G-Force (a J!-ENT Blu-ray Disc Review)
December 6, 2009 by Dennis Amith
Jerry Bruckheimer’s first 3D film features guinea pigs and a mole trying to save the world. Seems like an over-the-top concept but overall, “G-Force” is a fun, crazy and action-packed family film that the children will enjoy! The Blu-ray release features a 3-disc release with plenty of special features and solid picture and audio quality. Definitely a family film worth checking out!
Images courtesy of © WDSHE. All Rights Reserved.
DURATION: 88 Minutes
BLU-RAY INFORMATION: 1080p High Definition (2:40:1), English 5.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit), French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital, Subtitles: English SDH, French and Spanish
RATED: PG (For Some Mild Action and Rude Humor)
COMPANY: Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment
RELEASE DATE: December 15, 2009
Directed by Hoyt H. Yeatman, Jr.
Screenplay by Cormac Wibberley and Marianne Wibberley
Story by Hoyt Yeatman
Executive Producer: Duncan Henderson, David P.I. James, Chad Oman, Mike Stenson
Producer: Jerry Bruckheimer
Co-Producer: Todd Arnow
Associate Producer: Terry Rossio
Music by Trevor Rabin
Cinematography by Bojan Bazelli
Edited by Mark Goldblatt, Jason Hellman
Casting by Ronna Kress
Production Design by Deborah Evans
Art Direction by Ramsey Avery, Daniel R. Jennings
Set Decoration by Leslie E. Rollins
Costume Design by Ellen Mirojnick
Bill Nighy as Leonard Saber
Will Arnett as Kip Killian
Sam Rockwell (as the voice of Darwin)
Jon Favreau (as the voice of Hurley)
Nicolas Cage (as the voice of Speckles)
Penelope Cruz (as the voice of Juarez)
Steve Buscemi (as the voice of Bucky)
Tracy Morgan (As the voice of Blaster)
Keli Garner as Marcie
Zach Galifianakis as Ben
Tyler Patrick Jones as Connor
Gabriel Casseus as Agent Trigstad
Jack Conley as Agent Carter
Piper Mackenzie Harris as Penny
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 ncludes 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!
What happens when you take a secret government program of trained animals and combine them with the latest in high-tech spy equipment? The result is G-FORCE.
The film became the first 3D film on the big screen by producer Jerry Bruckheimer (“National Treasure” films, “Pirates of the Caribbean” films, “The Rock, “Con Air” and “Top Gun”) who teams up once again with Academy Award-winning visual effects master Hoyt H. Yeatman (“The Abyss”, “Mighty Joe Young”, “The Rock” and “Con Air”) who directs the film.
The film about animals saving the world didn’t go to well with the critics but at the box office, “G-Force” was quite successful as the film which was budgeted at $82.5 million made over $281 million worldwide.
Featuring an all-star cast, “G-FORCE” revolves around a secret US Government program using guinea pigs Darwin (voice by Sam Rockwell) as the squad leader, Blaster (voice of Tracy Morgan) as the outrageous weapons expert with attitude and Juarez (voice of Penélope Cruz) as the sexy martial arts pro and taking part in top secret espionage missions.
Joining the guinea pigs is star-nosed mole, Speckles (voice of Nicolas Cage), the computer and information specialist, the computer and information specialist and Mooch, the reconnaissance expert. Also, featuring pet shop layabout Hurley (voice by Jon Favreau) and territorial hamster Bucky (voice of Steve Buscemi).
The film also stars Bill Nighy as the sinister industrialist Leonard Saber, Will Arnett as Special Agent Kip Killian who is bent on shutting down G-FORCE, Zach Galifianakis as the creator and father figure of G-FORCE, Kelli Garner as the team’s veterinarian and many more.
The main premise of the story is that industrialist Leonard Saber is developing a major weapon that would be unleashed on the world in 29 hours. Ben, the developer of G-Force has the team infiltrating his compound during party to steal a memory card which would reveal his plans for the government. Of course, Ben is doing this without authorization but feels that this is his best shot in showing the government that G-Force can be used effectively to counter evil.
Of course, things don’t go quite as well as the memory card does not the sensitive information that guinea pig Darwin (the team leader) had seen on Saber’s computer. This infuriates Special Agent Kip Killian who shuts down G-Force and tells Ben that the guinea pigs will now become guinea pigs for experimentation by the government. As the government tries to capture the animals, G-Force vet Marcie manages to free the G-Force team by shooting them outside of the building. The problem is that the team is without their high tech equipment and will need to fend for themselves as they try to find a way to stop Saber’s scheme to destroy the world in a short amount of time. The problem is, the team end up at a pet shop and are now being put up for sale. Can the team stop Saber in time? Or are they stuck inside the pet shop?
The “G-Force” Blu-ray release comes with the Blu-ray, a DVD and a digital copy.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
“G-Force” is featured in 1080p High Definition (2:40:1). The actual merging of CG animation and real characters actually works extremely well for this film. Sony Pictures ImageWorks did a wonderful job on the CG and special effects. A lot of good ideas were implemented in the film in terms of the animation of the G-Force team. Especially hair effects as you can see the detail of the animals when they are wet or dry. As usual with Disney releases on Blu-ray, picture quality is fantastic. Along with the details of the G-Force team, their surroundings are detailed and when outdoors, the colors are vibrant. Blacks are nice and deep and I spotted no problems with artifacting, banding at all.
