In this episode of The Popcorn Conspiracy Dave Griffiths and Kyle McGrath take a look at the new Disney Pixar movie Onward.
Can’t make it to the Onward red carpet premiere in LA, don’t sweat just watch it right here.
For most Australians Ross Noble needs no introduction. The talented comedian has become a staple on our television and radio. Perhaps not many people would know about Noble’s rising resume as an actor as well. I’m not talking about when he presented his own shows – but rather when his acted in horror films such as Stitches, Nails and The Circle.
Now however Noble is taking a turn away from horror and has instead lent his voice to a brand new family animation called Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree where he stars alongside Miranda Tapsell and Kate Murphy and he plays a frill-necked lizard… yes you read that right he plays a lizard.
As it turns out playing a lizard was one of the reasons why Noble decided to take up the role. “I literally got an email saying ‘do you want to play a lizard’ and I said ‘yes please,’” says Noble delivering his warm, familiar laugh down the phone line. “You can’t go wrong with playing a lizard, can you? So yeah, I then read the script and found it was one of those films where you find that it is a proper family film and it looked like a lot of fun. So I just replied to them and said ‘yeah I am in.’”
Of course playing a lizard is not an offer you get every day and here Noble gets the chance to play Yarra, a wise old sage who just happens to be a frill-necked lizard. “Well he is a lizard but he is sort of a kind of wise guy,” explains Noble. “He is the Obi-Wan, the Gandalf kind of figure in the film, but really kind of appealed to me was that he was a bit different. Normally the wise guy in a film, that is all they are, they are just wise. They are just there to be wise but what I liked about this script was the fact that Yarra is a little bit unhinged.”
That leads to both Noble and I laughing and when he continues he says. “You know he talks to his stick. It is just basically a stick with a face on it, but he talks to it. And because of that you don’t really know how reliable he is and because he is kind of old and a bit nuts. It really is a case where he isn’t just there for his wisdom, you find yourself asking ‘should we really be following him?’”
Anybody who has ever seen one of Noble’s stage shows knows just how good he is at lending his voice to any number of characters that he is impersonating but that still begs the big question of just how do you find a voice for a wise, slightly loopy frill-necked lizard?
“With the voice I wanted him to sound old and wise but because he is cracked I wanted to be able to take a left turn every now and then,” explains Noble as he gives me a bit of a taste of Yarra’s voice. “The great thing about it being animation is that you can try something else and you can try going crazy, crazy far. You can go much further than you think you could ever go and then the guys behind the glass can say ‘try that again but make it less insane’ or ‘you know what you can be more insane.’ So yeah, during that process I was just really going for and then they would look at it.”
“There was some stuff that they looked at and they were just rolling around going ‘really?’” he says laughing again. “But then once it is all put together it becomes something where you can choose the bits where you can say ‘yeah, he is properly helping this possum on the journey’ and then there are other times where you are like ‘I wouldn’t be trusting him.’”
The process though of finding Yarra’s voice was not easy though and Noble says he had to audition a few different voices for the creators of the film. “You kind of find the way you think he would sound,” he says explain the process to me. “And then you just play with it. We recorded a lot of stuff and it wasn’t quite right so we actually went back and re-recorded it. It was okay, but it just wasn’t quite right, because the thing is at the start of the film Yarra has to be sane – he is talking about the history and you know he is basically telling the story of the legend and that has to have some kind of authority to it but with what we recorded at first he was just a little bit too off the wall. We had to bring a little more authority to it and make it a little bit more steady. You do have to think about your performance but then you really just have to trust the guys that have created it.”
The guys that have created this film have certainly created something that is going to be very special for Australian audiences, so don’t be surprised if this film doesn’t become one of Australia’s next big hits.
Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree starring Miranda Tapsell, Ross Noble and Kate Murphy is in cinemas on 27th February.
When Australia does animation it always does it well. Think back to when you were a child and sat down happily to watch Blinky Bill. Now think about how the new generation enjoyed films like Happy Feet. When you really think about it it is a shame that Australia doesn’t do more animation, but that is why we should all be so excited about the brand new Australian animated film Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree which hits cinemas on the 27th February.
One of the stars of the film is Australian actress Kate Murphy who has gained experience as a voice actress on popular animated series like Shopkins and Space Chickens In Space. She says she couldn’t have been more excited about working on The Wishmas Tree.
