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Not the worst movie of the year and not the worst movie ever by Jerry Bruckheimer or Disney, G-Force is still pretty bad.
Was it even possible that the Jerry Bruckheimer-produced G-Force was going to be anything but lousy? A 3-D kiddie action movie about a team of CGI guinea pigs saving the world has “crapola” written all over it. Fortunately (or unfortunately), Disney does not disappoint with this big-budget bore-fest. It’s exactly what we thought it was.
In a tip-off for the creative level of the entire movie, G-Force begins with Ben (Zach Galifianakis) in a dimly lit room talking earnestly about a secret mission with an unseen agent. Since the movie is about secret agent guinea pigs, any guesses about who he is talking to? That’s right! CGI guinea pig Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell) crawls up on the table to the surprise and amusement of no one. The rest of the humor and tension in this flick is pretty much on that same level. You don’t just see them coming a mile away, you were thinking about them before you even started watching the movie.
The plot, created by a five year old (seriously, more on that later) and put into script from by The Wibberleys (National Treasure, The Shaggy Dog), follows the team of animals (voiced by Rockwell, Tracy Morgan, Penelope Cruz, Nicolas Cage, Steve Buscemi, and Jon Favreau) as they try to stop home electronics big-wig Bill Nighy from either trying to sell more coffee or take over the world, it’s never entirely clear. The FBI, represented by Will Arnett -- which is both a waste and kinda dumb -- doesn’t want to have talking animals that do kung fu, since why would that be considered a huge breakthrough? They want to terminate the program (the animals TALK, did everyone miss that), so G-Force has to operate on their own to bring down Nighy.
The theatrical release was hyped as a 3-D event, and you can see director Hoyt Yeatman tried to have things fly directly out into the audience in every other scene. However, the Blu-ray presentation is not 3-D, so the effects lose whatever impact they might have had. Instead, they make it seem like the scene was created to work around the “coming right at you” shot instead of the shot moving the scene where it needed to go. In other words, they are even more superfluous than they probably were in the theater.
While the CGI animals don’t look too bad, in the sense they aren’t distracting, the dialogue by the Wibberleys is beyond annoying. Every hip phrase or lame cultural reference makes you groan. Having a character say “pimp my ride” or “can you hear me now” is just lazy writing. The voice work of Rockwell and Morgan is fine, and Buscemi is Buscemi, just in hamster form, but the almost unintelligible Cruz is a disaster and Cage does a silly voice that makes you wonder why he used at all.
This is one of those crappy films that you know Jerry Bruckheimer is capable of unleashing on the world, but you hope he’ll avoid doing. He’s got enough money, right? Why not make something with some artistic credibility or at least something that doesn’t require you be four years old or in a coma to avoid feeling insulted. This is one to avoid.
It’s always tough to redeem a poor movie with a fantastic Blu-ray presentation, and G-Force is no exception. It’s fine in most respects, but doesn’t wow you, and that would be required to get the bad taste of the movie out of your mouth. You do get three discs in the Blu-ray package that includes the Blu-ray and a DVD copy of the film, along with a digital copy.
The most impressive extra (a Blu-ray exclusive) is called “Cine-Explore with Darwin, Blaster, and their Creator.” This is an audio commentary by director Hoyt Yeatman that includes picture-in-picture shots that show the scenes in development or from different angles. The commentary can be supplemented by two- to four-minute video extras about the effects or voice work. If you choose this option, the film stops and goes to the video extra, and then picks back up when the video is over. The extras show up every six to 10 minutes and go more in depth about a particular aspect of the scene. You can also do the commentary with picture-in-picture information without the extra videos. However, you can’t access the videos from the main menu, only if you are watching the film itself, which is odd.
Yeatman’s commentary can be informative, as he tries to explain how shots were done and the like, but he regularly spends too much time explaining obvious things. He is also saddled with the occasional presence of the characters Darwin and Blaster, with all three participants reading off a lame script that makes the movie seem like Shakespeare. Why they didn’t let Tracy Morgan improvise and possibly bring some life and humor to this project is puzzling.
The rest of the Blu-ray extras are less impressive. One is an attempt to sell more of producer Bruckheimer’s DVDs called “Bruckheimer Animated.” It shows some of the visual effects shots from other Bruckheimer films. Keeping with the animation theme, director Yeatman gives a tour of the Sony animation studio where the CGI work was done. This is one of those “let’s see the whole animation process on a single scene” things, and those are always mildly interesting.
The rest of the extras are also available on DVD. They include “Blasters Boot Camp,” which is really just a trailer for the movie disguised as a training film; the standard blooper reel; and some deleted scenes. Unlike many animated films, these deleted scenes are fully animated and, other than keeping the running time down to less than an hour and a half, it’s not clear why they were dropped. There are also three music videos, including a horrible song called “Go G-Force,” which is just as bad as it sounds.
The final extra, called “G-Force Mastermind” reveals that the whole story for G-Force can from Yeatman’s at-the-time five-year-old son. The boy, now 11, talks about how he came up with the idea of his class guinea pig going on secret missions. The fact that this whole thing came from the mind of a five year old makes perfect sense.
I do think the whole “Cine-Explore,” or whatever you want to call picture-in-picture commentary, is pretty cool and does add something to the Blu-ray release of this weak movie. However, with a movie this bad, the extras can only do so much.
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