Audio is presented in English 5.1 DTS-HD (48 kHz/24-bit) and French and Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital. Lossless audio is actually pretty well done. Good utilization of the rear channels for the action scenes, as explosions and glass shattering comes out quite clear from the surround channels. “G-Force” tends to use quite a bit of music from the Black Eyed Peas, Lady GaGa and Flo Rida, so the music is quite clear and contains quite a bit of bass. Subwoofer tends to utilize the bass of the music quite a bit. But overall, a solid lossless audio track.
As for the voice acting, I felt the talent did a good job. Nicolas Cage really surprised me with his squeaky, nerdy voice for tech master Speckles. Penelope Cruz as the voice of female guinea pig Juarez worked quite well. Although, Tracy Morgan sounds like Tracy Morgan but overall, the voice talent did a good job.
Subtitles are in English SDH, French and Spanish.
“G-Force” contains several special features in 1080p or 1080i, English 5.1 or 2.0 Dolby Digital and with English SDH, French or Spanish subtitles:
- Cine-Explore with Darwin, Blaster and their Creator – While watching the film, you can watch along with Darwin, Blaster and Directory Hoyt Yeatman. As you watch, the movie will pause when a video comes up, showing behind-the-scenes of the film. Unlike previous Blu-ray releases where the picture is picture-in-picture, Cine-Explore features the film in a stylized window while other G-Force related footage or facts are being shown on screen. Very cool feature!
- Blaster’s Boot Camp – (4:41) A featurette with Blaster (voiced by Tracy Morgan) explaining the training that one must do in order to become part of G-Force.
- G-Force Mastermind– (4:13) Director Hoyt H. Yeatman talking about how the concept came from his five-year-old son. Young Hoyt talks about how the idea came about and his experience of working on the film.
- Bruckheimer Animated -(3:12) A featurette about Jerry Bruckheimer’s involvement in CG work for past films. Featuring Jerrry Bruckheimer and Hoyt Yeatman and how the two worked together in “Armageddon”, “Con Air”, etc. and past films that Bruckheimer utilized animation and technology.
- Access Granted: Inside the Animation Lab – (7:51) Utilizing Sony Pictures ImageWorks to do the animation and special effects for the film. A tour is given by Hoyt Yeatman of the headquarters and showing how various parts of animation were created (lighting, hair, etc.).
- G-Farce Bloopers – (1:49) Bloopers from “G-Force”.
- Deleted Scenes -(6:18) A total of six deleted scenes: March of the Cockroach, Mooch’s Donut Regiment, B-B-Bunies, Undercover Pets, Hurley Under Attack, World Domination.
- Music Videos – Featuring three music videos: “Jump” by Flo Rida feat. Nelly Furtado, “Ready to Rock” by Steve Rushton and “Go Go-Force”.
- Learn How to Take Your Favorite Movies on the Go – (1:04) A promo trailer for DisneyFile Digital Copy.
“G-Force” may not have been a popular film among the critics but for a family film, “G-Force” was actually fun. The idea of “G-Force” came from Hoyt H. Yeatman’s five year old son at the time about wanting to use his animals to take on bad guys. And it’s an idea that visual master Yeatman toiled around his head and six years later, became a feature film.
Special effects were done quite well and there are many big budget films where CG animation and real-life filmmaking just doesn’t work but for “G-Force”, it worked quite well (especially if it costs over $80 million to make, it better work well).
Parents may wonder why the film has a PG rating and there is mild action with the team trying to take on Saber’s “weapons” but in terms of the rude humor, there is a lot of farting (courtesy of the gassy guinea pig Hurley) and scenes where the rodents are stuck in a sphere and you hear jokes such as “get your butt out of my face. No, you get your face out of my butt” type of jokes but that is the worst it gets. Now of course, there are scenes where a child puts one of the G-Force team members in a remote control car and crashes it into G.I. Joe action figures or tries to jump a ramp with it inside the car. And another scene where a girl plays dress up with the guinea pig and puts nail polish and lipstick on the animal. Of course, parents who have children with hamsters or guinea pigs will best explain to them not to do that at home despite seeing it onscreen.
As far as the Blu-ray release is concerned, you get a solid 3-disc release (Blu-ray, DVD and digital copy) and plenty of special features to keep the children busy during this holiday season. The “Cine-Explore” feature was especially well-utilized on this Blu-ray release.
In the end, this film is a enjoyable, action-packed family film targeted for the children. I’ve read many reviews by critics who just have a disdain of rodents saving the world via technology and look at it as a stupid concept. Granted, for some of those reviewers, I’m sure when they were children, the concept of Lassie, Flipper and Benji were probably regarded by critics of their time as a bit over-the-top as well. Granted, those animals were not hooked up to high tech devices and were used to save the world but granted, this is not the film to exactly take seriously. The same happened with the release of “Stuart Little” back in 1999 and critics had a hard time moving past the talking rodent but sure enough, that film inspired sequels and direct-to-DVD movies and was quite successful.
Overall, I felt it “G-Force” was a fun concept. Where “Stuart Little” was more of a happy film about family, “G-Force” was about camaraderie and trying to save the world. Sure, the concept is farfetched but if you’re taking this film that seriously, you’re not going to enjoy this film at all. I watched it along with my six-year-old and we both enjoyed it. And as a parent, I felt it was a fun film with action, hijinks and a lot of music from The Black Eyed Peas.
Definitely a family film and a Blu-ray release worth checking out!
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