It is my prediction--but what do I know?--that "G-Force" will NOT win an Oscar for Best Picture. It may not even pack 'em in the theaters the way "Cars" did. What it will do is entertain children--AND adults--and even teach a lesson or two.
It is a summer ritual that I take my great-nieces (2) and -nephew to see a movie at the theater. We all chose "G-Force" because of television ads. Prior to going, Carolina (age 5) went up to everyone she knew and quoted--with great voice intonation and perfect facial expressions--this line from the movie: "You put a bow on me, you lose a finger!" After we saw the movie Carolina added the second line: "You put a dress on me and you lose the whole hand!"
It won't be a bad spoiler, will it, if I say that not only does this character get a bow and a dress, but she gets lipstick as well! That's the final insult, but Juarez (the character), must play along to win her freedom.
And that's one vital point of the plot: Win their freedom. They've been sold as pets! Blaster and Juarez, guinea pigs--make that scientifically and genetically altered guinea pigs--are actually government agents trained by Ben (a human) to use sophisticated weapons to obtain secrets for the government. In short, they are spies with special talents.
Although the plot is fun and perhaps a little scary for wee ones (not my 5-year-old Carolina), the older crowd (5 and older) seemed to really enjoy the movie. Obviously, the humor is meant for all ages because I heard myself laughing--out loud (I'm grandparent age)! Even Carolina kept whispering, "This is awesome!"
Of course, Colby (the 9-year-old) loved Blaster. He always loves the "goofy" ones (because he considers himself a "goofy" one). Tracy Morgan wonderfully delivers this voice--and sometimes steals the scene. The main character, Darwin, the capable leader, is narrated by Sam Rockwell, and is deliberate, yet carefully heroic.
In fact, I was sure Nicholas Cage voices Darwin, but no, Nick plays the mole, the brilliant technology character. Who would have thought it?
But the real surprise is Juarez, voiced by Penelope Cruz! Juarez was my particular favorite, who plays the keep-'em-guessing governmental agent with exactly the right tempo--a little mild flirting, but focused concentration on the job at hand. It is this character with the "lose a finger" line. Delivered perfectly! Juarez is totally delightful!
However, the best thing about "G-Force" is the message. Bottom line: Everyone is special. Everyone has talents. It sometimes takes a skilled person to instill that self-confidence and bring out those talents. The scientist Sam is the one in the film. In "ordinary" life (there is much talk of being ordinary), it is often teachers who bring out these talents. It was a good lesson.
One neg about the movie: The poster accompanying this review is a very weak choice for advertisement (that little blue one next to the reviews). When the picture is small, the front guinea pig (Darwin) looks like an elephant or perhaps a Jewish man from the Old Testament. I know the poster depicts a brave scene, but I suggest replacing it with one of color that shows the courage and derring-do of these wonderful guinea pigs.
Note: Parents, please don't buy your child a guinea pig just because they are so cute in this film. Animal activists are worried about this. You know, the-bunny-and-chicks-at-Easter syndrome.)
You might also rethink your kitchen appliances! If you ask why, you might lose a finger...or a hand...or worse!
on September 28, 2009
I thought this was a really good and very funny movie! I thought the guinea pigs were cute. This movie is filled to the brim with action, suspense, and comedy! A team of super intelligent guinea pigs named Darwin, Juarez, Blaster, and Speckles infiltrate the residence of Leonard Saber, who has been under FBI investigation for years. Saber has a sinister scheme that is set to occur in 29 hours. When the G-Force are shut down by the FBI, they must band together to stop Saber by any means necessary. When the evil plot happens, the gang must stop an unlikely villain who has betrayed them. Will G-Force save the world? I highly recommend G-FORCE!!!
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 "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!
Ben (Zach Galifianakis) has spent his life working with rodents. And it's paid off. This FBI scientist has figure out a way to communicate with them and train them to go on covert missions. But his funding is about to be taken away. As a last second hail Mary, he sends out his crack team, consisting of a fly, three guinea pigs, and a mole, to infiltrate a house and get a file off a computer.
The mission is a big success, or so it appears. The next day, at the review, things go horribly wrong and the project is shut down. The rodents manage to escape to a pet store, but the FBI wants them to keep the entire project completely secret. Can the rodents escape and foil the plot they've uncovered? Or will the FBI track them down first?
I talked into seeing this movie by my roommate. The previews just never convinced me it would be great. And I was right.
Now don't get me wrong. There were some genuine laughs in the film. The mice we meet in the pet store stole the show, for example. I couldn't stop laughing at them. The effects were very well done, too. But the majority of the movie wasn't that great.
The plot was full of cliches from start to finish. That's not necessarily a deal killer for me, but the rest of the movie has to be good enough to make up for it, and it wasn't.
One of the big problems was that the movie just didn't feel like it was going anywhere. There were lots of jokes and pop cultural references, and I felt like they were designed to hide the fact that the plot was weak from us. Even the characters were flat and dull. And I really feel sorry for the humans in the movie who were little more than cardboard characters. Even the dialogue the characters had was so trite it was cringe worthy.
If you can see this movie for free, you'll find a few good laughs. But it isn't worth paying any money for.