What happens when you combine the talents of Will Smith and Tom Holland? You get a chemical reaction that explodes onto the screen into a major animated hit! Spies in Disguise is the action adventure brainchild of Troy Quane and Nick Bruno ~ two animators-turned-directors with an idea that will take its audience on an adventure they never knew they needed.
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Spies in Disguise
While in California for The Geekly Retreat this past November, I had the privilege of being one of the very first to screen Blue Sky Studios’ movie Spies in Disguise. In fact, I can remember Directors Troy Quane and Nick Bruno standing in front of us in that tiny theater on the Walt Disney Studios lot, telling us they had literally just pieced together the final project the day before (if not the day we screened it). We were ALL very excited to see how it turned out!
I then had the fortunate opportunity to screen it again locally, which was amazing because it just reinforced what I had originally drawn from the movie back in California. Needless to say, it has certainly been a challenge to keep my personal reaction to this animated spy adventure under wraps (but I did it!!!)! However, the time has finally arrived and I can finally spill my guts on what I think about Spies in Disguise!
OH – MY – GOSH – I – LOVED – IT!!!
About the movie
The movie tells the story of two very different individuals. Lance Sterling (Will Smith) is a smooth, suave and debonair super spy. Walter Beckett on the other hand, is…not. He’s more of the super nerd, if you will. However, when events take a series of unexpected turns, the unlikely duo is forced together on a mission that truly gives new meaning to going undercover. Walter and Lance suddenly have to work as a team ~ arms and wings alike ~ or the entire world will suffer the consequences. What do they learn in the process? Are they able to accomplish the mission successfully? Hmmm…..
What did I like about Spies in Disguise
I’m going to be frank and honest here. I seriously don’t know that I have enough space to share everything I loved about this movie. No – I’m not kidding. I absolutely adored this film. The casting, the graphics, the theme and the talent? I don’t know that it could have been done any better. Sure, that’s just my opinion, but I’m sticking to it. Here’s why.
Let’s start with the casting.
Talk about a stellar combination! I remember Nick and Troy during the interview portion talking about how they had only dreamed of having Will Smith join the project. They were so flattered when he accepted. Not to mention Tom Holland, who seems to be very much in demand these days, as well.
Okay – here’s a confession. I haven’t been a huge Will Smith fan of late. Nope – can’t even articulate why. However, I have been in the past, so there has always been room in my heart to enjoy his work again. Tom? Yeah – well, he’s been high on my “he’s awesome” list for some time now.
The humor, the sass, the play-off dialogue that ensues between the two of them ~ it is absolutely intriguing, entertaining and captivating. Even the contrasting tones of their voices were a perfect match for me. Maybe not for a musical duet (wouldn’t that be interesting), but to hear in a conversation? Yup! I just loved hearing their voices together.
Now let’s talk about the animation!
Did you know that Nick Bruno and Troy Quane are animators by trade? Spies in Disguise is actually the directorial debut for both of them! Because they are animators, they took everything to heart and task when it came to designing this movie – style, color, shape, you name it. They analyzed every character, every scene, every action meticulously to design a movie that screams with intention. Whether it was the martini glass like shape of Lance Sterling or the wet noodle approach they took with Walter, they took the time to design each character to perfection.
The lessons learned:
This movie is also replete with “takeaway” themes. Stay tuned for my more in depth look on these later this week, but you will find strong emphases placed on friendship, trust, perseverance and being true to one’s self ~ just to name a few. I think that’s another reason why I just really fell in love with this movie – Nick, Troy and the writers of this film (as did the actors) did a magnificent job communicating the positive messages they had hoped to get across ~ and in an animated spy movie!!
And speaking of that….Let’s Talk About How Science Rocks!
One of the most evident messages communicated in this movie centers around something that has been trivialized for years. Being smart is NOT a bad thing! Science is NOT weird. Okay – well, maybe it is….but WEIRD IS THE NEW COOL!! I’ve been on Team Weird my entire life and my three sons capitalize on being a part of Team Weird! The movie shows the importance science can play in solving problems – from the small to the global.
I’ll say it – this movie will be a tremendous encouragement to the younger audience out there who gets excited about scientific experiments and research, who thrive when they are placed in a situation where they can think, try, learn and succeed!
Team Weird all the way, my friends!!!
What did I not like about Spies in Disguise
It’s not often I can say this, but I also can’t tell lie to you. After seeing the movie TWICE, I can’t find a single thing about Spies in Disguise that I didn’t like.
Nope. No exaggeration. No joke. I absolutely loved this movie from beginning to end.
Would I recommend?
This is another one of those films that I would encourage families to see together – no hesitation, no apprehension. I think the chemistry between Will Smith and Tom Holland was electric. I think the story-line was written beautifully, eloquently and in a way that will literally keep you on the edge of your seat. When it comes to the delivery, I think the messages Nick and Troy wanted to get across were executed with brilliance. Yeah – give this one a chance!!!
And please – take your daughters!!! STEM is for everyone – and the movie does a fantastic job at effectively communicating the strength, power and capability EVERY ONE of us has within. It shows men and women in leadership, making mistakes side by side and working together to solve problems. That’s how it should be!
What you should know
The movie has a PG rating. However, it’s important for parents to be aware of these things before entering the theater with Littles.
- The movie does reference death and loss. Losing a loved one is implied and referenced.
- The movie does include a lot of animated violence, but no blood or gore. We’re talking fight scenes, guns, knives, martial arts and talk about hurting others.
- There is some verbal bullying (name-calling) in the movie.
- There is what appears to be a casino or gambling scene where it is implied that alcohol is served.
- The movie does have some adult humor in there – just enough to attract the older audience.
- There are some scenes that make pretty obvious references to body parts. In two separate scenes, it is implied that two separate individuals are naked (not in a romantic or sexual way at all, more in an embarrassing fashion). The only thing “seen” is one of the individual’s animated behinds. I’ll be honest. It is more comical than offensive.
In my honest opinion, the movie is a tremendous demonstration of how people with very different skills can work together as a team. It speaks of trust and friendship, as well as the importance of science and the freedom to be one’s true self. It breaks down stereotypes and elevates the role of those who are often squashed because of their unique abilities. I absolutely LOVED this movie and would see it again and again and again. Kudos, Nick and Troy (and the entire Spies in Disguise team!)!!
Spies in Disguise Opens In Theaters on Christmas Day!!
Let’s Get Weird!
I had the chance to meet and chat with both Troy Quane and Nick Bruno, the directors of the movie, after we screened the movie during The Geekly Retreat in November. We were THE FIRST to have seen the movie in its entirety – what a treat that was!! To see it again? Well, that just brought back all kinds of amazing!! Look for more posts related to our time with them in the near future!
Follow the SPIES IN DISGUISE Official Channels:
- OFFICIAL WEBSITE: www.SpiesInDisguiseMovie.com
- FACEBOOK: www.facebook.com/SpiesInDisguise
- TWITTER: www.twitter.com/SpiesInDisguise
- INSTAGRAM: www.instagram.com/SpiesInDisguise
- HASHTAG: #SpiesInDisguise
All photos used: courtesy of TM and © 2019 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation.
**Stay tuned for more on the movie AND the upcoming mobile game: Spies in Disguise: Agents on the Run!!
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