One of my favorite Disney movies is Mulan. The film broke barriers and showed that a Disney Princess can be strong, independent, and powerful. It also boasted an awesome soundtrack, spawning my favorite “I’ll Make a Man Out of You.” Another favorite is “Reflection,” a powerful ballad that perfectly captured the film’s narrative. Written and produced by Matthew Wilder and David Zippel, “Reflection” holds a special place in the hearts of many Filipinos for decades.
When Disney and Pixar release a film, you have a few expectations. You know it’s going to be family-friendly. It’s going to be funny and will involve an adventure or two. It’s going to be heartwarming. Onward checks all the boxes that’s become standards in Disney and Pixar’s partnership, but it pushes a bit further and gives us some unexpected turns.
So the concept of a debonair spy or agent who takes on a bumbling newbie under his wing isn’t new. Take, for example, Kingsman and Men in Black. In the films, Colin Firth and Tommy Lee Jones take on Taron Egerton and Will Smith and mold them to become a dashing figure. Spies in Disguise follows their lead but forges its own path. It’s an excellent decision that results in a fun and heartwarming comedy.
In Troy Quaine and Nick Bruno’s Spies in Disguise, we are introduced to Lance Sterling, a super spy working for HTUV (Honor, Trust, Unity, and Valor). He’s suave, elegant, and cool, and quite popular in the entire department. Joining him is Walter Beckett, a geeky inventor who creates gadgets that are effective for espionage while causing no harm. An example? He created a grenade that explodes with glitter and creates a visual of an adorable kitten. According to him, it releases serotonin and makes the viewer feel happy. I’ll leave it up to the viewer to see what I mean about following the traditional master spy-student formula and flipping it over its head.
When a series of adventures forces Lance to go into hiding, he runs to Walter to look for help. Instead of finding a solution, he accidentally drinks an experiment that turns him… into a pigeon. The two must work together to solve an important case and get Lance back into being human.
What endeared Spies in Disguise to me is that it is a legitimate spy movie. Sure, it may seem strange that the lead is a pigeon but it’s snappy, engaging, and fun. The film is drizzled with spy essentials like exotic international locales, dazzling cinematography, big action set pieces, and futuristic gadgetry. It’s a Bond film with lots of heart, laughs, and some lol-worthy inventions. I happily suspended my disbelief as I watched Lance and Walter get into zany adventures.
What grounded the film was the voice performances of the actors. Will Smith shone as Lance but it was Tom Holland who stood out as the geeky Walter. They really were just playing themselves, which is great because it seems like the roles were written for them. The two are joined by Rashida Jones, Ben Mendelsohn, Reba McEntire, Rachel Brosnahan, Karen Gillan, DJ Khaled, and Masi Oka.
Spies in Disguise may be animated but there are a lot of laughs and wisdom to be gained by adults. Even at surface level, the film is entertaining and hilarious. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
Spies in Disguise will premiere on January 22, 2020. This story is in partnership with Twentieth Century Fox. For more information, visit the website and follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
Sometimes, the only thing separating one from a marvelous film are subtitles. Beyond local and Hollywood films, there’s a whole lot of exciting movies being produced internationally. One country churning out films worth watching is China, which made over a thousand films in the past year.
This month at Shangri-La Plaza, Chinese film is placed front and center at the 14th Spring Festival. Catch six popular Chinese films from January 19 to 26 at Red Carpet. The entire festival is completely free, so mall guests can enjoy each unique offering.
I enjoy watching movies at home but there are films that have to be seen on a massive screen. Recently, these movies include Frozen II, Aladdin, The Lion King, and Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker. These films demand to be seen in a cinema, where you can better appreciate the details and immerse yourself in grand storytelling.
The Force is strong with Filipino fans and the countdown to Star Wars Weekend has officially begun! In just less than IX days, Star Wars enthusiasts will be able to witness years of the epic Skywalker saga reach its riveting conclusion and the excitement has reached intergalactic highs.
I initially had reservations when I was invited to watch Ford v. Ferrari. I’m not a fan of racing, or even cars, so I wondered if I would enjoy this movie. Sure, it had Christian Bale and Matt Damon, but would that be enough to hold my attention, since it’s a two and a half hour movie? It turns out it did more than just hold my attention. The film gripped it the entire time, never letting it go. I was safely ensconced in the theater but I felt like I was in the passenger seat. That’s how much I enjoyed it, even if I know nothing about cars.
I’m going to be honest. I haven’t seen any Terminator movie. I’m not a big fan of action films but lately, I’ve been curious about anything science fiction, so I decided to give Terminator: Dark Fate a go. I didn’t have enough time to catch all five Terminators, which I think is a great idea since I’ll be able to tell if the movie can explain its whole concept to a complete noob. Guess what? It did and I was able to enjoy it.