Walt Disney Studios
Now Showing at: most major theaters.
Review by: Larry Thomas
OK…we’ve all seen this plot before: an elite squad of genetically altered super secret commandoes is sent in to recover information no one else can obtain in order to stop a greedy corporate magnate from attaining world domination. James Bond? Jason Bourne? Not this time. How about talking guinea pigs and a mole that’s a computer genius.
These furry li’l folks are the nucleus of G-Force, the latest 3-D animated film from Disney, and the first to be produced by movie and television mogul Jerry Bruckheimer. Although the humans in this far-fetched tale play second fiddle to the animated stars, the mostly unknown cast is ok. Most recognizable are British character actor Bill Nighy as the corporate evil-doer, Zach Galifiakis, recently in The Hangover, as the scientist who creates the band of uber-critters and singer-songwriter Loudon Wainright III in a very brief appearance as a grandpa. But in a film like this, very few viewers are there to watch the humans.
Sam Rockwell, a terrific actor who doesn’t get as much screen time as he deserves, voices the leader of the guinea pig patrol. He does a good job as the stalwart Darwin. Juarez, the hot-cha-cha Latina member, gets her voice from Oscar-winner Penelope Cruz. Iron Man director Jon Favreau plays, Hurley, a tag-along from a pet store. And Specs, the mole, is given life by another Oscar-winner, Nicolas Cage. Saturday Night Live’s Tracy Morgan and favorite character actor Steve Buscemi also lend their talents.
There are three things you need to know when buying a ticket for G-Force. First: yes, the 3-D effects good. I don’t know if it’s because the film is mixed animation and live-action, or if the filmmakers are just getting better at it, but the depth and use of the format is far better than in Disney’s all-animated films like Bolt and Meet the Robinsons. Second: the kids will sit through it. I attended a matinee with plenty of kids in seats. When the film started, there wasn’t a peep out of any of them, and audience applause was heard at the end. That’s very good. And third, adults will be entertained. I was leery of both the film and the premise, but found myself rather pleased with it. Oh, sure…it won’t make you smarter, like listening to Mozart, but for some light summertime fun, there’s enough action, puns, and movie in-jokes to keep us older folks amused as well. And, without giving anything away, there are a couple of unexpected plot twists that give it some added depth… no pun intended.
The only down side to the experience of seeing G-Force was the ticket price. I know the producers have added expenses in making 3-D films, and theatre owners have to pay for costly new equipment with which to show them. But it can be a bit irksome to purchase one matinee ticket with accompanying 3-D glasses and be told the tab is $11.75. Ouch. If you’re taking a whole family, that can get seriously pricey. Hopefully, the process will become more affordable as more films are shot in 3-D and more theatres become equipped to show them. Unlike the first 3-D craze in 1953, when the process was dead in the water after a year because of mostly ho-hum films that just threw things at the camera, this foray into depth photography seems to be doing better, cinematically speaking. It should be interesting once the 3-D effects are applied to more live action, and more adult themed films.
For now, the PG-rated G-Force will do just fine. It’s currently showing at a plex near you. Several locations have it in 3-D; others do not. Be sure to go where you can enjoy the 3-D version.