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Nick Bruno, Troy Quane
Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones
Writing Credits:
Brad Copeland, Lloyd Taylor

When the world's best spy is turned into a pigeon, he must rely on his nerdy tech officer to save the world.

Box Office:
$100 million.
Opening Weekend
$13,354,798 on 3502 screens.
Domestic Gross

Rated PG.

Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Descriptive Audio
Spanish Dolby 5.1
French Dolby 5.1
Supplements Subtitles:

Runtime: 102 min.
Price: $34.98
Release Date:3/10/2020

• “Super Secret Spy Mode” In-Movie Experience
• “Infiltrating Blue Sky Studios” Featurette
• “Top Secret Guide to Gadgets” Featurette
• Music Videos
• “Making the Soundtrack” Featurettes
• Gallery
• Trailer


-LG OLED65C6P 65-Inch 4K Ultra HD Smart OLED TV
-Marantz SR7010 9.2 Channel Full 4K Ultra HD AV Surround Receiver
-Panasonic DMP-BD60K Blu-Ray Player
-Chane A2.4 Speakers
-SVS SB12-NSD 12" 400-watt Sealed Box Subwoofer


Spies In Disguise [Blu-Ray] (2019)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (March 16, 2020)

With 2019’s Spies In Disguise, we get an animated spoof of the secret agent genre. Here we meet Lance Sterling (voiced by Will Smith), a suave gentleman largely regarded as the world’s greatest spy.

Lance doesn’t succeed on his own, however. While Lance carries the load, the sophisticated gadgets invented by nerdy scientist Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) allow him to achieve his difficult missions.

Matters take a wacky turn when one of Walter’s creations transforms Lance into a pigeon. The two need to partner to work through this bizarre inconvenience and foil a dastardly plot.

Back in 2004, Will Smith resided at or close to the peak of his cinematic popularity. At that time, he acted in his first animated film, as Smith played the lead in Shark Tale.

Critics didn’t like Tale, as it got mediocre to bad reviews. However, audiences seemed to like it, as the flick took in a then-strong $374 million worldwide.

Circa 2019, Smith lacks the same box office power he enjoyed 15 years earlier, and this may seem clear from the box office comparison between Tale and Disguise. As noted, the former made good money despite critical panning, whereas the latter couldn’t find much of an audience even with nice reviews.

Critics mostly liked Disguise, but audiences didn’t seem interested. Perhaps crowds were still smitten by Frozen II, but even with a prime Christmas release, Disguise made a disappointing $171 million worldwide.

I can’t claim audiences missed out on much. While a pleasant mix of comedy and adventure, Disguise never quite finds its own groove.

Some of that comes from its well-trodden territory. Spy spoofs are a tired genre, so even with the wacky “turned into a pigeon” twist, we find ourselves with plenty of fairly trite jokes and situations.

Seriously, it’s bad enough that Walter exclaims “Bond – hydrogen Bond” at one point, but the film can’t leave well enough alone. It repeats the gag, and it doesn’t get funnier the second time.

In addition to the obvious Bond comparisons, Disguise finds pieces of Mission: Impossible and Despicable Me. These add to the sense that Disguise lacks much originality, as it can feel cobbled together from allusions to other properties.

It doesn’t help that Disguise barely attempts a plot. Sure, we get a theme where Lance and Walter need to deal with the aforementioned evil scheme, but all of this seems gratuitous and without much passion.

I get the impression the filmmakers attempt an overriding narrative because they’re expected to do so. However, the story on display seems so unconvincing and generic that it feels clear their hearts aren’t in it.

Really, all they want to do is create a movie with nutty gadgets, lots of sight gags and goofy pigeon antics. They know they can’t provide a feature film without a plot, but they seem disinterested in it.

Smith and Holland try to add spark to the material, though neither breaks a sweat. Smith plays Lance as The Will Smith Character, and Holland performs Walter as a variation on Peter Parker, but they manage to create likable and engaging personalities.

