There’s this thing about even the most mediocre of animation films. The story might be simple, the arc entirely foreseeable and you know for sure that all will eventually turn out well. But the bunch of animated characters, their inner compulsions, quirks and relationships somehow manage to reach out. Then there are the many life lessons which can easily lapse into cheesiness but turn out exalting. Spies in Disguise is one such film — more simple than spectacular — that, despite the predictability, sports a good-hearted gentleness and old-fashioned cheer.
- Director: Troy Quane, Nick Bruno
- Starring: Computer animation with voices of Will Smith, Tom Holland, Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn
- Run time: 102 minutes
- Storyline: Super spy Lance Sterling forms an odd team with young, bumbling, gadget-making genius Walter Beckett to take on villain Killian, with a left bionic arm and an army of weaponized drones threatening to destroy the world
It is about the young misfit genius Walter Beckett (Tom Holland) who could edit the human genome while still in middle school and passed out of MIT at the tender age of 15. He is into designing gadgets to keep the world safe. Noone understands him better other than his cop mom who knows that “world needs weird” like him. Pitched against the geekiness of Beckett is the cool quotient of world’s greatest spy Lance Sterling. It’s a clash of principles: kitty glitter against grenades; one believes in fighting fire with fire, other is all for in extinguishing it with glitter; one thinks of blowing up evil, other is for bringing everyone together. And they are thrown together as a team — Sterling’s Bond to Beckett’s Q — to save the world from the form shifting villain Killian with a bionic hand and an army of weaponised drones to end the world.
There are some nice action set pieces, fights and chases. But the real fun lies in Beckett’s “biodynamic concealment” experiment which misfires and turns Sterling into a pigeon, or “flying mouse” as he hatefully calls them. “Unbird me” he booms and you can’t help not laugh out loud. The character and the voice meld to great effect with Will Smith as Sterling and Holland as Beckett. Ultimately it’s non-violence and the device of a “hug” that wins the day, something the world surely needs in good measure. The film “Walterizes” the most cynical of souls and makes them see that weird is indeed beautiful.