2021 (October 19, 2021)
MGM / Skydance / Entertainment One (Paramount Pictures)
- Film / program rating: C +
- Video quality: A-
- Audio level: A
- Category of extras: J +
Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins is a prequel that was produced despite the fact that no one was particularly clamoring for it. All GI Joe The franchise has had an odd trajectory in this regard – although each installment encounters a general ambivalence, it continues to generate new titles periodically. The rise of the cobra had moderate success in 2009, but not enough to trigger an immediate sequel, and so there was a four-year gap before the series was semi-rebooted in 2013 with Reprisals. This film made a little less money at the box office, but it was also made on a lower budget, which means that it was still moderately successful. Again, that wasn’t enough to quickly launch another sequel; there were plans for another installment called Always vigilant, and even talks about crosses with other Hasbro toy lines, but nothing came of it until Snake-eyes finally landed in 2021.
The interesting thing is that the franchise continues to persevere not so much because of box office revenue, but rather because of the filmmakers who seem to really care about the material. It might sound odd for a series based on a pretty odd line-up of toys, comics, and cartoons, but it’s true. Producer Lorenzo di Bonaventura happily embraces him, finding directors to match Stephen Sommers, John M. Chu and now Robert Schwentke. It would be an exaggeration to call any of these films a personal project, and yet the filmmakers have always had a certain personal investment in what they created.
In the case of Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins, the title says it all – it’s an origin story for the fan favorite character of Snake Eyes. Henry Golding took over from Ray Park in the title role, with Andrew Koji in Storm Shadow, Ursula Corbero in Baroness and the delightful Samara Weaving in Scarlett. The rest of the cast are filled with interesting faces like Haruka Abe, Takehiro Hira, Iko Uwais, and Peter Mensah. The screenplay by Evan Spiliotopoulos, Joe Shrapnel (really?) And Anna Waterhouse borrows freely from snapshots of Yakuza and martial arts cinema, as well as films like The challenge and The hunt. The action is a little more consistent than it was in Reprisals, but Schwentke and his team rely too much on a shaky hand-held camera and a quick cut. It’s a shame because with amazing marriage artists like Iko Uwais in the cast, her skills have to be clearly seen to be appreciated. Always, Snake-eyes is quite entertaining, if not particularly memorable.
Cinematographer Bojan Bazelli captured Snake-eyes digitally at 3.4K resolution using Arri Alexa Mini cameras with Cooke Anamorphic / i SF and Leica Summilux-C lenses, framed in 2.39: 1 aspect ratio. There is no information available regarding the post-production work done for the film, but it was likely finished as a 2K digital intermediate, then scaled and rated for high dynamic range for the output. Ultra HD from Paramount. (HDR10 and Dolby Vision are included on the disc.) Everything is crisp and clear, but there isn’t as much fine detail as movies with native 4K images. The textures look quite refined at normal viewing distances, but they’re a bit smoother when viewed up close, and even a bit blurry in a few cases. (Again, this is only noticeable as you walk towards the screen, so it doesn’t really impact the overall experience.) On the other hand, HDR quality has a huge impact. , and that’s where this transfer really sings. The contrast is bold, with deep blacks and brilliant highlights, and incredibly vivid colors. It really stands out once the characters fly to Tokyo around 10:00 p.m., where the costumes, cityscapes, and landscapes are much more dramatic. (Pay no attention to the fact that, thanks to Hollywood’s creative geography, they get off the plane in Tokyo and casually trek over 300 miles to Kishiwada Castle in Osaka.) The Rainy Night Pursuit and the rooftop brawl between Koji and Les Hira are visual highlights as well, with neon lights shining raindrops. It is easily the most beautiful GI Joe home video film.
It’s also the best sound. The main audio is offered in English Dolby Atmos, and the mix even exceeds the excellent 7.1 track on Reprisals, not to mention the 5.1 track for The rise of the cobra. Overhead makes its presence known during the opening scenes, and there is a great sense of immersion throughout the film – environmental effects like rain, thunder, or other bits of atmosphere surround the viewer. at any time. The dynamics are powerful, with a lot of impact, and the bass is deep. Dialogue is the least important element, but it is still perfectly clear. It might not be quite a benchmark quality track, but it comes close. Additional audio options include English, Czech, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French, French (Canada), Italian, Hungarian, and Polish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio. Subtitle options include English, SDH English, Czech, Danish, Greek, Spanish (Spain), Spanish (Latin America), French, French (Canada), ‘Italian, Hungarian, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Slovak, Finnish and Swedish.
The Ultra HD version of Paramount for Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins is a single disc version that includes a sleeve and a digital copy code on a paper insert, but no standard Blu-ray. The following extras are included, all in HD:
- Morning Light: a weapon with stories to tell (3:11)
- Deleted Scenes: Akiko Trains (: 29)
- Deleted Scenes: Snake Eyes Sword Game (: 25)
- Deleted Scenes: Blind Master’s Kunai Throw (: 27)
- Deleted Scenes: House Attack (: 12)
- Deleted Scenes: Tommy Unleashed (: 33)
- Enter Snake Eyes (9:32)
- A deadly set (6:22)
- Arashikage (6:59)
Morning light is a short animated topic that provides general information about the sword given to Snake Eyes. The deleted scenes are little more than cuts and can be safely skipped. The rest of the reporting includes interviews with various cast and crew members, as well as behind-the-scenes footage. They are all made of fairly light EPK material. Enter Snake Eyes begins with Golding and Koji talking about their characters, then spends time on the film’s stunts, with an emphasis on the freeway chase. A deadly set extends the focus a bit to the rest of the actors. Arashikage takes a look at the clan Snake Eyes is involved with.
Snake Eyes: GI Joe Origins was unlucky enough to come out in the uncertain theatrical climate during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it sank pretty quickly at the box office. Normally that wouldn’t bode well for future installments, but just like the Joes never give up, it’s a franchise that seems to continue despite the odds. Chances are, this won’t be the last time fans will see Snake Eyes and the rest of their favorite characters.
– Stephen BjÃ¶rk
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