Nothing here flops, and Disguise turns into a breezy enough 102 minutes of animated fare. While it fails to seem especially creative, it also manages enough wit and fun to keep us engaged.

But just barely, as the thin nature of the project makes it less successful than I’d like. Disguise becomes a watchable but forgettable tale.

Footnote: a brief but cute tag scene appears after the end credits.

The Disc Grades: Picture A-/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

Spies In Disguise appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. As expected, the image looked terrific

No signs of softness ever emerged here. Instead, the movie always offered crisp, detailed visuals. I saw no shimmering or jaggies, and both edge haloes and print flaws failed to appear.

Colors offered a good array of hues. Plenty of situations and characters allowed for bright tones, and those consistently looked vivid and rich.

Blacks seemed tight and deep, while shadows were smooth and clear. This became a top-notch visual presentation.

Almost as good, the DTS-HD MA 7.1 soundtrack of Disguise added a lot of pep to the material. With all sorts of action on display, the various channels contributed exciting information of a frequent basis.

The flying elements zoomed around the room, and general mayhem created a good sense of the settings. These filled out the spectrum in an inventive and involving manner.

Audio quality was fine. Music sounded clear and smooth, while effects showed good range and punch, with very nice low end.

In addition, speech appeared natural and distinctive. I found myself impressed with this strong soundtrack.

No commentary appears here, but Super Secret Spy Mode provides a feature that accompanies the film. It offers a running piece hosted by directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane.

Due to video clips that pause the film, “Mode” fills one hour, 57 minutes, 37 seconds. In addition to notes from the directors, we also hear from production designer Michael Knapp, character art director Jason Sadler, lead sculptor Vicki Saulls, character development supervisor Sabine Heller, production assistant Caroline Qualey, head of story Adam Cootes, and directors’ assistant Spencer Bacon.

For the most part, the directors point out Easter eggs and trivia. The others discuss character and production design, and we occasionally see some story reels as well.

In terms of content, “Mode” provides some useful information. However, an awful lot of the movie passes without any material, and that becomes a major flaw.

Via the “Mode”, we don’t get a satisfying way to watch the movie, so if you sit through it, you do it solely for this feature. Due to all the dead spots, it becomes a frustrating path to follow.

Infiltrating Blue Sky Studios runs nine minutes, 11 seconds and comes hosted by actor Trinitee. She “spies” on the filmmakers at work, and we get some comments from Bruno, Quane, Sadler, Saulls, Cootes, senior animator Jackie Tarascio, producer Michael J. Travers, and effects supervisor Elvira Pinkhas.

Here we find a quick overview of various processes that go into an animated movie. I could live without the silly gimmick of Trinitee’s involvement, but the featurette provides a decent discussion of the domains.

With The Top Secret Guide to Gadgets, we find a three-minute, 57-second view of the movie’s spy technology. It becomes a quick and reasonably fun take.

Two music videosfollow: “Then There Were Two” by Mark Ronson and Anderson .Paak, and “Freak of Nature” by Mark Ronson and Dodgr. Both just show recording studio footage, so they’re forgettable videos.

Under Naking the Soundtrack, we get featurettes that look at the creation of “Two” (1:24) and “Freak” (1:30). These involve Ronson, Paak, and Dodgr. They give some minor thoughts about their songs’ creation, but these are essentially promo pieces.

In addition to the film’s trailer, we find a gallery. It breaks into four domains: “Color Keys and Moment Paintings” (12 frames), “Character Designs” (16), “Locations” (9) and “Props and Gadgets Concept Art” (11).

Though we don’t find a lot of art here, we get good content. In particular, the “Props” domain gives us a fun examination of those devices.

A second disc provides a DVD copy of Disguise. This includes none of the Blu-ray’s extras.

As a genre spoof, Spies In Disguise doesn’t find much new to say. With a good cast and occasional fun, it goes down painlessly, but it never turns into a memorable affair. The Blu-ray boasts strong picture and audio along with a decent array of bonus materials. Disguise brings passable animated entertainment at best.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
0 3:
View Averages for all rated titles.

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