G-Force 3D Blu-ray delivers great video and audio in this fan-pleasing Blu-ray release
Armed with the latest high-tech spy equipment, a covert team of highly trained guinea pigs
discover that the fate of the world is in their paws. Tapped for the G-Force are guinea pigs
Darwin, the squad leader determined to succeed at all costs; Blaster, an outrageous weapons
expert with tons of attitude and a love for all things extreme; and Juarez, a sexy martial arts
pro; plus the literal fly-on-the-wall reconnaissance expert Mooch, and a star-nosed mole
Speckles, the computer and information specialist.
For more about G-Force 3D and the G-Force 3D Blu-ray release, see G-Force 3D Blu-ray Review published by Kenneth Brown on November 2, 2011 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
If you only have enough time to watch one talking-superspy-guinea-pig family flick all winter, make it G-Force, a decidedly harmless, wafer-thin Disney action-adventurer that crams a ragtag band of rascally CG rodents through the proverbial government-espionage wringer. What it lacks in sharply penned humor, it offers in increasingly cheap fall-n-fart gags sure to please the youngest members of your household. Wherever its story crumbles, it distracts with lame one-liners, ludicrous car chases and abundant explosions (ahem... I believe the proper term in this case is 'splosions). When it desperately needs soul, it calls upon fireworks, lumbering robots, and schmaltzy subplots involving the same go-to kiddie lessons Disney has handed children for decades. You're special no matter what anyone says. Your real family is whichever group of people loves you the most. Your true value lies within. You can achieve whatever your heart desires. All well and good, mind you, but terribly familiar to anyone who grew up watching, I don't know, movies. Make no mistake, adults will be chomping at the bit to toss in something more substantial, but anyone under ten will be climbing the walls and cheering for Force's six-inch heroes.
Meet Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell), Blaster (Tracy Morgan) and Juarez (Penélope Cruz), a trio of genetically engineered, gadget savvy guinea pigs that have been subjected to extensive espionage and counter-terrorism training by their proud gene-splicing papa, Ben (Zach Galifianakis). With the help of computer expert and star-nosed mole Speckles (Nicholas Cage), six-legged surveillance fly Mooch (Dee Bradley Baker), specialized cockroaches, and advanced universal translators that allow them to communicate with humans, the three agents stumble upon a secret global extermination plot involving a successful electronics tycoon (Bill Nighy) and thousands of deadly home appliances. But when an attempt to convince Ben's FBI handler, Kip Killian (Will Arnett), of the mammalian team's value goes horribly awry, G-Force is disbanded and the furry agents are forced to escape their facility... only to find themselves trapped in a local pet store. There they encounter Hurley (Jon Favreau) and Bucky (Steve Buscemi), two cage-rattled lifers who aren't blessed with Darwin and his cohorts' innate talents. Desperate to return to action and prove their worth, the G-Force super-spies race (literally) to overcome insurmountable odds, reunite with old friends and -- what else? -- save the world.
In case you haven't figured it out by now, parents aren't going to get much out of G-Force. Oh, there's the inherent joy of seeing your bubbly offspring gaze at the screen as if it were about to impart the secrets of the universe, but it isn't the sort of meaningful, meaty cinema that will rope in anyone outside of its pint-sized target audience. Almost every joke has been told before, every moment of dramatic tension culled from another flick, every slapstick pratfall telegraphed, every heartstring pluck orchestrated by the genre gods themselves. Come to think of it, the only area in which G-Force readily excels is its action sequences, and that's only because director Hoyt Yateman transforms nearly every set piece into an epic, madcap spectacle brimming with squealing wheels and high-flying rodents. Otherwise, the script is fairly uninspired (enough so that I was often struck by Bolt déjà vu) and the characters, though sharp-tongued and light-footed, suffer from bland voice acting and slightly cartoonish CG. I know, I know... kids aren't going to care or complain in the least, but that doesn't mean G-Force should automatically earn a free pass. I adored Mac and Me when I was a kid. That doesn't make it a good film.
Ah well, consider yourself warned. If you're looking for a healthy dose of good-natured, well-intentioned entertainment to appease your kids' burgeoning action appetites, G-Force fits the bill and, to an extent, hits the spot. Just don't expect much depth. (At least of the narrative variety; the 3D presentation is another matter entirely. More on that in a moment.) Once the fires are doused, the 'splosions subside, the SUVs finish flipping, and the walking toasters have all returned to their mundane existences atop kitchen counters around the world, virtually nothing will resonate in your children's impressionable little minds. Rent it for the laughs, what few there are, but don't be surprised if you find yourself glancing at your watch every five minutes wondering when, oh when, the credits will finally roll.
G-Force 3D rolls onto Blu-ray with a 1080p/MVC-encoded presentation that, for the most part, looks every bit as good as it should. Depth and dimensionality are somewhat uneven -- darker scenes, of which there are many, don't pop as readily as sun-drenched streets, bright pet stores, and neon-lit spy bases -- but only inherently so. And ghosting, while apparent to some degree in several shots, isn't a product of the source or technical transfer and will vary from display to display. The little CG critters, though, have a penchant for leaping off the screen with ankle-high ferocity, especially when framed by flipping cars, explosions and other spy-vs-spy fallout. Although the resulting 3D pop isn't exactly consistent, there are quite a few standout moments that add another dimension of fun to action scenes. Infiltration missions offer even more reach-out-and-touch-em shots, if only because Darwin and his fellow agents dangle in midair, slink toward the screen, sneak into the foreground, and jump, roll and scurry into the fray. Fur looks a bit matted on occasion, but the same flatness haunts the 2D presentation as well; ringing is visible, but never intrusive; and some exceedingly minor aliasing creeps in from time to time, but barely registers.