“Well Kerry the ring-tailed possum is the lead character, but Petra, my character, is Kerry’s older sister,” says Murphy as we talk a little bit about the character that she plays in the film. “Petra is a little bit sensible, a little bit pragmatic, she likes her space and she likes not to put herself out of her comfort zone. She has an amazing journey throughout the film though and she learns so much from her younger sister.”
“I found though that I could really relate to her as a character,” says Murphy laughing as we continue to discuss Petra. “When I was reading it I kept on finding myself saying ‘oh there are some similarities between Petra and myself’. I find that something I can be a little bit safe and sensible at times. But having said that Petra can still have some fun and silly moments. When I was working with the directors in the booth I was always trying to find that fun part of her as well. So yeah, I was stoked at being able to play Petra.”
As far as characters go Petra is a very interesting character. In one way she is very much the voice of reason in the film but at the same time she is a character that can at times crack a joke. Murphy admits that it was at times hard to find that middle ground for Petra. “I was always conscious not to try and tip it too far one way,” she explains. “I remember being in the studio when we were doing it and we were always talking about it. The director and the producer would be there with me and we would always be discussing the lines and how we wanted her to come across. It was always an experiment because sometimes I would push it really far and then we would be like ‘nope that was too funny that doesn’t work for this moment’ but we were always trying to have that lightness in there even though there are dark moments. Even though she is quite sensible we did look for moments of comedy.”
One of the most interesting parts of voice acting is how the actor or actress comes up with the voice for the character they are playing but Murphy says she settled on the voice for Petra very early on. “Usually I try to hear the voice in my head,” she says after stopping to think about the process for a moment. “ I definitely play around with it, but I guess also it changes from project to project because the process can be very different”
“For Petra I guess I was kind of lucky because I got to see the director and the producer a few times prior to recording,” she says continuing. “Aside from that I would always be recording little bits and pieces on my phone and then sending it through. However, with voice over you can always be a little bit flexible and in the booth I found that we kind of found her in the first hour or so of recording. Usually though I have a bit of an idea in my head and I guess that is part of the voice artists job – they have to come ready to experiment and explore and not just come in saying ‘this is how it is’ because you do have to be prepared to change it vocally once you are in there.”
It is obvious when chatting to Murphy that she had a lot of fun playing Petra and while she was recording for Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree and she says that she hopes that audiences have just as much fun watching it. “Just go and see something that is completely Australian,” she says with an excited tone in her voice. “This is completely Australian produced, completely Australian created. Just enjoy the message and just really embrace the Australianess of it all. We have such beautiful land here and such beautiful creatures and we really need to look after them, especially now more than ever… so yeah go and enjoy it.”
Sanctuary City: The Wishmas Tree starring Miranda Tapsell, Ross Noble and Kate Murphy is in cinemas on 27th February.
This June, from the biggest animated franchise in history and global cultural phenomenon, comes the untold story of one 12-year-old’s dream to become the world’s greatest supervillain, in Minions: The Rise of Gru.
In the heart of the 1970s, amid a flurry of feathered hair and flared jeans, Gru (Oscar nominee Steve Carell) is growing up in the suburbs. A fanboy of a supervillain supergroup known as the Vicious 6, Gru hatches a plan to become evil enough to join them. Luckily, he gets some mayhem-making backup from his loyal followers, the Minions. Together, Kevin, Stuart, Bob, and Otto—a new Minion sporting braces and a desperate need to please—deploy their skills as they and Gru build their first lair, experiment with their first weapons and pull off their first missions.
When the Vicious 6 oust their leader, legendary fighter Wild Knuckles (Oscar winner Alan Arkin), Gru interviews to become their newest member. It doesn’t go well (to say the least), and only gets worse after Gru outsmarts them and suddenly finds himself the mortal enemy of the apex of evil. On the run, Gru will turn to an unlikely source for guidance, Wild Knuckles himself, and discover that even bad guys need a little help from their friends.
Teeming with Illumination’s signature subversive humour, pop-culture sophistication, full-hearted emotion, bold music sensibility, and over-the-top action, Minions: The Rise of Gru features a thrilling new cast of stars, including, as members of the Vicious 6, Taraji P. Henson as cool and confident leader Belle Bottom, Jean-Claude Van Damme as Jean Clawed, Lucy Lawless as Nunchuck, Dolph Lundgren as Svengeance and Danny Trejo as Stronghold. The film also features Russell Brand as Dr. Nefario, an aspiring mad scientist, Michelle Yeoh as Master Chow, an acupuncturist with mad Kung Fu skills, and Oscar winner Julie Andrews as Gru’s maddeningly self-absorbed mom.
