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Rhino presents
G.I. Joe: Season 2, Part 1 (1986)

- G.I. Joe Troops (Various)

Review By: Nate Meyers   
Published: August 29, 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 Letta
Director: Various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (cartoon violence—literally)
Run Time: 05h:33m:31s
Release Date: August 17, 2004
UPC: 603497025824
Genre: television

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer

DVD Review

First he was a foot-tall action figure, then a comic strip, then a wide assortment of smaller action figures, and finally a cartoon. Yes, G.I. Joe, America's last defense against practically every enemy that can be imagined, has had one impressive career. The action figure is still one of the most popular toys in the country, but its been a long time since anybody gave a good look to the mid-1980s Saturday morning cartoon serial that spun off from the toys.

In the show, G.I. Joe is not a particular soldier but rather an elite Special Forces team that fights against America's arch nemesis, the terrorist organization Cobra. In today's climate, the idea of a terrorist organization may be a little too real for grown ups, but the show's plotting and action are so mild and mindless that it is hard to imagine G.I. Joe: Season 2, Part 1 will offend anyone on that level. However, the dated animation and fight scenes may also prevent the newest crop of children from enjoying the show.

Most likely people who will like this set of 15 episodes will be 20-30 year old men who grew up on the show and are looking for a hefty dose of nostalgia. All of the tough, macho heroes are there: General Hawk, Sgt. Slaughter, Flint, Lady Jay, Lowlight, Beachhead, and the pacifist Life Line. They do battle with their enemies: Cobra Commander, Destro, Dr. Mindbender, the Twins, and the Dreadknocks (lead by Zartan). The first five episodes on this disc are the mini-series Arise, Serpentor, Arise! The evil Cobra organization, in need of new membership, steals the DNA from all of history's greatest conquerors in order to create a new emperor. These five episodes are the best of the show, because they actual form to create a full story (however preposterous it might be) that is chock full of battles. The problem is that these action scenes will not be of much interest to adults and will probably be too stale for kids when compared to more current TV shows. Actually, this is a major problem for the whole series. All 15 episodes are, more or less, excuses for action sequences that were thrilling for kids back in the '80s, but don't hold water anymore.

The rest of the episodes are more or less the same, with G.I. Joe facing its new enemy, Cobra's emperor Serpentor. The first seven to eight episodes of the season will be difficult for people to watch, since the characters' personalities are indistinguishable. However, by the end of the 15 episodes people will be able to attribute a personality and general job description to each character. The most memorable character is probably Shipwreck, if for no reason other then the fact that the voice actor makes him sound similar to Jack Nicholson. A major flaw for adults will be that the series has close to no character development.

For those who decide to watch these episodes, whether it is for nostalgia or as a means of entertaining your children, you can do better and you can do worse. Young boys that are predisposed to a more adventurous and patriotic form of entertainment may very well like this show, despite its dated qualities. Outside of this demographic, it is tough to imagine that many people will be interested in watching. Yet those who do will find this set contains a newly created Dolby Digital 5.1 mix (as well as a Dolby Stereo mix and the original broadcast audio) that has a lot of activity that creates a lively listening experience. As for the image, it doesn't appear to be much better than the cartoons looked when the premiered back in 1986.

Rating for Style: C
Rating for Substance: C-


Image Transfer

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


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes
Dolby Digital
Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Full Motion menu with music
Scene Access with 60 cues and remote access
1 Deleted Scenes
Packaging: Digipak
Picture Disc
3 Discs
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: dual

Extra Extras:
  1. Insert-contains a listening of each episode and a animation cell.
  2. Interviews-video interviews with actor Hank Garrett and storyboard artist/producer Larry Houston.
  3. Secret Message From Sins of the Father-a hidden audio message from a G.I. Joe episode not featured in this set.
  4. Animation Mistakes-a montage of different mistakes from the television show.
  5. PSAs-television commercial promoting good childhood behavior.
Extras Review: The supplemental features on this disc will not interest most DVD fans and will not entertain children. First up is the insert inside the front cover of the packaging, which is similar to a Digipak (but with a different kind of slip cover). The insert contains a listing of each episode, its plotline, and the original airdate. Accompanying the insert is an animation cell from the episode Sink the Montana. Next up are interviews with Hank Garrett (6m:02s) and producer/storyboard artist Larry Houston (10m:47s). Hank Garrett did the voice of Dialtone and talks about the thrill of his son finding out that he was on G.I. Joe. The Houston interview talks about how he got involved on the project after working at Marvel Comics. Both interviews are pretty boring and don't have many interesting anecdotes. There also is a gallery of Houston's storyboards.

The rest of the features are more entertaining, but still will probably not be applicable to children. There is a "secret message" from Sins of the Father (1m:01s) that plays the audio backwards to reveal an inside joke, which will probably not get a laugh from the viewer. There also is a montage of Animation Mistakes (2m:11s) that contain instances of uniforms changing color, words being misspelled, and an alternate opening title sequence. Next up is a censored scene from Into Your Tent I Will Silently Creep (an episode not featured on this set) that takes a shot at country music. The final feature is a collage of old TV commercials (2m:36s) that encourage kids to take responsibility for breaking a window, buy apples instead stealing, wear bicycle helmets, and pretty much to avoid doing anything that makes a kid a kid (wink wink).

Extras Grade: C


Final Comments

G.I. Joe: Season 2, Part 1 is a dated cartoon show that will probably have little appeal beyond either those who grew up on the show or young boys. The new Dolby Digital 5.1 mix is a nice way of spicing up the stale animation, but the image transfer does not make the visuals vivid. The extras will not impress DVD fans and are not geared towards children, so most people probably won't be likely to watch them.


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