Saturday, June 2, 2012
By James Wortman
According to Paramount insiders speaking to Deadline.com, the decision to convert Retaliation to 3D was certainly part of the reasoning behind the delay, but was not the sole deciding factor. If you’ve seen the trailers, it’s fairly evident that Channing Tatum’s character Duke dies in a Cobra attack early on the film, leaving Roadblock (played by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and a group of Joe survivors to rally together and bring down the terrorist organization in an act of—wait for it—retaliation. Although many fans of the property applauded the filmmakers’ decision to “wipe the slate clean” and distance Retaliation from 2009’s middling The Rise of Cobra, test audiences felt that the friendship between Duke and Roadblock wasn’t adequately developed fully in the original cut. Also, since Tatum has had a successful 2012 thus far with 21 Jump Street and The Vow, the studio is beefing up his role in this film and shooting additional scenes. Channing Tatum, in Paramount’s eyes, means profit.
I’m not necessarily a fan of 3D conversion, but I’m also aware that not distributing a 3D version of a blockbuster in today’s cinematic climate is akin to leaving money of the table. Plus, with The Avengers continuing to perform well as The Amazing Spider-Man and The Dark Knight Rises stand poised to dominate the summer 2012 box office, it’s not unwise for Paramount to reposition Retaliation and pit it against less formidable opposition. After all, a March release date did wonders for The Hunger Games this year.
Having said all of that, I can’t help shaking the feeling that Paramount is setting itself up for failure. After being delayed for nearly a year, is there any way G.I. Joe: Retaliation could possibly live up to the hype, 3D or otherwise? For the sake of this franchise—which I feel has some true potential—I hope it does.