and war toys became unpopular, GI Joe became an “adventurer.” They added the kung fu grip and velveteen hair and beards and Joe started doing things like rescuing people from avalanches or searching for sunken treasure. Eventually, the 12 inch dolls died out in the mid-70s.

    After Star Wars popularized “action figures,” GI Joe was revived in the small format, accompanied by the cartoon and the comic book. The movie appears loosely based on that incarnation.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com MovieBob

    If even HALF of this is true (and given that it originated anywhere NEAR Don effing Murphy, I’d say a certain level of doubt has to be a given) I regard it as more than a little tragic. Not really because of the property – if it tanks it tanks, and five to ten years from now when the “fanboys” are even more ensconsed in the industry than they are now somebody will snap up the rights and pull a Batman Begins on it.

    I’m more concerned for Sommers. He’s NOT a hack – or at least he’s never really been one previously. Bay is a hack, Ratner is a hack. This guy had real talent. Deep Rising, Jungle Book and the first Mummy are essentially perfect examples of the broad, serial-era-throwback action/adventure genre. He was the only guy who seemed capable or willing to try and keep the tradition of the 50s/60s Harryhausen actioners kicking. I regarded him, without irony, as the Great White Hope of B-movie-with-A-budget filmmakers.

    His one consistent flaw was that he NEEDED an involved producer as a co-pilot. Once Mummy became MASSIVE and he got to do whatever he wanted the quality suffered, hence Mummy2 and Van Helsing. And his man here was friggin’ Lorenzo DiBonaventura? Gah! There’s a REASON why LDB is regarded as a nigh-satanic figure in the “fanboy” circles – he’s EXACTLY the type of genre producer who’d be walking around with a franchise like this in his pocket for SEVEN YEARS without any clue or care for what it was or how it ought be done save for it’s likely profits, and who would let it collapse in-production for lack of caring.

    My one consolation is that, without Bay or Murphy involved, it at the very least CANNOT be worse than Transformers…

  • Sean E

    I will however say that the Warren Ellis cartoon was pretty awesome, and, yes, I will be buying the box set DVD of the series when it comes out in a few months.

    Hmm. My son loves GI Joe, but I’m not sure he’s quite ready for Ellis yet. I don’t suppose this is 8-year old friendly?

  • MilkMan

    If Sommers isn’t a HACK, then no one is.

  • bryce_david

    Van Helsing was one of the worst films I’ve ever seen. A complete joke of a film, so it was just a matter of time before someone finally realized Sommer’s a hack.

  • actionman

    Bay is an auteur. Sommers is a visionless hack.

  • Jonah

    Actionman, you are hilarious. Wrong, but hilarious.

    The whole lot of them mentioned on this post are hacks. Bay, Ratner, McG, Sommers. None of them are great filmmakers. Bay might be the best of the bunch, but he’s still only made one half decent film in fifteen years.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com MovieBob

    Sean E

    “Hmm. My son loves GI Joe, but I’m not sure he’s quite ready for Ellis yet. I don’t suppose this is 8-year old friendly?”

    Dunno what it’ll look like on the DVD, but the version they ran on Cartoon Network (it’s called G.I. Joe: Resolute) would be a solid PG13 in live-action – it’s basically a Bourne-ing of the franchise. They’re firing live ammo (but with red vs. blue muzzel-flares, heh) and major characters die left and right. Good deal of bullet-hits (at least one headshot), Storm Shadow and Snake Eyes cut eachother up pretty good in the swordfighting, and there’s a lot of “dead bodies lying around post-battle” stuff. Don’t recall any nudity or heavy cursing, but this was TV so who knows?

    FWIW, the full run of the unquestionably more 8 year-old friendly show from the 80s is out on DVD sometime next month, though.

  • http://moviebob.blogspot.com MovieBob

    A “hack” has no passion for the material.

    Bay openly despises the Transformers franchise. Ratner has never had a sincere moment in his entire filmography. They are hacks.

    Sommers, whatever his myriad faults, is not a hack. A hack couldn’t make Deep Rising.

  • poseidon72

    Hey, I like Escape from La.

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  • MilkMan

    What the fuck is DEEP RISING, how come I’ve never heard of it, and why is it considered such a classic?

  • Aladdin Sane

    I don’t think Sommers is a hack, although I haven’t been compelled to see a movie of his since the first Mummy – but I do not think he was the right director for this franchise (at least if we’re going by the accounts of what we read online).

    I don’t think the director should necessarily be a fanboy, but a healthy respect and understanding of what’s going on is always appreciated. I really think that there is a good to great GI Joe story to be told – unfortunately it doesn’t seem to have a shot of being told this summer. Maybe with the inevitable reboot in a decade or so…and by that time, will anyone care?

    The GI JOE: Resolute meanwhile is definitely awesome. Well worth checking out if you liked the original cartoon (or comic for that matter).

