03rd Mar2020

‘Spies In Disguise’ Blu-ray Review

by Phil Wheat

Features the voices of: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Karen Gillan, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Masi Oka, DJ Khaled | Written by Brad Copeland, Lloyd Taylor | Directed by Nick Bruno, Troy Quane


Spies In Disguise centers on Lance Sterling (Smith), a super spy who is inadvertently turned into a pigeon by scientist Walter Beckett (Holland). This mishap may end up helping Lance, as he’s been framed as a bad guy by a dangerous terrorist (Ben Mendelsohn) who’s armed with weaponized drones. Along with the help of Walter and other pigeons, Lance aims to take down the bad guy and save the world in the process!

Essentially a mix of Emperor’s New Groove and James Bond, Spies In Disguise is a surprisingly funny family-friendly animated feature that – whilst playing on the tropes of the spy movie – also plays on the inherent audience expectations of a film starring Will Smith and Tom Holland. Both actors play up to type, with Smith channeling his Men in Black persona but turned up to 11, with even more arrogance; whilst Holland does geeky science guy in much the same way he fanboyed over Tony Stark in the Marvel movies.

The duo have a fantastic foil in Ben Mendelsohn who, as usual, plays bad guy with aplomb. But then Spies In Disguise is filled with great voice acting, including Reba McEntire as the head of the spy agency Sterling works for; Rashida Jones as the Internal Affairs agent on Sterling;’s trail; and Karen Gillan as one of her assistants, the tech-savvy Eyes.

Coming from Blue Sky, the studio behind the Ice Age movies, the animation is top-notch. Yes, the character designs may be a little basic, very much following the same style of animation found in Ice Age but it’s in the scenery and backgrounds where the CGI animation really shines – just check out the rough seas when the film moves to a mysterious island in the North Sea. However the animation fits the film perfectly – the mix of harsh reality of the backgrounds with the fun, somewhat cutesy appearance of the characters is a perfect visual representation of the films story and themes.

Speaking of themes, there’s an interesting plot thread that runs throughout the Spies In Disguise – Walter’s belief that war is bad, violence and killing are unnecessary and you can fight villains and seek justice whilst – ultimately – being something of a pacifist. Of course that’s only one half of the argument, at first, but when Sterling realises the bad guy he’s facing is actually one of his own creation, caused by being heavy-handed in his spy past, that even Lance Sterling – the worlds greatest spy who takes no prisoners – even comes around to Walter’s way of thinking. It’s a great message for a kids film, yet it’s also a message that isn’t rammed down the audiences throat, in fact the subtly in the way this idea is presented is remarkable for a kids film, especially when kids animation isn’t known for such delicateness.

Of course this is a kids film, so there’s still plenty of laughs – from the mere sight of Will Smith’s super-spy as a pigeon, to some ridiculously hilarious old-school slapstick; there’s enough jokes and visual gags strewn throughout the film to keep even the most fidgety kid enthralled, whilst also entertaining parents too. In other words, this is highly recommended.


  • Super Secret Spy Mode version of film
  • Infiltrating Blue Sky Studios
  • The Top Secret Guide to Gadgets
  • “Then There Were Two” Music Video”
  • Freak of Nature” Music Video
  • Making the Soundtrack “Then There Were Two”
  • Making the Soundtrack “Freak of Nature”
  • Theatrical Trailer

Spies In Disguise comes to Blu-ray, 4K Ultra HD, and DVD – in the US – on March 10th. The film is still showing in cinemas in the UK, with a home entertainment release due in April 2020.


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