Dir. Hoyt Yeatman. US. 2009. 88 mins.

G Force

Jerry Bruckheimer makes a play for the under-10s with G-Force – about the only demographic he hasn’t yet completely conquered – in another venture with Walt Disney, which knows this market best.

It’s a scaled-down-for-tots action adventure, framed somewhat gratuitously in 3D from a screenplay generated by the National Treasure team about a SWAT-like force of CG guinea pigs. And a mole. And a few cockroaches. A quick caveat: while kids may squeal in delight, gangs of realistically-rendered 3D cockroaches are not necessarily something parents want to pay to see.

It’s a shame that the heart of the story doesn’t beat strongly enough to match the visual invention onscreen.

After the fresh breeze that lifted Up and Ice Age 3, G-Force feels like a more calculated, cynical effort. An all-star voice cast – led by Nicolas Cage and Sam Rockwell – has been drafted in to portray the remarkably-lifelike pigs, while the film comes replete with the type of knowing humour which supposedly appeals to parents (“don’t drop a pellet” says one guinea pig, while the other marvels at the villain’s “$6,000-suit, $50,000 watch, and….size 36 Hanes tighty-whiteys.”).

G-Force wears its inspiration on its sleeve (Transformers, Babe, Toy Story, box office), but the marketing power of Bruckheimer/Disney can never be discounted and there’s certainly a gap in the market as Ice Age cools off which G-Force could partially fill. Whether it will do better business for pet shops than Disney remains to be seen; a film franchise seems unlikely, but a TV series could be ideal.

Making a feature debut from his own original story, former effects supervisor Hoyt Yeatman has produced animals to marvel at – they really are incredibly realistic – but his grasp on a paced adventure is less assured and interaction between the humans onscreen and the pigs fails to connect in a Stuart Little way. These animals talk a lot, wafting around in great wodges of knowing dialogue, but the plot is slow to come together with any force.

The G-Force itself is a crack, highly-accessorised team of special agent pigs – Darwin, Blaster and Juarez, assisted by Mooch the fly and a mole called Speckles – which has been assembled by sympathetic scientist Ben (The Hangover’s Galifianakis).

Darwin (voiced by Rockwell, bland) is the team’s leader; Blaster is the jive-talking weapons specialist (30 Rock’s Morgan, amusing and distinctive), while Juarez (Cruz) presumably is there for girls and the Latino demographic. Cage turns in a memorable and different voice performance as blind mole Speckles.

The team’s mission is to put a stop to billionaire engineer Saber (Nighy) who has linked all his devices, from coffee makers to fridges, with a chip which he wants to put to nefarious use for world domination. But the FBI, led by Arnett, is intent on shutting G-Force down before they have a chance to prove themselves.

An interlude in a pet shop provides two more characters, Hurley (Favreau) and Bucky the hamster (Buscemi), and, after an off-puttingly fractured and talky start the movie gradually warms up into an action adventure with plenty of fireworks and a monster microwave which looks like it wandered in off the Transformers set.

Mercifully brief, at 88 minutes, G-Force seems to expend all its creativity on the animals; it’s a shame, really, that the heart of the story doesn’t beat strongly enough to match the visual invention onscreen.

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Production companies

Jerry Bruckheimer Films

Walt Disney Pictures

Worldwide distribution

Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures


Jerry Bruckheimer


Marianne and Cormac Webberley, based on a story by Hoyt Yeatman


Bojan Bazelli


Jason Hellmann

Mark Goldblatt

Production designer

Deborah Evans


Trevor Rabin

Visual effects supervisor

Scott Stokdyk

Main cast (voice)

Nicolas Cage

Sam Rockwell

Penelope Cruz

Tracy Morgan

Jon Favreau

Steve Buscemi

(live action)

Bill Nighy

Will Arnett

Zach Galifianakis