  • Ghost072

    “The whole lot of them mentioned on this post are hacks. Bay, Ratner, McG, Sommers. None of them are great filmmakers. Bay might be the best of the bunch, but he’s still only made one half decent film in fifteen years.”

    DING DING DING! We have a winner! Bay may be the prettiest pig, but he’s still a pig.

    “Bay is an auteur.”

    You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • BurmaShave

    MilkMan, what you need to know: Treat Williams. Sea monster.

  • MDOC

    I love the dig at Escape From L.A. that was a turkey. Escape is at the top of my want to like but just can’t list. It’s like that hideous girl in college you hung out with that was really, really, cool. Every time you think “what the heck, I’m going to enjoy this” you just get disgusted and can’t go through with it.

    I would have been really pissed if it was my 50 million Carpenter spent to make that debacle.

  • DeeZee

    “How does this guy know what Paramount’s test-scoring history is? Does he have all the stats? If so, how did he get them”

    More importantly, which studios give sneaks to tentpoles like this, when it usually doesn’t matter whether or not people like them? Methinks the real issue is Sommers went over-budget.

    “Meanwhile producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura, whose turkey Imagine That (also championed by Weston) explodes this weekend as the new bomb in theatres, was told his services were no longer needed on the film either.”

    I thought Norbit would bomb, too, but you never know.

    “Sommers was then forced by his William Morris agents to pretend that he was working on Tarzan over at Warner Brothers, doing design work, even though that film doesn’t even have a good script yet.”

    Why would you give him Tarzan after The Jungle Book bombed? Hell, even Disney’s cartoon version of Tarzan made less money than Toy Story 2, so why bother at all with it?

    “Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner…is frantic that the Sommers-created debacle will destroy the brand”

    The brand’s been destroyed since the animated movie. No one cares about the show anymore, other than old-school collectors.

    “If you google enough, at one point you will see he wanted the film to be about an action hero named Mann (Action Man…got it) and he clearly had no clue what the GI Joe world really was.”

    I think that’s the U.K. version of the show.

    “A sad end to what could have been a great franchise. Acceleration suits indeed.”

    It would’ve been a crappy franchise, regardless of Sommers or di Bonaventura, because it requires a huge cast and an assortment of gadgets which can’t be done under a reasonable budget. Nonetheless, if I were a studio exec, I’d be wary of anyone who casted Marlon Wayans in a tentpole movie, especially after D+D.

    Alboone: “Why would you hire someone to shepard a project who had no prior knowledge nor exposure to it in the first place? ”

    I’m still waiting for FOX to answer that question for James Wong.

    Bosh: Bay just knows who to blow better than Sommers, since, by all accounts, he shouldn’t have gotten a second chance with Transformers after Pearl Harbor went over-budget and The Island sunk Dreamworks.

    Anyway, I’ll probably comment more later when I get back home.

  • actionman

    “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

    I most assuredly know what the word means.

    Deep Rising is nowhere near as good as it’s wannabe-cult status would lead you to believe, but it’s definitely tied with the the first Mummy as the best work that Sommers has done.

    I liked Treat Williams in The Devil’s Own, a film I think is underrated.

  • actionman

    DeeZee — Pearl Harbor made money for everyone involved, especially Bay and Bruck.

  • The Hoyk

    Thanks Rich, I know I was missing something in my Joe history. It seems like when you ask people about old G.I. Joe, everyone remembers the kung fu grip. It got namechecked in an early Eddie Murphy bit, as I recall. I’m hardly a fan of any of it, really, but I do want to be accurate.

    Claster was cool initially because they made “ROMPER ROOM” (which I guess was also a toy tie-in of sorts) and “THE GREAT SPACE COASTER,” not the best kids show in the world but it put Kevin Clash on the map and showed off some great European and Canadian animated shorts. Soon as they became synonymous with half-hour toy commercials, I tuned out.

    Claster also initially syndicated my favorite anime series, the “SPACE CRUISER YAMATO” reduction “STAR BLAZERS.” Now, if someone wanted to do that movie, either as a toon or a live action adventure, I’d be ecstatic.

  • Steven Kar

    Pearl Harbour earned 3 times its budget at the B.O. and probably made a couple hundred million dollars more from DVDs.

    Bay walked away with $40 million, according to the recent Forbes.

    The Island probably broke even eventually but even if it didn’t, it would mean that Bay has had only one flop from the 8 movies that he has done so far. I think he gets leniency as a result.

    I’m not defending him by the way.

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    Other than Bay and the studios that have hired him, who cares if his movies have made money? Is that really anyone can think of to say when it comes to a steaming heap like PEARL HARBOR? He’s done nothing to advance film but to spawn all of the other hacks whose names are being tossed about here. He’s the King of Lowered Standards when it comes to plot, character and dialogue and he is absolutely responsible for the rise of crap “auteur” action cinema.

