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MOVIE REVIEW: Spies in Disguise

6.5 (Must-See) Fun for the Whole Family


This article is also published on Medium.com

Summary

Animated. Will Smith voices a super-spy who is transformed into a pigeon and has to clear his name after being framed. Tom Holland plays the young sidekick inventor.

Release Date: 25 December 2019 (USA)
Studio: Blue Sky Studios
Director: Nick Bruno and Troy Quane
Writer: Brad Copeland and Lloyd Taylor
Rating: PG
Running Time: 1h 42min
Starring: Will Smith, Tom Holland, Reba McEntire View Full Cast
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure, Spy
View Official Site

Review

Base Score: 4 (Pretty Good)

Finally, here is an animated movie that performs exactly as advertised. I saw the trailers, I thought it looked funny, and it lived up to my expectations exactly. There was no bait-and-switch. It was cool. It was funny. It was family-friendly.

What you see from the trailer is what you get.

The comedy of the movie appeals to kids (potty humor) while being tolerable to adults. I’m sure on the car ride home, kids will gleefully say, “Wasn’t that funny when you see that guy’s butt?” You can laugh and realize that this will likely be forgotten before the next kid’s movie comes out. There is nothing horrific that would be inappropriate for younger views.

What was refreshing is that there was some subtle humor that only adults would pick up on. That’s not to say that the jokes were “adult,” but that they were easy to miss. I chuckled under my breath at moments the kids behind me missed. I even snorted out loud in a too-quiet theater. Does my laugh sound like that?

It was good stuff. It is highly recommended. The modifiers below make this a must-see. Bravo, creators.

Modifiers

Is it worth 3D, IMAX, or any other special viewing? Probably not. I saw the 2D version on a normal screen, and I didn’t feel I was missing anything.

Would I see it again? Yes, I think I would. If someone hadn’t seen it, I would go to the theater again. If it was on video, I would sit through it again. There wasn’t anything annoying in it. If a kid really took to it and I had to watch it 20 times… that’s what a cell phone is for. (+.5)

Should I rent it? Buy it? It was a great film, but you could save some coin to watch it on the small screen. This one would hold up to multiple viewings, so if the kids request it, buy it. (+.5)

Is it family safe? It is rare nowadays to have a family-safe movie. There is some low-brow humor, but nothing objectionable. Hey, it makes the kids laugh, right? I didn’t notice any language. (+.5)

Did it have “the look?” Animation has gotten to the point where a realistic image is easy to pull off. Well, maybe not easy, but technically possible. Then, the trick is to make something that is visually interesting. Something will style. Like a comic book. It’s not supposed to look natural. It’s supposed to look fantastic. This movie looks fantastic. (+.5)

Did it have “the feels?” Yes, this had some strong “triumphant” moments. I was brought to tears at one point. (+.5)

Score Breakdowns

Base Score: 4 + Modifiers: 2.5 = 6.5 (Must-See)

Spies in Disguise movie poster

LAUNCH DELAY: Friday, February 9th

Doesn’t that just take the cake? I’ve been keeping everything on track (barely). I can see now that I need to get things out to my beta readers earlier in the process. It would also be better to print them off a copy that is all ready to print from CreateSpace. Since this process will take 2 days to complete, it would be good to get this out of the way. Also, a printed proof from them will be cheaper than a local print shop.

I reviewed the copy I had sent off to print and was horrified that it had no page numbers! That’s kinda important, especially when you get up there in numbers. You don’t want to be looking for page 400 in a novel without page numbers.

I looked back to the PDF I had submitted to CreateSpace for printing. Yup, no page numbers. It wasn’t them, it was me. They were doing their job right. I was the cotton-headed ninny muggings (gasp!). My heart was in my throat as I created a new PDF file from Word. And then I realized that my new version had some extra pages. 48, to be exact. That means the cover dimensions change (the spine is wider), so I re-ma-jiggered (technical term) the cover to resubmit to CreateSpace. That means they need another 24 hours to review it for submission.

And THEN it goes off to Amazon and appears just in time for tomorrow, right? No, that’s where we hit the final detail. Books will appear on Amazon for purchase in 3 to 5 Business Days. My balloon deflated. I have missed my window.

Life is a learning process, eh? Word to the other wanna-be-writer-folk out there:

  • Hit CreateSpace way in advance of launch. We’re talking two months ahead of launch. You will get access to cheap printing and make sure your bugs are ironed out. You can catch stupid mistakes and unsure your beta readers will see exactly what will be printed.

  • Review before approving. CreateSpace recommends looking over your proof three times. I caught my bug in the first pass. You might need all three. Do it. This is your baby.

  • Approve to publish one week in advance. If it takes 3 -5 business days, make sure there are at least 5 business days between you and launch. You may need to contact support for a day, so I’d make sure you have a 7 business days buffer.

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