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DISNEY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Hoyt Yeatman
Cast:
Bill Nighy, Sam Rockwell, Will Arnett, Jon Favreau, Zach Galifianakis, Nicolas Cage, Kelli Garner, Penélope Cruz, Steve Buscemi, Tracy Morgan
Writing Credits:
Cormac Wibberley, Marianne Wibberley, Hoyt Yeatman (story)

Tagline:
When justice is blind, it knows no fear.

Synopsis:
Buckle up for thrilling edge-of-your-seat action and laugh-out-loud fun in Disney’s family comedy adventure G-Force. Just as the G-Force — an elite team of highly trained guinea pigs — is about to save the world, the F.B.I. shuts the secret unit down. But these next-generation action heroes — Darwin, loyal team leader; Blaster, weapons expert with attitude to spare; Juarez, drop-dead gorgeous martial arts diva; and tag-along Hurley — won’t be stopped. Armed with the latest in high-tech spy equipment, and with the F.B.I. on their tails, the fur flies as they race against the clock to save the world. From the producer of the Pirates Of The Caribbean trilogy and National Treasure, and filled with high-octane action, daredevil stunts, cutting-edge special effects and outrageous comedy, G-Force is fantastic fun for the whole family.

Box Office:
Opening Weekend
$31.706 million on 3697 screens.
Domestic Gross
$119.420 million.

MPAA:
Rated PG

DVD DETAILS
Presentation:
Widescreen 2.40:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 5.1
French Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
Portuguese Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles:
English
French
Spanish
Portuguese
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish
French
Portuguese

Runtime: 88 min.
Price: $44.99
Release Date: 12/15/2009

Bonus:
Disc One:
• Audio Commentary with Director Hoyt H. Yeatman
• “Cine-Explore” Interactive Feature
• “Blaster’s Boot Camp” Featurette
• “G-Force Mastermind” Featurette
• “Bruckheimer Animated” Featurette
• “Access Granted: Inside the Animation Lab” Featurette
• “G-Farce: Bloopers”
• Deleted Scenes
• Music Videos
• Sneak Peeks
Disc Two:
• Digital Copy
Disc Three:
• DVD Copy


PURCHASE @ AMAZON.COM

EQUIPMENT
Panasonic 50" TH-50PZ77U 1080p Plasma Monitor; Sony STR-DG1200 7.1 Channel Receiver; Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player using HDMI outputs; Michael Green Revolution Cinema 6i Speakers (all five); Kenwood 1050SW 150-watt Subwoofer.

RELATED REVIEWS


G-Force [Blu-Ray] (2009)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (December 14, 2009)

Is anything more entertaining than talking animals? Sure – lots of things. However, kids dig chatty critters, which is why we get movies such as 2009’s G-Force, and why movies such as G-Force earn $119 million at the box office.

Unbeknownst to virtually all, scientists develop an unusual team of special agents. The gimmick? They’re all guinea pigs – literally. The squad includes leader Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell), martial artist Juarez (Penelope Cruz), and weapons expert Blaster (Tracy Morgan). They also work with human liaison Ben Kendall (Zach Galifianakis), tech expert mole Speckles (Nicolas Cage) and spy fly Mooch (Dee Bradley Baker).

The animals go on a mission to get information about seemingly nefarious plans developed by consumer electronics billionaire Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy). It looks like G-Force pulls off their excursion, but problems ensue. The feds want to shut down the program, and they can’t produce evidence of their success.

This sends the animals on the lam. Ben manages to smuggle them out, but they end up caged at a pet store. Darwin and the others need to escape their fate and prove their value as agents as they discern the secrets behind “Operation Clusterstorm”. Darwin also gets to know Hurley (Jon Favreau), a chubby guinea pig who may or may not be his long lost brother.

At the age of 42, I realize that I’m more than three decades past the G-Force target audience. I recognize that kids probably get a kick out of this stuff. Kids laugh at farts and boogers – can’t we raise the bar a little higher than that?

I think so. Entertainment for kids doesn’t have to be stupid or insulting to adults. Pixar proves that annually, and we’ve gotten plenty of other terrific kid-oriented material over the decades.

At no point does G-Force qualify as anything other than cheap entertainment for easily amused children. Oh, the film nods in the direction of the adults in the audience. It packs a lot of notable voice actors; why do that if not to placate the grown-ups in the crowd? Seven-year-olds won’t care if Nicolas Cage and Penelope Cruz show up in the flick, so the stars show up as a bone for adults.