  • Travis Crabtree

    “DeeZee — Pearl Harbor made money for everyone involved, especially Bay and Bruck.”

    It also took a big, steaming dump on the memory and honor of those lost in the attack by turning that event into a low-brow, glam-shot, piece of turd, popcorn bullshit chick movie.

  • AndrewOwens

    I fully acknowledge the dreadfulness of almost all Sommers’ films…except Deep Rising. Classic piece of B movie as A movie magic. Those who haven’t seen it should really track it down. The Mummy is watchable (God knows every time its on I’ll watch ten or twenty minutes) but everything else…ouch. Only that guy who did Fast and the Furious is worse at this huge budget actioner stuff.

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    Little known fact: Stephen Sommers does Z-grade crit on the side under the pen name “Richard Roeper”.

  • corey3rd

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  • DeeZee

    actionman: ‘and it won’t make a lick of a difference how shitty this movie is. it’s GI JOE. 6-13 year old boys will be there opening weekend.”

    Kids that age are more familiar with Pokemon than G.I. Joe, nowadays.

    “Pearl Harbor made money for everyone involved, especially Bay and Bruck”

    It didn’t make the big money of Bay’s other movies, though. And it only made its budget and P+A back here domestically. Not to mention that Lord of the Rings kicked Pearl Harbor’s ass in grosses, even though everyone expected the Bay flick to be the hit of the year, because of Armageddon’s success.

    Rich: You don’t have to be a fan as long as you get what makes the idea work.

    DavidF: “Anyone who said that should be forced to sit though this 3 times and THEN have to see Transformers 3 times to boot.”

    I’ll take having to squirm over having my IQ lowered, thank you very much.

    Kane: You’re not the only one. I dug it, too.

    MDOC: Escape from L.A. is a perfect example of what was wrong with action/b-movies in the 90s. Plus Bruce Campbell was wasted in it.

    Hoyk: Disney’s been trying to do Yamato/Star Blazers for years, actually. Their initial script would change the ship to the U.S.S. Arizona, though.

    Steven: “Pearl Harbour earned 3 times its budget at the B.O. and probably made a couple hundred million dollars more from DVDs.”

    With P+A, it’s only 2x the budget. As for DVD sales, that depends on whether anyone was willing to actually sit through three hours of his crap when they had Fellowship in theaters.

    Anyway, that one flop of his probably cost more money, if you take into account the settlement over ripping off Clonus. So I imagine the only reason he got TF was because he was part of the package deal of the DW buy-out.

  • Travis Crabtree

    Dee Zee’s, (or D.Z.s) posts are rambling nonsensical mini-burst diatribes…… and yet I somehow feel a bit empty when I’m left out of his quote-a-thons….. (sad face)

    BTW

    “actionman: ‘and it won’t make a lick of a difference how shitty this movie is. it’s GI JOE. 6-13 year old boys will be there opening weekend.””

    make that 6-13 year old boys….and actionman

  • Jonah

    “It also took a big, steaming dump on the memory and honor of those lost in the attack by turning that event into a low-brow, glam-shot, piece of turd, popcorn bullshit chick movie.”

    Possibly the first time I’ve fully agreed with Travis on something. Pearl Harbor was a hit, but it disrespected the memory of those that died on the real day.

  • bents75

    I feel compelled to voice my opinion and state that Deep Rising is SHIT. It’s getting a bizzaro world level of praise here.

    Anything that actually “stars” Treat Williams is total shit. No debate necessary. The man took over a straight to video franchise after Tom Berenger left it.

    You might also remember him from such classic films as Skeletons in the Closet, Crash Point Zero, and Third Degree Burn. Or you might not…because they were also shit, possibly for different reasons altogether, but most likely because they starred Treat Williams.

    In my research to come up with the names of crappy tv movies he starred in which I could mock, I noticed he actually starred in 89 episodes of some show called Everwood. Someone out there actually watched 89 hours of a series starring Treat Williams!

    Wow. Suddenly 90 minutes spent watching GI Joe doesn’t seem like the biggest waste of time.

  • Stringer Bell

    I believe the ‘Ken Doll’ movie has been green-lit. Brett Ratner is slated to direct.

  • Chase Kahn

    “The Island” is such a piece of shit — look it’s “Logan’s Run” and “The Clonus Horror” with a car chase…and black guys!!!

  • Jonah

    Seems like the only Michael Bay film I ever see Actionman stand up for specifically is Transformers. Maybe he knows the rest of them are pure shit (I actually think his only half decent film is The Rock)

  • PastePotPete

    There was a class at USC, cinema 466, where we’d watch an upcoming movie and then afterwards there would be a discussion with one of the fimmakers, moderated by Leonard Maltin. One of the first films in the class when I took it was Deep Rising, the guest was Stephen Sommers, the screening a week before the movie was to come out(in January).