Ultimately, though, there really isn't much to complain about. G-Force's presentation is sharp, snazzy and rarely, if ever, deviates from director Hoyt Yeatman and DP Bojan Bazelli's intentions. The overcooked contrast leveling and oversaturated skintones in play should be attributed to the film itself, nothing more. With blazing hues and searing primaries, Yeatman and Bazelli's paint-by-numbers kiddie-palette is brimming with every color in the rainbow. Blacks are inky and ominous too, shadows are heavy and satisfying, and delineation is rewarding (all things considered). Yes, the experience is hindered here and there by a high-gloss, hyper-processed sheen, but detail is the beneficiary with crisp textures, razorwire edges, refined foreground objects and absorbing backgrounds. Better still, artifacts and compression anomalies are nowhere to be found, source noise is kept to an absolute minimum, and banding is rarely, if ever, a distraction. G-Force 3D isn't "the best 3D you can get at home" -- as the back cover touts -- but it is the best G-Force you can get at home. Take that as you will.
Having seen the film's theatrical trailer countless times with my son, I expected G-Force's 24-bit DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround track to be the sonic equivalent of a kick in the baby-teeth. To my relief, and I'm sure to others' chagrin, it's a more docile, family-friendly beast, offering hearty but judicious LFE output, active but measured rear speaker activity, and precise but oft-times retrained directional effects. Don't misunderstand: the entire lossless experience sounds quite good -- great even -- and I doubt anyone other than the most discerning listeners and middle-aged audiophiles will find much to complain about aside from a few normalization inconsistencies. Dialogue is intelligible and well-prioritized, the film's action scenes are engaging and immersive (especially a mission involving dozens of cockroaches scrambling about the entire soundfield), and its beat-heavy soundtrack has definite oomph. As a track designed for children, it all works wonderfully even if, as a full-bodied action mix, it comes up a tad short (my son never covered his ears as he sometimes does when watching select scenes from Transformers or G.I. Joe). And knowing the film's target audience are three to four feet tall, I can't help but think Disney's lossless track sounds exactly like it's meant to. The mix may not send parents diving for their volume controls, but young guinea pig enthusiasts will be thrilled with the results.
Cine-Explore Mode: Director Hoyt Yeatman helms an extensive Picture-in-Picture experience loaded with pre-effects video footage, behind-the-scenes featurettes, scene breakdowns, early animatics, and various CG dissections. Sadly, while Darwin and Blaster (yep, two of the film's guinea pigs) stop by to talk about their roles in the film, their presence is cheesy, forced, and frequently disruptive. However, the real weakness of the track lies in Yateman's exuberant praise of everything that graces the screen. Frankly, he's so complimentary that his hyperbole grows very old, very fast. My only other complaint is that the track's numerous behind-the-scenes featurettes (which extend the length of the Cine-Explore Mode well beyond the movie's official runtime) aren't accessible from the main menu. It would have been nice to view the videos on their own without having to wait for each one to pop up over the course of the Cine-Explore experience.
Inside the Animation Lab (HD, 8 minutes): Yeatman and Bruckheimer tout the film's special effects, give a tour of Imageworks' animation department, and chat about the work that went into developing and rendering the film's animals and more elaborate machines.
Deleted Scenes (HD, 6 minutes): Six rather aimless deleted/alternate/extended scenes that, despite being presented in high definition, are hindered by poor video quality.
Blaster's Boot Camp (HD, 5 minutes): Blaster discusses the attributes one needs to possess to become a member of G-Force, and provides an overview of the gadgets cleared agents have access to for various missions.
G-Force Mastermind (HD, 4 minutes): Meet Hoyt Yateman IV, son of director Hoyt Yeatman and the original creator of the film's concept and characters. Suffice to say, the fact that a five-year-old came up with G-Force explains a lot.
Bruckheimer Animated (HD, 3 minutes): A flashy, throwaway EPK of sorts hosted by Yeatman the Elder that briefly examines Bruckheimer's use of CG over the years.
G-Farce (HD, 2 minutes): A decent collection of outtakes made all the more amusing by the fact that the animals are nowhere to be found, meaning the actors crack up in the face of empty space and performing with each other in the recording booth.
Music Videos (HD, 8 minutes): Three painful music videos include Flo Rida's "Jump," Steve Rushton's "Ready to Rock," and the guinea pigs' "Go G-Force" song.
G-Force 3D may not be as stunning as other recent Disney 3D releases -- Beauty and the Beast 3D, The Lion King 3D and Toy Story 3 3D spring to mind -- but its 3D presentation and lossless DTS-HD Master Audio track don't disappoint. No, the addition of 3D doesn't make G-Force a better film, and no, it isn't going to boost its standing with cine-savvy parents. But if you absolutely, positively must have every 3D movie on the market or absolutely, positively adore Yeatman's talking guinea-pig spy thriller, this 3-disc 3D release is for you. Just be sure to add Bolt 3D, Chicken Little 3D and, above all, Meet the Robinsons 3D to your collection first.
Disney has announced that they are giving four titles the Blu-ray 3D treatment on November 8th. These include the CG animated features Bolt (2008), Chicken Little, G-FORCE and Meet the Robinsons. Each release will come as a 3-disc combo pack with Blu-ray 3D, Blu-ray ...