My Review of "Spies in Disguise"
An odd couple family movie that's enjoyable in many levels.
Spies in Disguise is a movie that wasn't really talked about last year when it came out. I keep forgetting how good we have it with animated movies nowadays. We get spoiled at the fact that these family flicks are always pretty well crafted although always follow a generic formula. Still these are family films catered to children so they don't even have the concept of formula. They're not supposed to break the mold.
This movie starts out with our main protagonist Walter as a very young child. He's a child genius and comes up with inventions that seem to blow up in his own face all the time. Although he annoys his mother but his mother understanding because he's not well accepted due to the fact that he thinks so differently from everyone else. His mother has also instilled a great sense of teamwork and serving a purpose in life.
Years later we flashforward to the second protagonist, Lance. He's a super spy that is quite capable of pretty much anything. The sequence of events to introduce him are quite spectacular. The imagination from the filmmakers is quite amazing. They make a crazy action sequence they could only be believable through animation. It's quite the scene. If they made the whole movie like this, I would have been fine with it.
Lance comes back to the big spy headquarters after obtaining his main objective. He meets up with Walter because he accidentally used one of Walter's devices and it didn't go as he had planned. Walter has the idea that we have to change the way that we fight crime. He doesn't believe in fighting fire with fire. It will only continue a cycle of destruction rather than cutting off the problem with more safe alternatives. Lance doesn't share the same sentiment but recognizes Walter's genius. Unfortunately Walter loses his job because of his disobedience to Lance.
Soon after we discover that Lance soon becomes framed for a crime that he hasn't committed. With the special skills that Lance has the spy agency has to take extra precautions in order to detain him. So now Lance is on the run and the only person that can help him out is Walter.
Lance finds Walter and asks him to help him disappear from the authorities. Through a series impulsive actions Lance is soon transformed into a pigeon. From the trailers we already knew this was going to happen. The amount of foreshadowing earlier in the movie is actually quite comical. I know this would probably fly over the heads of the kids but I'm sure parents will see all of them.
This movie soon becomes a big lesson to Lance and I guess the audience in turn about working as a team and listening. Lance is basically us as adults believing that we can do everything by ourselves and not listening to different ways of doing things. Despite being the best at what he does he doesn't realize that there are better ways of doing things because he's the best at his job. Really why would you look for new ways of doing things if you're the best at what you're doing? So I understand where Lance is coming from and I see where Walter is coming from as well.
In some ways I can see that this may be considered some liberal propaganda but there is some truth in some of the things that this movie is trying to get at. We don't have to kill people in order to detain them. They're just simply doing their job and sometimes don't even really have an affiliation with what's going on. They need money to feed their families so they got to do what they have to do. The movie kind of gets into this with our main antagonist. He's a casualty of war and his friends and family are as well.
We as humans are competitive by nature so we're always going to one up the next person. This just proves that it is scary when we try to one up each other with destructive power such as we did during the cold war. The movie doesn't go that deep into it because it's a family movie but I see what they're trying to go with things.
Another thing they didn't really get into was the history behind Lance's psyche. I know that's asking for a lot since it's a family film. The way they made him out made me curious as to what his upbringing was like. We know Walter's upbringing and why he is the way he is but we don't really see what Lance's story is. That would be a pretty interesting story but would have made the story way too long so I understand why it was omitted.
Overall, I liked this movie despite my hate for birds. I thought it was intelligently written and well crafted. The characters were all very amicable and I got into it from start to finish. I would have to give this movie a 7.5 out of 10. It is a really good animated family film that kind of got lost in the shuffle of the plethora of animated movies that we have today.