Steered by the franchise’s original creators, Minions: The Rise of Gru is produced by visionary Illumination founder and CEO Chris Meledandri and his longtime collaborators Janet Healy and Chris Renaud. The film is directed by returning franchise filmmaker Kyle Balda (Despicable Me 3, Minions), co-directed by Brad Ableson (The Simpsons) and Jonathan del Val (The Secret Life of Pets films), and features the iconic voice of Pierre Coffin as the Minions and a killer ʼ70s soundtrack courtesy of legendary Grammy-winning music producer Jack Antonoff.
Poised to thrill audiences around the nation, the Alliance Française French Film Festival has today unveiled the full line-up for its eagerly anticipated 31st season at www.affrenchfilmfestival.org
Spreading its cinematic stardust across 8 cities and 4 satellite locations, the Festival, which is proudly presented by the Alliance Française in association with the Embassy of France in Australia, Unifrance Films and screening partner, Palace Cinemas, will commence its national tour from 10 March until 19 April and is set to thrill audiences with a stupendous selection of 49 contemporary and classic French films, many enjoying their Australian premiere.
We’re also delighted to announce that dynamic filmmaker, Justin Kurzel (The Snowtown Murders, Macbeth, True History of the Kelly Gang), who has long taken inspiration from French cinema, will be the 2020 Festival Patron.
Additionally, acclaimed director/actor, Zabou Breitman, whose lyrical, animated drama, The Swallows of Kabul (Les hirondelles de Kaboul), has won plaudits from critics and audiences alike on the international film festival circuit, will be visiting Melbourne to introduce a screening of this, her latest feature, which she directed with Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec. This special Festival event is slated for the evening of Tuesday 17 March at Palace Cinema Como, and will be followed by a filmmaker Q&A.
On a more sombre note, this year has already experienced horrific bushfires ravaging our land and robbing so many of their lives and homes. The Alliance Française, and venue partners thereby invite you to join us in helping those impacted by this tragedy by supporting special previews of How to Be a Good Wife and In the Name of the Land (both screening courtesy of Palace Films) to be held in all capital cities on 9th and 10th of March. 100% of tickets sales for these sessions will be donated to the Australian Red Cross Bushfire Appeal and Rural and Remote Mental Health.
And in celebration of mankind’s great capacity for kindness and compassion – which often comes to the fore in times of crisis – the Festival will launch the 2020 season with The Extraordinary (Hors normes), one of the most gloriously uplifting films to emerge from France in recent years, which will screen courtesy of Madman Entertainment.
The latest feature from renowned filmmakers Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano (who delighted with The Intouchables and C’est la vie!), The Extraordinary is inspired by a true story and was honoured as the Closing Night Feature at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. For twenty years, Bruno (Vincent Cassel) and Malik (Reda Kateb) have run two separate non-profit organizations where they train young people from underprivileged areas to be caregivers for autistic youth abandoned by the state system. But the authorities, concerned that they’ve never sought certification and that many of their carers aren’t ‘officially’ qualified, decide to mount an investigation.
The result of two years’ immersion in the lives of the two associations, The Extraordinary is a crowd-pleasing charmer, which will have viewers experiencing a gamut of emotions as they fall in love with a host of extraordinary characters in exceptional circumstances. It’s a testimony to the great things that can be achieved when people support one another in the face of adversity.
And concluding the 2020 season, on a deliciously whimsical note, will be The Bare Necessity (Perdrix), the directorial debut of Erwan Le Duc, starring Swann Arlaud, Maud Wyler, Fanny Ardant and Nicolas Maury. Set within a tiny town nestled in the woody mountains of Vosges, this sweetheart of a movie, which delighted hardened cynics when it premiered in Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes 2019, looks at the romantic mayhem that ensues when an enigmatic young woman forces a stagnant family to re-define their boundaries and begin to truly live.
With so many highlights bursting from this year’s programme, it’s impossible to list every film, but read on for some of the delights to be savoured:
Director: Daniel Cohen
Cast: François Damiens, Vincent Cassel, Bérénice Bejo
In this delicious tale of tested loyalties, the close friendship of two long-time couples is put at risk when one of the two wives unexpectedly becomes a best-selling author, upsetting the intricate balance of this formerly close-knit quartet.
