Blue Sky Studios has made a mix of movies over the years. Being the animation subsidiary of 20th Century Fox, Blue Sky hasn’t become a household name quite like Pixar, DreamWorks, Illumination, or even Sony. The studio found initial success with “Ice Age” in 2002, which sparked a five movie, fourteen-year franchise that still remains very popular overseas. In between these Pleistocene Epoch-themed successes, they have also produced movies such as “Robots,” “Rio,” “The Peanuts Movie,” and “Ferdinand.”
There is nothing wrong with any of these movies. Some of them even managed to fare well at the box office. Critically, however, none of them have really made an enormous splash, and they tend to fall behind films made by Blue Sky’s competitors.
As of this past March, though, 20th Century Fox has been under Walt Disney Studios’ control, making Blue Sky a Disney property. Therefore, Blue Sky’s next project will be the studio’s first to be released under Disney’s watch.
That next release is titled “Spies In Disguise,” and despite getting its release date perpetually pushed back since January, the film will finally hit theaters on December 25th.
Although “Spies In Disguise” will be Blue Sky’s first release under Disney, the project entered into development back in 2017—long before the Fox acquisition. Likewise, production predominantly took place in 2018. Thus, Disney really didn’t have much oversight in the making of the movie.
The film is partially based off of a 2009 animated short titled “Pigeon: Impossible,” directed by Lucas Martell. This feature adaptation will be the directorial debuts for Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, both of whom have worked in the animation and art departments on previous Blue Sky productions. Meanwhile, Brad Copeland (“Ferdinand”) and Lloyd Taylor (“The Wild”) wrote the screenplay.
The first personnel that Blue Sky signed onto the project, however, were actually the two star voice actors: Will Smith and Tom Holland, both recognizable faces with fairly familiar voices (especially the former). The studio casted these two as the leads way back in 2017 during development.
In the film, Will Smith plays superspy Lance Serling, a suave hero who continually saves the world from destruction—the cartoon character design even looks a little like Smith. Holland, on the other hand, plays Walter Beckett, Serling’s tech officer who invents gadgets to aid the spy on his missions. The plot takes off when Serling ingests Beckett’s latest creation—a “biodynamic concealment”—which zanily turns him into a talking pigeon.
Humbled by this change in species, Serling must team up with the nerdy Beckett to save the world from archvillain Tristan McFord, who is voiced by Ben Mendelsohn. Along the way, the two protagonists learn the perks of being a pigeon when it comes to spying, creating many quirky, action-packed, and humorous instances in the process.
There is no telling what critics might say about “Spies in Disguise.” The animation looks good (it is computer animated with sharp edges and caricature-esque figures in a similar style to “The Incredibles”). Simultaneously, the casting is on point and the story seems funny enough. However, with “Frozen II” still being in theaters and family-friendly sensational blockbusters like “Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker” also coming out in December, “Spies In Disguise” will have a lot to compete with, and will most likely fall to the wayside for most moviegoers.
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