Wednesday, December 30 2009 12:00

G-FORCE (Blu-ray Review)

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Originally posted on STARLOG

Released theatrically in 3-D this past July, Disney's G-FORCE was met with lukewarm critical reviews despite positive audience reaction and a box office take of over $119M (falling short of it's estimated $150M budget). There's not a lot you can say about a film in which CGI Guinea Pigs fight the forces of evil alongside live-action human counterparts to sell it upon an adult audience without realizing that adults aren't the audience. It's a film distinctly aimed at kids.

Released for the home market earlier this month just in-time for the Holiday (or post-Holiday gift card spending) rush, G-FORCE is a showcase of technological skill by the animation team and director Hoyt H. Yeatman Jr., a former FX guy himself that honed his skills on other Live-action/CGI fare such as UNDERDOG and KANGAROO JACK (in addition to some classics like E.T. and STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE) under the watchful eye of noted action producer Jerry Bruckheimer. 

Inspired by an idea by Yeatman's 5-year-old son, the story and plot are unfortunately derivative of a lot of things. The team of Guinea Pigs voiced by Sam Rockwell (Darwin), Penélope Cruz (Juarez), Tracy Morgan (Blaster), and Jon Favreau (Hurley) are up against government goons (headed by ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT's Will Arnett) hellbent on shutting them down in their pursuit of an evil businessman named Leonard Saber (played by cinematic bad-ass Bill Nighy) who intends the 'ol "Global Domination" tactic via a software program installed in every product manufactured by his company. Bringing to mind the "Box" subplot of 1995's BATMAN FOREVER, Saber has infiltrated homes around the world through household appliances, which in one scene borrowed from the end of 2007's TRANSFORMERS come to life - as in a coffee maker transforming into a deadly bean-shooting, blade-spinning, robot.

Aided by other CGI animals voiced by the likes of Steve Buscemi and Nicolas Cage, along with human project leader Ben (Zach Galifianakis), the G-FORCE find themselves in an adventure that leads them to fine set-ups reminiscent of the TOY STORY films that once again act as a showcase for the FX. 

In the end you have a film with some engaging performances and great action, despite the paper-thin plot.

While adults might scoff, kids will find themselves dazzled by the vibrant color pallette, explosive sounds, and fast-paced action.

The Blu-ray combo pack, while priced higher on the MSRP front ($44.99!) can often be found cheaper at retail than it's DVD counterpart (currently $19.99 at Amazon for the Combo/$25.49 for the 2-disc DVD) and once again offers signifigant bang for the buck. I've been a fan of Disney's recent combo packs which offer on-the-go viewing options for the whole family in multiple formats. Sadly, the bonus features are only available on the Blu-ray, with the included DVD containing the feature film only. On the tech side, the hi-def presentation looks and sounds great, while the bonus features include 3 BD-exclusive featurettes alongside music videos, bloopers, and more.

MOVIE: 2 stars for adults; 2.5 stars for kids (out of 4)
BLU-RAY Presentation: 3 stars (out of 4)

James Zahn

James Zahn is best-known as The Rock Father™, a media personality, commentator, adventurer and raconteur. He is the Owner, Publisher, and Editor-in-Chief of THE ROCK FATHER™ Magazine. In January, 2019, after nearly a decade of publishing The Rock Father™ Magazine, he joined Adventure Media and Events as Senior Editor of The Toy Book—the leading trade publication for the toy industry since 1984, as well as The Pop Insider — a destination for all things pop culture, and The Toy Insider — the leading consumer guide for toys and games. He is also editor of The Toy Report, a weekly newsletter published by The Toy Book each Thursday. Zahn has over 27 years of experience in the entertainment, retail and publishing industries.

He regularly serves as a Brand Ambassador and spokesperson for several Globally-recognized pop culture and lifestyle brands in addition to consulting for a number of toy manufacturers. 

Creatively, James has directed/edited music videos, lyric videos, and album trailers for bands such as FEAR FACTORY, has appeared as an actor in feature films and commercials, written comic books, and performed in bands. He currently serves as an artist manager and video director for PRODUCT OF HATE, whose debut album was released by Napalm Records in 2016, distributed by ADA/Warner Music in the U.S. with Universal Music handling global. A new album has been completed and is set for release this year.

Zahn and/or his work have been featured in/on CNN, NBC, ABC, WGN, CBS, GCTN, G4, The Chicago Tribune, Forbes, MarketWatch, Reuters, BusinessWire, Fangoria, Starlog and more. He's appeared as a music expert on CNN's AC360 alongside Anderson Cooper, and has been interviewed by Larry King. In the past he served as a writer for the Netflix Stream Team,  Fandango Family and PBS KIDS, penned articles for Sprout and PopSugar, and was a contributor to Chicago Parent.

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