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Rhino presents
G.I. Joe: Season 1, Part 2 (1985)

Cobra Commander: I will not tolerate this! I control the largest criminal organization in the world!
Tomax: That was true until todayÖ
Xamot: When all of your men applied for unemployment benefits!

- Chris Latta, Corey Burton, Michael Bell

Review By: Joel Cunningham   
Published: December 17, 2004

Stars: Charlie Adley, Jack Angel, Lie Aubrey, Jackson Beck, Michael Bell, Greg Berger, Arthur Burghardt, Corey Burton, Bill Callaway, Peter Cullen, Brian Cummings, Pat Fraley, Hank Garret, Dick Gautier, Ed Gilbert, Dan Gilvezan, Dave Hall, Zack Hoffman, Kene Holiday, Jerry Houser, Chris Latta
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (colored laser battles, no deaths whatsoever)
Run Time: Approx. 655 min.
Release Date: June 29, 2004
UPC: 603497026128
Genre: animation

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B B+BA- D+

DVD Review

In these days of orange alerts and suicide bombers, the terrorists faced by the heroes of G.I. Joe, the popular 1980s toy line/television show, would make welcome opponents. Todayís terrorists are religious extremists, with no clear goal in mind other than to instill fear in their opponents by, say, blowing themselves up to prove a point. The forces of Cobra, meanwhile, are fairly inept, anything but secretive, and always careful to avoid killing civilians (or anyone for that matter). Plus, they have a much more absurd goal. Ruling the world? Who wants to bother with all that micro-management? Iím telling you, Cobra, the world is already under the thumb of a ruthless organization of terror, and not even the IRS could take down Microsoft, so I donít think Xamot and Tomax, the fearsome rhyming twins, have much of a chance.

No, the Joes have it easy by todayís standards. Homeland Security agents are reduced to arresting everyone with brown skin and a questionable accent, all because terrorists refuse to cooperate by giving themselves flashy names like Destro, Baroness, Zartan, and Cobra Commander, and by wearing elaborate, fey costumes. Though I question the effectiveness of encasing your face in a steel mask as you attempt to exert your dominance over mankind. It makes you look silly, and it probably smells kind of bad, too.

Meanwhile, people would be a lot less hesitant to give up their freedoms to the Patriot Act if they knew they were being defended by guys with codenames like Duke, Hawk, Quickkick, and Bazooka. Or how about Barbecue, master of both the blowtorch and the grill? I, for one, would much rather put my faith in a freedom fighter who has clearly put some thought into his name and themed attire (like Big Lob, a master... basketball player?) than a faceless automaton who might come to arrest me because I googled "Ben Affleck is da' BOMB."

The point is, G.I. Joe: Season One, Part Two, a recent installment in Rhino's release of the series, provides a blast of nostalgia not only for kids like me (who could probably sing you all the words to the theme song for both the show and the movie... "probably"), but for those who remember a simpler time, when our nation feared only the Red Menace and itís charismatic commander, Mikhail "BirthmarkĒ Gorbachev (the coolest bald villain since Dr. Mindbender).

That said, the episodes hold up fairly well as entertainment, too, provided you keep in mind the constraints binding the writers: namely, the series existed only to sell toys, which meant new characters and vehicles had to be featured on a weekly basis, leaving little room for character growth or development. The episodic adventures play off of clichťs from every genre, from the alternate universe two-parter (!) where Cobra rules the world to the one based entirely on that old joke about the Viper, coming to vipe the vindows. They arenít exactly original, but the episodes frequently fit in a few clever moments (including the episode that tracks Cobra's financial struggles after they go brokeótheir solution is to start a rock band and insert subliminal commands into the music) when they arenít highlighting the newest accessories, available now at a store near you.

Rhino has done some remastering for this release, which includes 28 episodes from the latter half of Season One on four DVDs, and the image looks fairly good. The show was produced on the cheap, and colors donít exactly pop, but the source materials look clean and the transfers are more or less free of digital anomalies. Audio is presented in the original broadcast mix and remastered 2.0 and 5.1 tracks. The original sounds flat and distant, while the 2.0 is much sharper with better vocal quality, but the 5.1 is the real winner, with a great presentation of dialogue in the center channel and frequent input from the surrounds, including cool swooping effects when jets fly overhead.

Rating for Style: B
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Image Transfer Grade: B


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English Stereoyes
Dolby Digital
Audio Transfer Grade: A-


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 168 cues and remote access
1 Featurette(s)
Packaging: Book Gatefold
Picture Disc
4 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extras Review: Extras are slim for this four-disc release, and include only a short interview with voice actors Mary Macdonald-Lewis (Lady Jaye) and Bill Ratner (Flint). Their comments are fairly interesting for people who like hearing about the behind-the-scenes of voice acting. Otherwise, not so much. But we do learn that Lady Jaye is the voice of the GM OnStar system.

Sadly, the set does not include any of the memorable "Now you know... and knowing is half the battle!" PSAs I enjoyed so much as a kid. How will I known not to move a downed electrical wire if Beachhead isnít there to tell me it's dangerous?

Extras Grade: D+


Final Comments

G.I. Joe's time in the sun may have passed (though the series has been revivied as a CGI affair), but the original episodes still hold up well on DVD. Now you know, and knowing is... well, you know.


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