Before the ShoWest screenings for DreamWorks’ drama The Soloist, exhibitors were given a special treat with an extended trailer for Stephen Sommers’ G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, opening on August 7. One assumes that the special footage shown would be close to what we’ll see in front of either Star Trek and/or Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen this summer.
The footage, which the audience was told still didn’t have final visual FX or music, opens with quick glimpses of the various members of the crew doing things, such as Snake Eyes (played by Ray “Darth Maul” Park) leaping down from a tower. There’s a voice-over by Dennis Quaid’s General Hawk talking about how their unit technically doesn’t exist, similar to the Super Bowl spot. “We answer to no one on, and when all else fails, we don’t.” To that, Channing Tatum’s Duke responds, “I want in.”
The next segment deals with the accelerator suits we’ve seen in some of the commercials and footage as they’re explained to a couple of the Joes–I believe it was Duke and Marlon Wayan’s Ripcord–who are then seen running through the streets of Paris in them, chasing after a Humvee retrofitted with gear such as some sort of forked plow that morphs out from its front bumper. It actually wasn’t very clear whether they’re chasing it or being chased or a little bit of both, but it shows what the accelerator suits are capable of, even if one would assume there’d be more FX involved down the road.
The next scene begins in the desert where an Arab on a camel sees three shapes moving underneath the sand traveling towards (presumably) The Pit, the team’s base buried deep under the desert sand. A bore drills through the side of the cliffs surrounding the base and then another and a couple more, and one of the drill bores opens up to show Sienna Miller’s Baronness sitting on board what is revealed as the M.A.R.S. Mole Pod.
The footage gives a little more background and set-up for the shot in the original teaser of the Eiffel Tower being attacked by some green substance, as Christopher Eccleston’s Destro explains to what looked like Joseph Gordon Levitt’s Cobra Commander–not wearing the hood but with the metal face plate covering his lower face–that “M.A.R.S. Industries” has developed some sort of nanobots that can eat through metal, and we see a member of Cobra burst into a board room with a rocket launcher, firing it towards the window and it flies over a rooftop where Duke and The Baronness look up to see the rocket fly overhead. A couple enjoying a romantic day by the side of the Eiffel Tower are startled by the rocket which hits the side of the Eiffel Tower and a green substance (which we now are the nanobots) starts eating away at the metal of one of the supports as the tower starts toppling downwards crashing through a nearby bridge over the Seine. We get a brief glimpse of Ripcord reacting to what we just saw.
The rest of the footage involved a lot of quick images including brief glimpses of Byung-hun lee as Shadow Storm, as well as a brief snippet of one of his fights with Snake Eyes, we see a shot of Jonathan Pryce as the President, we see what looks like the Joe’s Firebat jet being hit by the same nanobot substance, and The Baroness yells at Duke that “this only gets worse” as we see the two of them fighting on the rooftop we saw earlier and she fires a rocket at him. The footage ends with the RV we saw earlier being hit from the side by a train, and it flips through the air as Duke and Ripcord jump through the air and crash through the windows of the train, similar to the shot from the earlier teaser.
As is always the case with these presentations, the studio and filmmakers want to get as much story and characters into these presentations as possible without giving too much away, and this pseudo-trailer involved a lot of quickly cut images that gave the attendants an idea of the look and feel of the film without taking too much away from the experience. It’s fairly obvious that as the title suggests, the movie will be an origin story of sorts of how the evil terrorist organization Cobra came together, similarly to how J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek shows the early days of the crew of the USS Enterprise.
Not being an enormous fan of the whole “G.I. Joe” mythos, though generally being knowledgeable, the footage offers enough of what made them so popular, making one optimistic that Joe fans will be able to enjoy at least something in this movie, although going by Sommers’ past movies–Van Helsing, the first two “Mummy” movies–one might be slightly concerned that this is another movie where there’s a lot of cool images and action and FX that doesn’t deliver on the story and acting. Then again, this one is written by Stuart Beattie of Collateral and the “Pirates” trilogy, so one holds out hope that the movie will retain much of what made Larry Hama’s comics and the cartoon series so beloved. Hopefully, Paramount will release some of this new footage to the fans soon enough that they can voice their opinion.