Blu-ray Review HTF BLU-RAY REVIEW: G-Force

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Matt Hough, Dec 7, 2009.

  1. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    G-Force (Blu-ray)

    Directed by Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr.

    Studio: Disney
    Year: 2009
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 1080p AVC codec
    Running Time: 88 minutes
    Rating: PG
    Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 English; Dolby Digital 5.1 French, Spanish, others
    Subtitles: SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese

    Region: A
    MSRP: $ 44.99


    Release Date: December 15, 2009

    Review Date: December 7, 2009


    The Film
    3/5

    A noisy action-filled adventure comedy for the Ritalin generation, G-Force combines live action humans and computer generated animals with varying degrees of success. More seriously, though, the comedy takes an always juvenile turn in this tale of frisky guinea pigs doing undercover ops for the FBI. The younger members of the clan are likely to go “hog” wild over the silly antics as these miniature James Bonds go through their paces. Older members of the family might not find the film as tiresome as Disney’s made-for-home video Buddies comedies, but the non-stop action and endless pop culture references and low stabs at humor prevent the film from being this generation’s answer to Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

    Scientists Ben (Zach Galifianakis) and Marcie (Kelli Garner) have invented technology that allows guinea pigs Darwin (Sam Rockwell), Juarez (Penelope Cruz), and Blaster (Tracy Morgan) along with mole Speckles (Nicolas Cage) to communicate with humans and to be trained to become an elite special ops team called G-Force. FBI lead agent Kip Killian (Will Arnett) finds the idea of relying on rodents for undercover work ludicrous and moves to put a stop to the team, and though they manage to elude him, they get thrown into a local pet store along with flatulent Hurley (Jon Favreau) and the loner Bucky (Steve Buscemi). They need to mastermind their escape, however, since evil appliance mogul Saber (Bill Nighy) seems to have a diabolical plan in the works for his machines to gain control of the country in a mysterious mission called “Clusterstorm.”

    From the moment Hurley makes his entrance with a gigantic fart (one of several during the film), the viewer knows he’s not going to have Noel Coward-like levels of sophisticated comedy. The animals are filled with pop culture references for everything from The Terminator to Die Hard, and the plot spins rather uncontrollably (a spotty script by the Wibberleys) from the pet shop antics to the team coping with a brother and sister who have bought them in order to play dress up with them or use them as crash car dummies, the latter leaving a decidedly sour taste in one’s mouth despite the derring-do the team uses to escape from these fates worse than death. Oscar-winning special effects director Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr. has hold of the directorial reins here, and he does keep the action sequences moving right along including two big set pieces near the climax, one on top of the other where a rescue ending in a massive fireworks display goes right into a revolt of the machines climax that has obvious nods to Transformers. The film’s running time is just right for the slim story it has to tell, and the characters (while not the equal in cuteness to the ones from last year’s Bolt) will surely delight the youngsters in the house.

    Of the live action actors, Zach Galifianakis gives earnestness and purpose to his role as the team’s friend and mentor though Will Arnett isn’t given any opportunities to stretch his comic talents at all, his role a rather bland, humorless executive who finds the team ludicrous. Bill Nighy also has an underdeveloped character as electronics head Saber, at first seeming the evil head of a mad scheme to take over the world only later to be proven to be something of a simpletonish dupe. Though each of the adult voice cast for the rodents make indelible characters, making the team so ethnically diverse seems more an affectation than a decision based on necessity. As is sometimes the case, Penelope Cruz has some trouble in speaking English intelligibly and Tracy Morgan’s broad playing of Blaster seems a bit too broad at times, especially since Sam Rockwell’s sober Darwin roots the film so securely. Jon Favreau comes the closest to creating a breakout character as the irrepressible Hurley, farts and all.


    Video Quality
    4.5/5

    The film’s 2.40:1 theatrical aspect ratio is delivered in a beautiful 1080p transfer using the AVC codec. Colors are bright and bold for the film, and sharpness is generally excellent, often sharp enough to betray the CG creations that share the frame with live actors. Flesh tones for the humans are rendered quite naturally. In fact, the only quibble is with the film’s black levels which seem good but are not representative of the deepest blacks possible. Otherwise, it’s an exemplary transfer. The film has been divided into 20 chapters.


