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…


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…



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…


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…


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…


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…




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!”


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!


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…


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!


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…)


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!



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…




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!


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…


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



“And then Jets, firing missles!”


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


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



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


(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…



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


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



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


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!