When it comes to summer action flicks, you’re bound to run into a few…questionable outings. Such is the Jerry Bruckheimer produced G-Force. While talking animal movies have been around (and likely will stay around) for years now, superhero guinea pigs is certainly one of the more…original concepts out there. Add in the all-star cast of Nicolas Cage, Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, Penelope Cruz, Steve Buscemi, and Tracy Morgan and you get a solid voice over cast that…doesn’t really matter in the end. I mean this film has talking guinea pig super agents…does the film even need to be expounded on further?
A top-secret, highly trained trio of guinea pig super spies is assigned to stop a dastardly plot to take over the world in G-Force, a gorgeously rendered CGI adventure from famed producer Jerry Bruckheimer. Squad leader Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell) will do what it takes to guarantee the success of his team, which also includes Blaster (Tracy Morgan), an outrageous weapons expert with tons of attitude, and Juarez (Penelope Cruz), gorgeous martial arts pro. With the help of Speckles (Nicolas Cage), a star-nosed mole, and myriad other members of the animal kingdom, the G-Force tries to derail evil appliance mogul Leonard Saber’s power grab. It helps when your fly-on-the wall reconnaissance expert is, well, a fly on the wall!
It’s no real surprise that this film didn’t fare well amongst critics or movie goers. The rather large budget ($150 million) was recouped, but in the end the film made a scant $50 million in profit—and it might not even be all of that when you take into account the marketing that went into the film as well. But box office performance is rarely an example of a movies quality, so it’s harsh to judge it based solely on that. But it’s not usually too harsh to judge a film based on what critics have to say…and this one is pretty much right up there in terms of critical consensus. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve loved films that have scored low on Rotten Tomatoes, but it’s pretty much a proven fact that any film with Will Arnett or Nicolas Cage in it is crap.
Before you all send me hate mail I love those actors quite a lot. They just rarely are in anything that’s worth watching and when it comes to G-Force…well, it holds true that their performances add nothing to it. Granted it doesn’t detract much either since the film is pretty cookie cutter and generic in execution. It’s a children’s film and to treat it as anything but would be dishonest of me…but man, I couldn’t even get into this movie in the least. Ok, so I did laugh at the fart and “fly” jokes, but those are easy marks and I’m not overly picky when it comes to humor that makes me laugh.
I actually did enjoy Galifianakis in this for what it’s worth; he’s pretty easy to be entertained by, although his brand of humor was obviously really dumbed down for this film. I wondered why he even opted to be in a film like this until I read an interview in GQ where he mentioned that he was…well, this is a review about a children’s movie, so I’ll just say that he was full of sandwiches (to steal a How I Met Your Mother reference) and not in a proper state of mind to make decisions about his career at the time. In any case he was certainly a shining light in the film, even if it was a very brief glimmer.
So what about the film itself? Well in essence it’s just what the synopsis says…with a rather decent twist, I must say. I didn’t see it coming…but then again I didn’t really attempt to analyze this movie in anyway, so maybe it was overly obvious, I don’t know. I will say that it’s fairly harmless and innocuous entertainment for the young ones with a few “adult” jokes thrown in for good measure…but it’s very much youth focused. There isn’t enough here for adults to be entertained by like the kids, so parents would be better off slipping this into the player and walking away unless they’re looking to make a family night out of it. In which case I’d just recommend a Pixar movie instead.
The film does pack in a decent amount of action in its eighty-eight minute runtime, but like Bolt it started out with a fantastic opening which then proceeded to slow to a crawl and then finally speed up again in the end, only to end in disappointment once again. It’s a simple film and, again, one that I’m sure kids will love. But outside of that age group, the audience for this one is severely limited. Which, you may ask, what’s the harm in that? Well there’s no harm, but Disney is capable of making age and gender spanning films, so it’s a shame when they settle (and invest so much money in) for something as relatively simple as this. Overall worth a Rental for the curious and Recommended for the young ones.
G-Force arrives in the usual double-wide case from Disney which houses the three discs that this set contains (disc 2 is the DVD copy of the film and disc 3 is the digital copy). Also included are the usual array of Disney Blu inserts, as well as the Movie Rewards and code for the digital copy. On the outside of the package is a foil reflective/embossed slipcover. That’s all there is to the presentation of the set (although, as usual, Disney does up a solid menu system that’s easy to navigate).
The AVC encoded transfer for G-Force is what you’d expect from a Jerry Bruckheimer produced film: perfection. Well not absolute perfection; the films mixture of live action and CGI can lend itself to some soft looking visuals at times, but overall the presentation of the film is quite spectacular. Backgrounds are detailed and vibrant and the furry critters that bound around on screen are highly detailed and life like (aside from the…you know, talking thing). There is still a cartoonish feel about the film, but that’s to be expected—this is a film about highly trained guinea pigs after all. Still, everything looks solid and in-place here; plenty of great looking bits on the screen to soak in and Galifianakis’s beard is as bushy as ever.
Audio is a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix and, again, this is Bruckheimer so expect some solid performances here. Granted there is a lot of dialogue to push out through the front channels, but surrounds kick up whenever action is present on screen and there’s some solid subwoofer output towards the end when the amalgamated monster of household appliances begins to wreck havoc. It’s a sonic experience that almost makes the film not feel like a waste of time…until I remember how bored I was for the first portion. Oh well…this will at least rock the home theater setup decently. Plus, if you fall asleep during it you can be sure to get a wakeup call when it’s about to end when the LFE starts breathing down your neck.
Extras are pretty plentiful, although mostly fluff material. Included:
• Cine-Explore with Darwin, Blaster and their Creator—Darwin, Blaster and director Hoyt H. Yeatman reveal the secrets behind G-Force covert operations and the groundbreaking computer graphic work that brought this elite team of Guinea pigs to life.
• Bruckheimer Animated—A retrospective of groundbreaking computer graphic effects in the work of Jerry Bruckheimer, plus an inside peek into the top-secret creation of G-Force’s state-of-the-art visual magic.
• Access Granted: Inside the Animation Lab—Director and computer graphic master Yeatman Jr., takes viewers on an exclusive tour of the high-security facility and shows how the G-Force was animated from initial sketches to completed performances.
• Audio Commentary—with director Hoyt H. Yeatman, Jr.
• Blasters Boot Camp—Blaster (Tracy Morgan) gives viewers a high-energy, high-tech orientation into the elite world of the G-Force.
• G-Force Mastermind—Hollywood legend Jerry Bruckheimer and CG effects whiz Hoyt H. Yeatman, Jr. reveal the inspiration for this exciting adventure.
• G-Farce: Bloopers—A collection of light-hearted flubs from the set that prove to err is not only human!
• Deleted Scenes
• Three Music Videos:
o “Jump” by Flo Rida featuring Nelly Furtado
o “Ready To Rock” by Steve Rushton
o “Go G-Force”
Overall there’s a solid mixture here. The audio commentary is a nice touch; I didn’t think this film would get one. Listening to Yeatman, it’s easy to trash this film for being unoriginal and generic, but in the end he just wanted to make a fun family film. There’s really nothing particularly horrible about this outing, it’s just uninspired—which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just disappointing when you’re trying to find something to watch that the whole family can enjoy. Oh well, when watching it you can just think of Galifianakis from The Hangover or Arnett from Arrested Development and laugh at those memories instead.
A Recommended film for parents and children, but if you’re neither then you can Rent this one. Unless you happen to have a thing for Nicolas Cage voiced guinea pigs, at least.
G-Force arrives on Blu-ray and DVD on December 15th.