Blue Sky Studios has a hit-or-miss track record in the animation world, having found success with the endless Ice Age franchise and some sweet adaptations, like The Peanuts Movie. Next up from the company is an original story, which will also mark Will Smith’s return to voice acting, 14 years after Shark Tale (a hiatus that makes sense, considering the quality of that DreamWorks mess). It’s called Spies in Disguise, and it seems more exciting than Blue Sky’s recent slate — so much so that its debut teaser’s big “reveal” is leaving viewers in shock.
“That sounds melodramatic,” you may be thinking. “How can a movie about Will Smith playing a suave, buff secret agent be all that surprising? Is it because our good son and part-time Spider-Man Tom Holland is playing another science nerd? That’s not that shocking. Calm down.”
A-ha! Well, watch the trailer, and then come talk to me. From the outset, Spies in Disguise does look like family-friendly fare, an animated film with a little more style than most Blue Sky pictures. Will Smith’s secret agent is Lance Sterling, and Tom Holland’s teen Walter Beckett develops all of Lance’s gadgets from the comfort of his lab.
[Ed. note: Spoilers below, if you care about that!]
Everything is all cool and James Bond-y ... until Walter turns Lance into a pigeon.
Walter is proud of himself, because pigeons are a great disguise, he says. No one pays attention to them!
That’s not quite true, as pigeons are terrible, disgusting creatures that love to poop on our windshields. Thus, Lance is obviously mad. Based on my years of moviegoing, I assume that Spies in Disguise then turns into some boy-and-bird adventure that ends in lots of bonding and a hug.
More interesting than the trailer and the movie is how surprised viewers seem to be by that pigeon reveals. Since it premiered yesterday, several people have posted reaction videos to the trailer.
YouTuber Jaby Koay has a channel based around trailer reactions, and his video with friend Achara Kirk as they watch the video together is adorable. They didn’t expect that pigeon twist at all! Very subversive, Jaby says while wearing a Metal Gear Solid 2 shirt, so you know he knows what’s up.
“I thought he was going to become a babysitter to a kid or something like that,” Achara says. “Not a pigeon.”
Not everyone’s a fan. Grace Randolph from Beyond the Trailer re-arranged her entire schedule so that she could react to the trailer. She is equal parts mad and shocked by the birdification of Will Smith. She even offers some speculation on the plot — the tagline makes it sound like Lance is going to be a pigeon for the whole film, and that’s no good.
“Look at that great character!” cries Grace. “Why would you do that to him?”
Last but not least, this one, from voice actor Tyrus Magnus, is my favorite. He’s having the best time watching this trailer, and he’s so even-keeled.
Somehow, Will Smith as a pigeon is more wild, even upsetting, than Will Smith as a fish with Will Smith’s head or Will Smith as a modern-day L. Ron Hubbard. I’ll admit: Spies in Disguise’s little twist is kind of cute. Even if pigeons are horrible.
Spies in Disguise is in theaters Sept. 13, 2019.