Of course, G-Force throws in the requisite dash of jokes that kids would never get. In general, these come in the form of quotes from and allusions to other films. You’ll find references to other flicks and puns/quips that will fly over the heads of the young ‘uns. Without a desire to make the flick workable for adults, these bits wouldn’t exist.

They don’t help. G-Force comes with a decent concept; while absolutely absurd, at least it’s a fun idea. The movie even attempts to convince us that technology would help turn rodents into special agents.

Though the film has some promise, it absolutely fails in terms of execution. G-Force launches with one of the most awkward openings I’ve ever seen. It doesn’t remotely attempt real development of the characters or situations. The flick immediately takes us into the action, and it does such in such a way that viewers may wonder if they missed a reel. The movie begins so abruptly that we’re immediately distanced from it.

Granted, it eventually delivers the expected exposition, but the structure makes this unsatisfying. Why not start with a little basic info? I guess the filmmakers think that a big opening action scene will kick things off with a bang ala the Bond franchise, but they’re wrong. The clunky nature of the first scene sets things off so poorly that the film can’t recover.

Actually, if it did anything to excel during its remaining running time, I could forgive the problematic beginning. Unfortunately, G-Force feels more like a parody of a kid movie than anything else. The characters are basic caricatures – sassy Latina, nerdy tech geek, etc. – and the plot is a mess. The plot doesn’t make a lick of sense, and various story elements – such as when Ben tells the guinea pigs revelations about their origins – come out as pointless devices.

All of this adds up to a pretty ridiculous, charm-free experience. G-Force lacks excitement, humor or anything to redeem it to an audience – or at least to an audience that’s passed puberty. Hopefully discerning kids will turn up their noses at it as well; this is pandering nonsense.


The Disc Grades: Picture A/ Audio B+/ Bonus B+

G-Force appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. From start to finish, the transfer excelled.

At all times, sharpness appeared stellar. If any signs of softness ever emerged, I didn’t see them; I thought the entire film was crisp and precise. The image lacked jagged edges or shimmering, and edge enhancement remained absent. I also failed to discern any source flaws in this clean, fresh presentation.

In terms of colors, the film went with a moderately stylized palette. The film favored chilly blues for its action scenes and went with a more golden tone for many other sequences. The hues appeared vivid and full throughout the flick. Blacks were deep and firm, while shadows came across as smooth and well-defined. This was a consistently terrific transfer.

While not quite as good, the DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of G-Force worked pretty well. The movie didn’t offer constant action, but it boasted more than enough good sequences to make it engaging. With many action elements throughout the tale, the movie offered plenty of opportunities for solid information. It delivered these well, as the material meshed together well and created an involving environment. In addition, music always delivered good stereo imaging, and speech featured a little localized dialogue. All of this combined to create a vivid soundscape.

In addition, audio quality was strong. Speech seemed natural and distinctive, and music offered nice range and vivacity. Effects came across as accurate and dynamic. They boasted fine punch and appeared concise and full. Although the audio didn’t always dazzle, it soared often enough to earn an “B+“.

We get a nice mix of supplements here. An interactive feature comes to us with Cine-Explore. When activated, this offers an expanded form of audio commentary. Yeatman chats through the movie, and the characters Blaster and Darwin occasionally drop in to join him. In a pleasant surprise, Tracy Morgan and Sam Rockwell do the voices for their roles in “Cine-Explore” as well. Their moments act as minor comedic fodder; none of the bits offer much amusement, but they do offer a fun diversion.

On his own, Yeatman covers cast, characters and performances, effects and animation, stunts and action, sets and locations, cinematography and lighting, elements used for the film’s 3D version, and a mix of other topics.

If nothing else, I credit Yeatman for his energy. He launches into his commentary with gusto and provides a lively discussion of his film. I think he focuses too heavily on technical areas, though. Sure, a movie that uses so many CG characters necessarily will lean toward that side of things, but I would’ve liked more balance between the creative and the technical. Still, even though the material become rather dry at times, Yeatman delivers so much enthusiasm that the track satisfies.

The format opens things up in a satisfying manner. “Cine-Explore” pairs Yeatman’s remarks with a mix of visuals like storyboards, pre-viz segments, rough visual effects, and shots from the set. These let us see the techniques used to bring the film to life while Yeatman relates the details.