    Audio Quality
    4/5

    The DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 sound mix is a solid achievement, but for a Jerry Bruckheimer production, it seems just the slightest bit aurally subdued. Yes, during the film’s many action scenes, the channels stay busy with rich ambient effects and a nice sense of openness to the Trevor Rabin underscore and pop songs which dot the soundtrack. Still, there were other surround opportunities which might have expanded the soundfield even more. It’s a very good sound mix but not a great one.


    Special Features
    3.5/5

    Cine-Explore contains the director’s commentary with a succession of picture-in-picture illustrations of storyboards, model work, and behind-the-scenes shots illustrating what was going on while the cameras rolled. Often, the movie is paused as the commentary moves to a series of video files which pile on more behind-the-scenes featurettes of the movie as it was being planned and later shot. Tracy Morgan and Sam Rockwell also interrupt the proceedings with their own in-character comments on making the movie.

    “Blaster’s Boot Camp” is a 4 ¾-minute featurette as Tracy Morgan’s Blaster takes the viewer on a visual excursion at the physical training and the varied technology the G-Force had to experience to become the crack team they are today. It’s in 1080i.

    “Bruckheimer Animated” has producer Jerry Bruckheimer describing how special effects have been the driving force behind many of the successful films he’s produced with clips from those films and from G-Force’s mix of special effects and 3-D. This 1080i featurette lasts 3 ¼ minutes.

    “Access Granted: Inside the Animation Lab” finds director Hoyt Yeatman Jr. taking us on a tour through Sony Imageworks, the facility that did the CG work for the movie. We go through the various stages of the production as we travel through many offices in the facility. This lasts 8 minutes in 1080i.

    G-Force Mastermind” introduces us to director Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr.’s son who was the inspiration for the guinea pig characters in the movie. The eleven year old talks about his original idea and also describes his roles in the making of the film. This 1080i featurette runs 4 ¼ minutes.

    “G-Farce: Bloopers” is the 1 ¾-minute gag reel showing the mistakes made by the human actors on set and some gaffes made by the voice actors at the microphone. It’s in 1080i.

    There are six deleted scenes¸ all in 1080p, which can be viewed individually or in one 6 ¼-minute bunch.

    There are three music videos, all in 1080p: “Jump” featuring Flo Rida and Nelly Furtado runs for 4 ¼ minutes. “Ready to Rock” by Steve Rushton lasts for 2 ½ minutes. “Go G-Force” with unnamed singers lasts for 1 ½ minutes.

    The film is D-Box and BD-Live ready. The BD-Live network was not operational during the review period for the film.

    There are 1080p trailers for Tim Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, Ponyo, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, Beauty and the Beast, and Dumbo.

    Disc two in the set is the DVD version of the movie.

    Disc three in the set is the DisneyFile digital copy of the movie with enclosed instructions for installation on PC and Mac devices.


    In Conclusion
    3/5 (not an average)

    Seriously ridiculous and juvenile, G-Force will undoubtedly delight the younger members of the family while not boring their parents silly in the process. The Blu-ray picture and sound are first-rate, and the bonuses explore the making of the film in some welcome detail.


    Matt Hough
    Charlotte, NC
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  2. Adam Gregorich

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    My 4yo twins are already talking about this. The fart jokes will just seal the deal for them
     
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Speaking of 4-year-olds, what's the level of violence/ scariness in this flick? It sounds from the review that there might be some questionable parts for kids that age. My son's interested in this one, but he can be very unpredictable in terms of what movies frighten him.


    On a side note, I didn't realize that there were little Gregoriches the same age as the little Silverman! Perhaps a Beverly Garland play date is in order. . . ;)
     
  4. Matt Hough

    Matt Hough Executive Producer
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    It's not particularly violent or scary, and I think 4-year olds will be fine with its level of action.
     
  5. Adam Gregorich

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    Thanks for the confirmation Matt. Sounds good Aaron!
     
  6. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

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    Thanks, Matt!
     

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