AZNAVOUR BY CHARLES (Le regard de Charles)
A Film by Charles Aznavour, Directed by Marc di Domenico
Narrator: Romain Duris
Crooner, Charles Aznavour, beguiled his legions of fans with a dream of romance. But his life beyond music was even more extraordinary. An actor, political activist, diplomat and filmmaker, this enthralling documentary, with rare footage, reveals a complicated, multi-talented man who entertained for the greater part of a century.
DEERSKIN (Le daim)
Director: Quentin Dupieux
Cast: Jean Dujardin, Adèle Haenel, Albert Delpy
With his life in disarray, Georges might not be able to control his circumstances but he can control his wardrobe. Believing that the deerskin jacket of his dreams is the answer to all of his problems, Georges’ delusions gradually increase each time he wears it, edging his obsession closer to a violent delirium.
Director: Alexis Michalik
Cast: Thomas Solivérès, Olivier Gourmet, Mathilde Seigner, Dominique Pinon
Paris, 1897. Although not yet thirty and clearly gifted as a writer, Edmond Rostand already has two children, many anxieties, but scant literary success. When given three weeks to write a play for a mercurial star of the stage, all he has is the title, Cyrano de Bergerac. Can he accomplish the impossible?
Director: André Téchiné
Cast: Catherine Deneuve, Kacey Mottet Klein
Muriel, a respected member of her idyllic local community, is horrified to discover that her visiting grandson, who claims to be heading to Canada for work, has in reality been radicalised by Islamist extremists. His plans to fight for ISIS in Syria expose this ordinary woman to a moral dilemma of heart-breaking proportions.
HOUSE OF CARDIN
Directors: P. David Ebersole, Todd Hughes
Synonymous with glamour, refinement and sophistication, this documentary provides a rare glimpse into the world of a 20th century icon. Allowing unprecedented access to his personal archives, we follow Cardin from his birth in the Italian countryside circa 1922, to his move to France where he made his name in fashion.
HOW TO BE A GOOD WIFE (La bonne épouse)
Director: Martin Provost
Cast: Juliette Binoche, Yolande Moreau, Noémie Lvovsky, Edouard Baer
In 1968 amidst the lush regions of Alsace, the head of a housekeeping school that transforms teenage girls into ideal housewives, has her pristine life implode when she encounters her long-lost first love whilst simultaneously learning that her business is on the brink of financial ruin.
IN THE NAME OF THE LAND (Au nom de la terre)
Director: Edouard Bergeon
Cast: Guillaume Canet, Veerle Baetens, Anthony Bajon
Returning to France in the late 70s, Pierre marries his sweetheart and takes over his father’s farm. But twenty years onwards, Pierre is exhausted. With mounting debt, what was once satisfying begins to take an insidious toll on his family who risk being torn apart by the property that binds them, in this powerful tale of resilience.
LA BELLE ÉPOQUE
Director: Nicolas Bedos
Cast: Daniel Auteuil, Guillaume Canet, Doria Tiller
Disillusioned, his long-term marriage on the rocks, a man is given a second chance when he encounters a company offering a unique theatrical service that enables customers to revisit memories through carefully orchestrated re-enactments, thus allowing him to return to 1974 and the peak of his happiness.
THE LOST PRINCE (Le prince oublié)
Director: Michel Hazanavicius
Cast: Omar Sy, Bérénice Bejo, François Damiens
Djibi, a devoted single father, transforms into a heroic Prince in the nightly fairy-tales he tells his beloved 7 year-old daughter, Sofia. But as the years pass, Sofia is ready for her own stories with different heroes. But is the Prince ready to become just a memory of his daughter’s childhood?
LOVE AT SECOND SIGHT (Mon inconnue)
Director: Hugo Gélin
Cast: François Civil, Joséphine Japy, Benjamin Lavernhe
After waking in a parallel universe, Raphaël finds his wife, Olivia, is nowhere to be seen and his professional achievements have vanished. Without Olivia, his life is empty, but winning her back proves harder than he could have imagined – especially when he realises she doesn’t even know who he is!
Director: Yvan Attal
Cast: Yvan Attal, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eric Ruf
Henri, a writer in the depths of a mid-life crisis who hasn’t released a successful book in 25 years, strikes-up an unconventional friendship with a stray, bad-mannered dog who inspires him and his dysfunctional family to re-examine their lives and attitudes towards each other.
