Fast and Furriest
by Betty Jo Tucker
Because of those cute previews for G-Force, I could hardly wait to see this latest Walt Disney movie. If I loved Alvin and the Chipmunks, the quirky hamster in Bolt, and those darling Air Bud puppies, surely I would also be charmed by an elite force of guinea pigs out to save the world. Sorry, folks, that didn’t happen. The CGI animals lack visual appeal, the frenzied action goes on too long, and the human actors seem bored by their own characters.
Who are the G-Force members? Assisted by Speckles (voiced by Nicolas Cage), a mole with extraordinary computer skills, this ace rodent spy team includes Darwin (voiced by Sam Rockwell), Blaster (voiced by Tracy Morgan) and Juarez (voiced by Penelope Cruz). Although each guinea pig is supposed to display a unique personality, it’s not always easy to tell them apart — and I had trouble understanding the dialogue spoken by Blaster and Juarez at times. Darwin, self-confident and commanding, leads the gung-ho group, Blaster provides comic relief, and Juarez is the stereotypical sexy spitfire. They all have access to cool spy gizmos and gadgets ala James Bond.
Zach Galifinakis (looking too easygoing for this assignment) plays Ben, the researcher who has developed a way to converse with these critters and also serves as their human wrangler. Their mission? To thwart the plans of Saber, an ambitious billionaire (Bill Nighy) who’s involved in placing dangerous microchips in electrical appliances everywhere.
After an officious FBI agent (Will Arnett) informs Ben he’s closing down the G-Force activities, our heroes decide to prove their worth by stopping Saber any way they can. In the process, they reluctantly recruit a wacky hamster (voiced by Steve Buscemi) and Hurley (voiced by Jon Favreau), a lonely guinea pig with unmet emotional needs.
Jerry Bruckheimer (Pirates of the Caribbean) produced this movie, so it’s no surprise that fast-paced chases, loud explosions and furious action sequences fill the screen. Unfortunately, these elements overwhelm everything else and detract from the film’s value as a family entertainment offering. Most youngsters at the screening I attended were not amused — not even by the usually giggle-evoking flatulence scenes. However, I saw the 2D G-Force. Perhaps children watching it in 3D became more excited about the guinea pigs and their spy game. But for me, it would take a lot more than objects flying in my face to improve the G-Force viewing experience.
(Released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures and rated “PG” for some mild action and rude humor.)
Betty Jo Tucker is a member of the Online Film Critics Society (OFCS) and the San Diego Film Critics Society (SDFCS). She teaches an online class, вЂњThe Reel Deal: Writing about MoviesвЂќ for the LSS School of Writing and has published three movie-related books including CONFESSIONS OF A MOVIE ADDICT, an amusing memoir about her life at the movies. Betty Jo serves as the editor/lead film critic for ReelTalk Movie Reviews and hosts a weekly radio show, вЂњMovie Addict Headquarters,вЂќ for BlogTalkRadio. She also writes monthly film commentary for the Colorado Senior Beacon. For more information, please go to www.BettyJoTucker.com