(2009) ** Pg
88 min. Buena Vista Pictures Distribution. Director: Hoyt Yeatman. Cast: Bill Nighy, Will Arnett, Zach Galifianakis, Kelli Garner, Tyler Patrick Jones.

/content/films/3661/1.jpgSpoiler alert! The following phrases are uttered by guinea pigs in Disney's kiddie adventure G-Force: "That was off the hizz-ook!" "Smell you later!" "That's what's up! Pimp my ride!" "Don't try this at home, kids!" "Let's get this party started right!" "Leave no rodent behind," "Mess with the bull, you get the horns!" "I feel the need--the need for speed!" "Yippee-ki-yay, coffeemaker!" "This is my little friend. Say hello," "The horror, the horror" and "I love the smell of napalm in the morning!" If you're still reading (and love clichés and musty pop culture references), G-Force may be the movie for you.

G-Force tells the age-old tale of rodents who perform impossible missions for the U.S. government. Gathered and led by the visionary Dr. Ben Kendall (Zach Galifianakis), the team consists of earnest top commando Darwin (Sam Rockwell), techhead mole Speckles (Nicolas Cage), sexy operator Juarez (Penelope Cruz), the wisecracking Blaster (Tracy Morgan), and a fly named Mooch. These are a hip bunch, let me tell you. When they're not risking their lives with exciting spy maneuvers, Blaster works out to Lady Gaga and Juarez updates her Facebook page. Okay, so maybe G-Force is just a tad self-consciously "hip." Did I mention "little is the new big"?

Anywho, our heroes get into more trouble than usual after a mission at the estate of industrialist Leonard Saber (Bill Nighy) results in bad intel. Though Ben and his gal friday Marcie (Kelli Garner) attempt to protect their furry charges, nasty FBI suit Killian (Will Arnett) immediately shuts down the program, causing the team to flee for their freedom. They wind up in a pet store cage, where they meet crazed hamster-ferret mutt Bucky (Steve Buscemi) and gregarious guinea pig Hurley (Jon Favreau), who wants to join in on the team's action. Can the team escape, put a stop to Saber's plan for world domination, and restore their standing in the intelligence community? Is the Pope Catholic?

Let's not kid ourselves: wee ones will enjoy the showiness and lightness of G-Force, which employs 3-D and integrates live-action with CGI animation. It's the sort of movie that knows to put its money not towards the script so much as to the effects and the casting. The action scenes are dynamic for a movie aimed at children (especially the car chase involving the hamster-ball-styled Rapid Deployment Vehicle), and Disney bought up an impressive lineup of actors with comic chops to voice the heroes or to stare at the spots where the animated characters would be inserted (Niecy Nash and Loudon Wainwright also briefly appear). G-Force may sound like just another late-night Cinemax movie, but it's actually just another disposable kiddie blockbuster.

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Aspect ratios: 2.39:1

Number of discs: 3

Audio: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1

Street date: 11/8/2011

Distributor: Buena Vista Home Entertainment

Disney delivers another deluxe combo-pack release for the home-video debut of G-Force, now in a Blu-ray 3D + Blu-ray + DVD edition. The Blu-ray 3D transfer stands head and shoulders over its already solid 2D edition, with plenty of nifty depth(-defying?) effects. Those hamster balls look especially cool through planes of depth, and the action frequently sends the heroes hurtling toward the couch (meanwhile, crosstalk proves not to be a major concern). The 2D Blu-ray features a crisp, bright, and colorful transfer that accurately represents what appeared on cinema screens. Though the image is more digital than film-like, it's true to the filmmaker's intent, with deep blacks and sharp detail making for a satisfying hi-def experience. The pumpin' DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix renders the soundtrack in definitive, lossless fashion, with clear dialogue, nice directional effects, and full-bodied music cues.

Best of set in terms of the extras is Cine-Explore with Darwin, Blaster & Their Creator (Director Hoyt Yeatman), a PiP commentary that branches out to video pods. Just about everything you want to know about G-Force and more can be found here in a kid-friendly interface. Call it a "film-school daycare."

"Blaster's Boot Camp" (4:41, HD) is a brief orientation video from everyone's favorite guinea pig.

In "G-Force Mastermind" (4:12, HD), producer Jerry Bruckheimer, Yeatman and Hoyt Yeatman IV explain how a child was the impetus for this big-budget movie.

"Bruckheimer Animated" (3:12, HD) finds Yeatman and Bruckheimer discussing the film from the angle of a new phase in the producer's career.

In "Access Granted: Inside the Animation Lab" (7:52, HD), Yeatman gives us a tour of Sony Pictures Imageworks; the staff and Bruckheimer also share their thoughts.

Also on hand are "G-Farce: Bloopers" (1:49, HD), six "Deleted Scenes" (6:17, HD), and three "Music Videos" (8:24, HD). And of course, there's a DVD copy and a Digital Copy for ultimate flexibility of playback.

Review gear:
Panasonic Viera TC-P55VT30 55" Plasma 1080p 3D HDTV
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-ray Disc Player
Denon AVR2112CI Integrated Network A/V Surround Receiver
Pioneer SP-BS41-LR Bookshelf Speaker (2)
Pioneer SP-C21 Center Speaker
Pioneer SW-8 Subwoofer

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