Spies in Disguise is an amusing animated film about a young scientist and a super spy turned pigeon. It’s one of the increasingly rare non-Pixar films that’s able to establish itself with a simple premise and largely pull it off.
Will Smith (Bad Boys for Life) plays Lance Sterling, a suave and dashing secret agent who’s at his best flying solo. Through a series of bizarre events, he’s on the run from his agency and has to turn to scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland, Spider-Man: Far From Home) for help.
Walter is a little quirky as evidenced by his fascination with pigeons and an unusual assortment of gadgets including Kitty Glitter, which unleashes a cat gif among a sea of glitter.
Lance accidentally takes Walter’s experimental serum and turns into a pigeon himself. While trying to avoid the agency’s top agents Marcy (Rashida Jones, Klaus), Eyes (Karen Gillan, Avengers: Endgame) and Ears (DJ Khaled) and track down the real culprit, Killian (Ben Mendelsohn, Captain Marvel), Lance and Walter strike up an unexpected friendship and learn to appreciate each other’s differences.
Smith has a distinct voice, which consequently doesn’t make for the best vocal performer as he’s instantly recognizable. Conversely, Jones, a regular voice performer, doesn’t have the same issue and blends in with her character. Holland is solid and Mendelsohn definitely has a voice for animated performances.
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The animation is amazing with bold choices of colors and atmospheric effects like water sprays, glitter showers and clouds in particular providing a very realistic visual. Character animation is also solid and the designs manage to stand out among a crowded animation field.
There’s some significant clashes in tone with the content. For a film where a main character turns into a pigeon there’s a surprising amount of not-so childish conversations about death as well as the merits of pacifism over violence.
It’s kind of an odd message to sell in a movie where the target audience probably expects some cool spy action sequences mixed in with the slapstick humor.
Mark Ronson (Uptown Funk) produced most of the original songs and with the exception of a collaboration with Anderson .Paak, none of the songs really stand out. Granted, this isn’t a Disney production, but this is a flat soundtrack. Screenwriters Cindy Davis, Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor occasionally thrown in dated humor like a mic drop reference, but most of the comedy works.
At 102 minutes, the film doesn’t outstay its welcome and sets the stage easily for a sequel provided there’s enough interest from fans.
Spies in Disguise lands with enough originality and a fun premise that it should make for an entertaining distraction for its target audience and not prove insufferable to older viewers.
Rating: 7 out of 10
The 1080p transfer in 2.39:1 is solid reference quality for animated films with bright colors that pop and excellent detail. Lance and Walter’s arrival on Killian’s island base shows off stellar water sprays and rock structure details. Subtle details like Lance’s bowtie showing up in pigeon form are easily spotted and the action plays out smoothly.
Likewise, the 1080p Blu-ray’s DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track allows for various sounds like fluttering wings, glitter bombs, sirens and drone engines to come off convincingly.
- Infiltrating Blue Sky Studios (9:11) – Trinity hosts a secret mission adventure learning more about the film, which eventually plays out like a basic behind the scenes look at the making of the movie.
- The Top Secret Guide to Gadgets (3:57) – Breaking down some of the fun inventions in the film
- “Then There Were Two” Music Video (3:24)
- “Freak of Nature” Music Video (3:54)
- Making the Soundtrack “Then There Were Two”
- Making the Soundtrack “Freak of Nature”
- “Lunch Break”*Digital Exclusive
- Gallery (Color Keys and Moment Paintings, Character Designs, Locations and Props and Gadgets Concept Art)
Spies in Disguise is now available to own on Blu-Ray or 4K home video at Amazon.com.
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment provided this 4K/Blu-Ray for review. The opinions stated are my own.