- Rated PG
- Buy the BD
All photos © Walt Disney
Reviewed by Jason Zingale
irst it was penguins, then Chihuahuas, and now… guinea pigs? It’s hard to believe that Hollywood has already run out of A-list animals to use in their films, but what other reason could there be for basing an entire movie around the goldfish of the rodent world? Some people might find these bargain bin furballs cute, but whoever conceived the idea of making a movie about a specially trained unit of guinea pigs has clearly never owned one themselves. Guinea pigs are cheap for a reason: they die, quite easily, and I highly doubt any could survive the training it would take to become a super spy. Then again, you'd be wise not to look too far into a movie like "G-Force," because it's obviously been made with kids in mind. That's not to say that adults won't enjoy it, but you'd be hard pressed to find one that does.
Part of a small research project headed up by Dr. Ben Kendall (Zack Galifianakis, who sort of looks like a guinea pig himself with that mountain of facial hair), the G-Force – comprised of team leader Darwin (Sam Rockwell), weapons specialist Blaster (Tracy Morgan), martial arts expert Juarez (Penelope Cruz), and cyber intelligence mole Speckles (Nicolas Cage) – is a team of highly trained secret agents that just so happen to be rodents. When the G-Force botches a mission to steal top secret information from corporate billionaire Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy), the FBI shuts down the operation and the squad just barely escapes, only to wind up trapped in a pet shop. With mere hours before Saber’s endgame is revealed, the G-Force must break out and save the world.
That may sound like an awfully big job for a couple of guinea pigs, but despite the impractical setup, “G-Force” actually has a pretty decent story – especially when compared to something as lame as kidnapping a dog because its collar is made of diamonds. (That's right, "Beverly Hills Chihuahua," I'm looking at you). At least here there’s a genuine feeling that something bad might happen if the heroes don’t succeed. What the movie fails to do, however, is make that threat engaging. “G-Force” is supposed to be about dime-store rodents who are trained to work as secret agents for the government, but instead of showing off their skills, director Hoyt Yeatman rushes through the first act and into the pet store so that they can interact with other animals.
It’s a bit of a mixed blessing, because it allows for the introduction of Hurley (Jon Favreau), an attention-starved guinea pig who turns out to be the most entertaining character in the film. You see, each G-Force member is given a unique personality, but only just enough to ensure that kids will be able differentiate between them in the toy store. The rest of the performance is left up to the actor voicing the character, and with the exception of Favreau, only Tracy Morgan seems up to the task. Both Sam Rockwell and Penelope Cruz sound like they’re just reading lines off a script, while a virtually unrecognizable Nicolas Cage is having way too much fun as the outcast of the group.
The guinea pigs themselves look really good, but that’s not surprising considering that Yeatman once plied his trade as a visual effects guru on such classic sci-fi films as “Blade Runner,” “Gremlins” and “The Fly.” It doesn’t change the fact that the movie is an incredible bore, but that won't matter to the film’s target audience, because the minute that “G-Force” ends, kids everywhere will be making a beeline for the nearest pet store. I shudder to think at just how many rodents will be tortured in the process, but it can’t be any worse than the number of parents forced to sit through this 90-minute commercial.
Three-Disc Blu-Ray Review:
With such pointless special features like “Blaster’s Boot Camp,” “Bruckheimer Animated” and “G-Force Mastermind,” the Blu-ray release of "G-Force" could have been a real disaster. Thankfully, they’ve also included a Cine-Explore feature that combines an audio commentary with director Hoyt Yeatman with picture-in-picture video and mini-featurettes that explore things like concept art, production design, voice talent and 3D. Rounding out the set is a cool little tour of Imageworks where the animation and visual effects were done, as well as a handful of deleted scenes and a short blooper reel.