THE MYSTERY OF HENRI PICK (Le mystère Henri Pick)
Director: Rémi Bezançon
Cast: Fabrice Luchini, Camille Cottin, Alice Isaaz
The late Henry Pick, in life an unassuming Breton pizza marker, is celebrated as a brilliant author when a lost manuscript, attributed to him, becomes a literary success. But one outspoken intellectual thinks the whole thing is a sham, and, after losing his wife, his job and his prominence due to his opinion, decides to uncover the truth.
ONLY THE ANIMALS (Seules les bêtes)
Director: Dominik Moll
Cast: Denis Ménochet, Laure Calamy, Damien Bonnard
Set in an isolated town in the lush, wintery mountains of southern France, the film opens with the departure of Evelyne, a local woman whose disappearance during a snowstorm soon reveals itself as murder. This act of violence gradually unveils the hidden agendas of several locals, setting the unexpected into motion.
Director: Alice Winocour
Cast: Eva Green, Zélie Boulant- Lemesle, Matt Dillon
As the only woman in the European Space Agency astronaut-training program, single mother Sarah struggles with guilt over the limited time spent with her young daughter, which escalates when she’s invited upon a year-long space mission – Proxima – forcing her to choose between her work and her child.
ROOM 212 (Chambre 212)
Director: Christophe Honoré
Cast: Chiara Mastroianni, Benjamin Biolay, Vincent Lacoste
After Maria reveals a long history of affairs to her husband, she opts to spend the night at a hotel opposite their home. But this is a “magical night”, and it’s not long before time collapses upon itself opening a window into the past where young passions are revisited and the very concept of love, questioned.
Director: Justine Triet
Cast: Virginie Efira, Adèle Exarchopoulos, Gaspard Ulliel
Dissatisfied with her life, Sibyl, a psychiatrist, decides to pursue her dream of becoming a writer. Casting professional ethics aside, she secretly uses the private sessions of her actress patient, Margot, as inspiration for her novel, a decision that irreversibly impacts upon both their lives.
SPREAD YOUR WNGS (Donne-moi des ailes)
Director: Nicolas Vanier
Cast: Jean-Paul Rouve, Mélanie Doutey, Louis Vazquez
Christian, a visionary scientist, studies wild birds. For his son, a teenager obsessed with video games, the idea of spending a vacation with his father in the middle of nature is a nightmare. However, father and son soon bond over a daring project to save an endangered species, which takes them on an incredible journey.
THE SWALLOWS OF KABUL (Les hirondelles de Kaboul)
Directors: Zabou Breitman, Éléa Gobbé-Mévellec
Voice: Simon Abkarian, Zita Hanrot, Swann Arlaud
Based on the cherished novel of the same name, this critically acclaimed, animated drama follows two couples living in the Afghan capital during the 90s and the impact Taliban rule has on each relationship. Through their individual love stories, unforgettable characters emerge amid the devastating impact of armed combat.
THE TRANSLATORS (Les traducteurs)
Director: Régis Roinsard
Cast: Lambert Wilson, Olga Kurylenko, Riccardo Scamarcio
Nine language experts, hired to translate the final book of a bestselling trilogy, are in lockdown within a luxurious bunker. But when the top-secret manuscript’s first ten pages appear online, their dream job implodes. The culprit has to amongst them and the publisher is ready to do whatever it takes to unmask who it is.
TWO OF US (Deux)
Director: Filippo Meneghetti
Cast: Barbara Sukowa, Martine Chevallier, Léa Drucker
In this emotionally compelling tale, pensioners Nina and Madeleine have hidden their deep and passionate love for many decades, but their bond is tested when circumstances trigger a series of events, preventing them from moving freely between each other’s apartments.
Director: Cathy Verney
Cast: Romain Duris, Céline Sallette, Florence Thomassin, Julie Fournier
When Vernon Subutex, an unemployed former owner of a once legendary record shop, is evicted from his flat, he’s helped by old friend rock star Alex Bleach. But Bleach’s sudden death makes Vernon a deadly target when it’s discovered that he’s in possession of 3 mysterious videotapes owned by Bleach.