    I hated Deep Rising in the first few minutes, felt it was very cliche, until slowly I started getting into it. I (and the rest of the class) realized it was tongue-in-cheek, and once that set in we all had a great time. Laughing at the cheesy dialogue and acting, the plot twists, etc. A lot of laughter.

    By the end I’d say the audience loved the film, and we were ready to greet Sommers warmly, and we did. He got a huge round of applause. First thing he said was, “man, you guys laughed a hell of a lot more than I meant you to.” He seemed pretty shocked by the amused reaction.

    The movie is meant to be serious. It’s not, despite ALL appearances to the contrary, meant to be jokey.

    I think the cult that has developed around it is giving Sommers the same benefit of the doubt that we did before he started talking about his real intentions. Dude thought he’d made Aliens.

    That said the final minute is worth watching the movie for.

  • Terry McCarty

    bent75 wrote:

    Anything that actually “stars” Treat Williams is total shit. No debate necessary.

    You believe that about PRINCE OF THE CITY?

  • thevisceral

    Who ever would’ve guessed that a movie based on toys could suck.

  • NotImpressed1Yet

    “Cock it!”

    -Treat Williams

  • Rich S.

    Sommers may not have understood what kind of movie he was making in Deep Rising, but Treat Williams and Kevin O’Connor certainly did.

    I guess you could describe Deep Rising as a guilty pleasure, but what pleasures it has. The monster is a wonderful Lovecraftian mess. Perhaps the movie’s biggest flaw is that it’s rated R, but Famke Janssen somehow manages to stay fully clothed throughout.

  • Bob Violence

    This is shaping up to be exactly the movie G.I. Joe deserves, the amount of internet pant-shitting this should provoke is gonna be awesome

  • Ghost072

    “I most assuredly know what the word means.”

    Sorry, actionman, couldn’t resist a little Inigo Montoya there.

  • kamichojin

    The greatness that is Treat Williams is discussed and no mention of Dead Heat?!?

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    PPP – That’s a great story, thanks for sharing that.

    However, just to play devil’s advocate, is it really important that a filmmaker’s intentions line up with your own when watching a finished film?

    First of all, how many people will ever even be aware of a filmmaker’s intentions? Yes, this has certainly changed with the Internet, DVD commentaries, myriads of press conferences, and a general information overload…but still I’d argue the general moviegoing audience doesn’t know or care (nor should they, really!).

    Secondly, isn’t it what finally appears onscreen — and your subsequent absorption of it — that really matters? From everything I’ve read about him, Ed Wood took his films about as gravely serious as treating a hypothetical apocalyptic strain of influenza. Doesn’t matter. Play those suckers to nearly any discerning moviegoer and the chances are damn likely that they’ll find it hilarious. A couple years ago, Ridley Scott “confirmed” that Deckard was intended to be a replicant in Blade Runner. This probably convinced a few people, but not me. Once a director releases a film into general release, it is no longer his. Everyone that watches it “owns” their own small part of that experience equally, and as such are entitled to their own opinions on the subject.

    So while I’d agree that your conversation with Sommers — being out of touch with audience reactions is not exactly the sure sign of a consistent, perceptive director — probably was predictive of his future “hacky” output (Van Helsing, Mummy sequels), I’d argue that said conversation should not have diminished your original opinion of Deep Rising one bit.

    And maybe it didn’t. Maybe I’m just getting negative connotations from the final line in your post.

  • JaySmack

    Hell, I knew the instant Dumb-a-ventura’s name was put on this movie it was as good as horsecrap.

    This is the same moron who helped produce Bayformers.

    Not surprisingly he doesn’t know anything about the properties he buys, he simply relies on contacts with this or that talent agency to get a new property. Hell, I can’t think of even one halfway watchable film Dumb-a-ventura’s ever made.

    Hopefully one good thing will come out of this: Dumb-a-ventura will have less ability to make any kind of movie. That’s something to hope for!

  • tfresca

    Who ever said this movie was geared toward 13 year-olds is all wet. This is geared toward 25 and up people who grew up with the cartoon. That being said why ignore the cartoon? typical Hollywood. “I love your concept, let’s change everything cool about it.” I guarantee you this anonymous supersuit thing is all about Hasbro needing to move toys and not about story. I have to defend Stephen here. I liked the first two Mummy movies. Campy fun popcorn movies very well done.

  • PastePotPete

    I still like Deep Rising a lot, I’m just saying I think the people who say that Deep Rising proves Sommers can make a good film are overlooking the fact that he only made a good film *by accident*.

  • CitizenKanedforChewingGum

    Fair enough, Pete…I agree with that.

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  • secondeye

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