G.I. Joe

 
Promotional site for kids too young to see the movie.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

A lot of fighting and battling takes place, but no one ever says what the fight is about. Sure, there are mentions of "good" versus "evil" but these terms are never really shown in concrete ways. Also, weapons and war are glamorized and associated with being macho. On a side note, the game "Kung Fu Grip" shows a real person's hand crushing items with no protection. Sure the cheese log might be funny getting squished, but crushing a light bulb or Grandpa's glasses could do real harm! The page does give a "don't try this at home" warning, but the stuntman performing the tricks makes them look easy and painless.

Violence

There's no blood, guts, or suffering on this Web site, but there has to be as much weaponry as you'd find in a real Army munitions depot. From knives and swords to handguns and even rocket launchers, this site is like a world of weapons. Games include two ninjas fighting (once again, no injuries shown) and sharp-shooting practice in a fox hole (with vehicles as target, not people).

Sex

Female characters are described as "dangerous and beautiful" and have military uniforms unlike anything seen in the real armed forces, outfits that hug all their curves.

Consumerism

The first entry on the table of contents is "See All G.I. Joe Toys." When you click on the items there's a big "Buy It!" option. The "Action Toy Arena" is a Flash-driven page that models the latest action toys in the Joe line and animates them to show the moves and weapons they feature.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

"Kung Fu Grip" gives players the option to put the squeeze on a "Port Wine Cheese Log."

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that although the movie is rated PG-13, this Web site is definitely marketed to a younger audience. There are links throughout the site that lead to product promotion pages, and the games available often take on a violent spin. However, not everything on this site is inappropriate for elementary kids; in fact, there are some games and activities just right for that age. But, if you don't want your first grader begging to see a movie designed for the over 13 crowd, then it might be wise to avoid this clever bit of online marketing.

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QUALITY
 

Letting the kids visit Hasbro's G.I. JOE a lot like letting them indulge in an ice cream sundae before supper. Sure, you know it's not good for them, but there are definitely worse things. With the assortment of machine guns and assault rifles strewn about the pages, it would seem this site was designed by the president of the NRA. Some of the features are just obvious commercials for the line of movie-related merchandise, but there are some truly fun games that salvage the site. From heart-pounding spy missions to a Family Feud-style trivia show, these online activities are fun, without being overly violent. The site is at its best when it offers up retro comics and kitschy stop-motion action figures, rather than the high-gloss modern Joe. 

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why movies these days are rated PG-13 but marketed to much younger kids. Do you think young kids, especially boys, will think a movie is cooler if it has a higher rating and will then want to buy the products? Is there a stigma to G and PG-rated movies amongst kids? Would G.I. Joe be un-cool if it was just PG? Read "Help! My G-Rated Kids Want to See PG-13 Transformers" for some handy advice.

  • Do you think movies are now made because of their marketing possibilities? Can you think of a movie you've seen in the summer that didn't have related items like toys and video games accompanying its release?

  • G.I. Joe began as a kids' action figure toy. Today it's a movie for teens and adults. Can you think of any other kids' franchises that have grown with audiences? What about Harry Potter? Go to "Harry Potter By Age and Stage" to find out how to adapt when characters grow up.

Website details

Genre:Fan Sites
Pricing structure:Free

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Teen, 13 years old Written by9001 January 23, 2010
age 12+
 

12+

Too violent for young children.
What other families should know
Too much violence

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