In addition, “Cine-Explore” occasionally splits off for “Video Files”. These offer standard featurettes along the way, and we hear from folks other than Yeatman during the “Files”. He remains the main participant, but we also get notes from producer Jerry Bruckheimer, production designer Deborah Evans, visual effects supervisor Scott Stokdyk, digital effects supervisor Seth Maury, animation supervisor Troy Saliba, senior visual effects producer Buzz Hays, 3D visual effects supervisor Rob Engle and actors Sam Rockwell, Jon Favreau, and Tracy Morgan. They touch on some effects issues along with character/prop design, cast and performances, and the creation of the film’s 3D version.

Blaster’s Boot Camp runs four minutes, 41 seconds and offers an attempt at comedy. Morgan reprises his role as Blaster and narrates as we zip through a quick look at the world of G-Force. “Blaster” provides facts about a lot of the gadgets used in the film. Something like this may entertain the movie’s fans, but it’s not going to win over anyone else.

We get notes about the folks behind the film in the four-minute, 13-second G-Force Mastermind. We get remarks from Yeatman, Bruckheimer, and “mastermind”/director’s son Hoyt Yeatman IV. The show discusses the ways that the younger Yeatman influenced the project and how it went through development. We hear some of this info in the elder Yeatman’s commentary, but some interesting notes emerge.

During Bruckheimer Animated, we get a three-minute, 12-second clip. It includes notes from Bruckheimer and Yeatman. We get some thoughts about the Bruckheimer/Yeatman relationship and other aspects of the producer’s career. The featurette is fluffy and forgettable.

More behind the scenes material appear in the seven-minute, 52-second Access Granted: Inside the Animation Lab. It features Yeatman, Bruckheimer, Saliba, and Stokdyk. Yeatman takes us on a tour of the visual effects studio and shows us a variety of different techniques used through the film. This turns into a surprisingly meaty featurette given its length.

Goofiness appears during G-Farce: Bloopers. The reel lasts a mere one minute, 49 seconds and shows shots from the set and also from the voice recording sessions. Most of these show the usual goofs, but the piece is more interesting than usual due to some improv lines.

Six Deleted Scenes last a total of six minutes, 17 seconds. These include “March of the Cockroach” (0:55), “Mooch’s Donut Regimen” (0:28), “B-B-Bunnies” (0:35), “Undercover Pets” (1:52), “Hurley Under Attack” (1:22) and “World Domination” (1:05). The first two show more of the skills boasted by insect agents, while “Bunnies” lets us see Sparkles’ fear of rabbits. In “Pets”, Hurley tells the G-Forcers they need new names if they want to get adopted. “Attack” just extends an existing pet store sequence, and “Domination” shows more of the climactic assault by technological items. Fans will probably enjoy these, but none seem important.

Three music videos finish the disc. We find “Jump” by Flo Rida Featuring Nelly Furtado, “Ready to Rock” by Steve Rushton, and “Go G-Force”. The Rida song is the most interesting of the bunch; I wouldn’t call it good, but it’s not bad, either. Rushton is another young generic rocker wannabe, but his video’s the most creative of the bunch. “Go G-Force” is a bizarre, semi-embarrassing bit in which the animals “sing”. It’s also a bad video.

A few ads open Disc One. We get clips for Dumbo, Alice in Wonderland (2010), Blu-ray Disc and Disney Movie Rewards. These also appear under Sneak Peeks along with promos for Ponyo, Beauty and the Beast, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue and Disney Parks. No trailer for G-Force can be found here.

A second disc offers a Digital Copy of the movie. This allows you to transfer the film to a computer or portable gadget. Super-dee-duper!

Finally, a third platter provides a DVD Copy of G-Force. If you want to own G-Force but aren’t yet Blu-ray capable, it’s a good bonus.

One note about the DVD version: it includes a standard audio commentary from Yeatman. This offers essentially the same content found in “Cine-Explore”, though you’ll find greater depth of information in the commentary. Much of the time the two are identical, but “Blaster” and “Darwin” aren’t a factor during the standard commentary. This makes it a better way to learn about the film. I’d recommend that fans listen to the commentary on its own and then just skip through “Cine-Explore” for the “Video Files”; chapter search easily lets you jump from one to the next.

Apparently kids will see anything, as proven by the good box office returns earned by G-Force. Witless, silly and inane, the movie goes the “lowest common denominator” path and provides virtually no entertainment value. The Blu-ray boasts excellent picture quality as well as pretty good audio and a strong collection of supplements. As a movie, G-Force is a dud, but as a Blu-ray, this is an excellent package.

Viewer Film Ratings: 1 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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Review Archive:  # | A-C | D-F | G-I | J-L | M-O | P-R | S-U | V-Z | Viewer Ratings | Main