Films with computer-generated talking animals aren’t those that tend to enthuse us with the idea of a night out at the movies. Certainly, there are exceptions, but when it comes to mixing a CG animal with humans in a family movie, we can’t cleanse Scooby Doo from our minds.
For two thirds of it, though, G-Force is a nice surprise. If you can overlook the fact that Bill Nighy barely turns up as the villain of the piece (getting so little screen time it practically makes his character redundant), this story of guinea pig special agents has one thing that helps lift it above the mire: its script. Screenwriters Cormac and Marianne Wibberley wisely put the clichés and words of action movies of yesteryear into the mouths of the assorted rodents – including the legendary Yippee-ki-ay – and often you find yourself chuckling at it when you least expect it. The voice talent is strong too, with Steve Buscemi inevitably our favourite.
The film based around the wise-cracking guinea pigs has one or two nice sequences (the pet store, for instance), and moves quickly enough so you don’t have to focus on just how slight the narrative itself is. But it’s genial and entertaining, right up until the final act begins.
That’s where G-Force throws much of the good work away. For in time for the finale, all the little touches and in-jokes are put away so the guys with the computers can come in and put together some functional but hardly exciting action work. As such, it’s a pretty flat last 20 minutes or so, as the film simply goes through the motions on the way to its very sudden stop (the credits slam in pretty much out of nowhere). A pity, as the hour beforehand is pleasantly entertaining, and while it’s clearly very precisely packaged, the film itself is really quite good.
The Blu-ray presentation is super, as you’d hoped. We loved just how active the surround track was here, frequently zipping around the room with an enthusiasm and venom. The picture, too, is everything you’d hope from an expensive blockbuster movie released just the summer past. There are no grumbles on either count.
The extras flatter to deceive a little. There’s a commentary track that’s perhaps your best bet, as director Hoyt H Yeatman Jr chatters through the film, and you can also choose to have facts about the movie pop up as you watch it. Then there’s just a series of short featurettes, bloopers and behind the scenes material, none of which run to anywhere near ten minutes. The look inside the animation lab could really have used further fleshing out, for instance.
You do get the now almost obligatory digital copy, and a DVD version for the anklebiters to scratch, so it’s a solid set for your cash. But neither the film nor the Blu-ray quite lives up to the potential that it shows many flashes of.
The Film:The Disc:
G-Force is out now on Blu-ray and available from the Den Of Geek Store.