WE’LL END UP TOGETHER (Nous finirons ensemble)
Director: Guillaume Canet
Cast: François Cluzet, Marion Cotillard, Gilles Lellouche, Laurent Lafitte
About to turn 60, nearly broke and estranged from his former friends, restaurateur Max embraces solitude at his soon-to-be-sold beach house. So when his ex-buddies arrive for a surprise celebration, he turns them away. But this cannot be – something has to be done! The sequel to 2010’s star-studded comedy, LITTLE WHITE LIES.
Director: Bertrand Bonello
Cast: Louise Labèque, Wislanda Louimat, Adilé David, Ninon François
Haiti, 1962…A man is resurrected from the dead and trapped in a nightmare of slavery. Modern-day Paris…Haitian teen Mélissa, the new girl at an elite school, is invited to join a secret ‘literary sorority’. But the incendiary family secret she harbours becomes a source of fascination to others, who exploit her heritage with shocking results.
National dates and venues for the 2020 Alliance Française French Film Festival are:
10 March – 8 April
Palace Norton Street, Palace Verona, Chauvel Cinema, Palace Central & Hayden Orpheum Cremorne
11 March – 8 April
Palace Balwyn, Palace Brighton Bay, Palace Cinema Como, Palace Westgarth, Kino Cinemas & The Astor Theatre
11 March – 8 April
Palace Raine Square, Cinema Paradiso, Luna on SX,
Windsor Cinema & Camelot Outdoor Cinema
12 March – 8 April
Palace Electric Cinema
17 March -14 April
Palace Nova Eastend Cinemas, Palace Nova Prospect Cinema
18 March -14 April
Palace Barracks & Palace James Street
19 – 28 March
19 March – 1 April
Avoca Beach Picture Theatre
26 – 29 March
Riverside Theatres Parramatta
31 March – 12 April
Palace Byron Bay
17 – 19 April
17 -19 April
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ “Frozen 2” has melted hearts around the world, becoming the No. 1 animated feature of all time. The follow-up to 2013’s hit Oscar®-winning Best Animated Feature, “Frozen,” comes home, with a sing-along version and all-new extras, on Digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD™ on Feb. 26, and physically on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and DVD on March. 4.
“Frozen 2” bonus features include deleted scenes, deleted songs, Easter eggs, outtakes and a sing-along version with lyrics to the film’s forever-infectious songs. Extras invite viewers to go behind-the-scenes to hear personal, making-of stories from the “Frozen 2” cast and crew. Fans who bring the film home early on Digital will receive two exclusive extras: an interview with songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who won an Oscar® for Best Original Song (“Let It Go,” 2014) and wrote seven original songs for “Frozen 2,” and a deleted song titled “Unmeltable Me.”
In “Frozen 2,” the answer to why Elsa was born with magical powers is calling her and threatening her kingdom. Together with Anna, Kristoff, Olaf and Sven, she sets out on a dangerous but remarkable journey. In “Frozen,” Elsa feared her powers were too much for the world. In the highly anticipated sequel, she must hope they are enough. From the Academy Award®-winning team—directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, producer Peter Del Vecho and songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez—“Frozen 2” features the voices of Idina Menzel, Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and Josh Gad.
Summary: When the world’s best spy is turned into a pigeon, he must rely on his nerdy tech officer to save the world.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 1st January 2020
Thailand Cinema Release Date: 9th January 2020
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Nick Bruno, Troy Quane
Screenwriter: Brad Copeland, Lloyd Taylor
Cast: Rachel Brosnahan (Wendy (voice), Jarrett Bruno (Young Walter/Pigeon Voice (voice)), Min-Hyuck Jang (Joon (voice)), DJ Khaled (Ears (voice)), Karen Gillan (Eyes (voice)), Tom Holland (Walter (voice)), Carla Jimenez (Geraldine (voice)), Rashida Jones (Macy (voice)), Peter S. Kim (Joon (voice)), Reba McEntire (Joyless (voice)), Ben Mendelsohn (Killian (voice)), Masi Oka (Kimura (voice)), Will Smith (Lance (voice)), Youn So (Soo-Min (voice)), Randy Trager (Terrance/Pigeon Voice (voice)),
Running Time: 102 mins
Classification: PG (Australia) G (Thailand)
Dave Griffiths Review:
A film where a super-hero turns into a pigeon shouldn’t work, no even the notion of such a film would probably have you laughing and wondering whether or not the film deserves to be placed in the same pile as the ridiculous Sharknado. But let the laughter subside because somehow Spies In Disguise not only works but is pure entertainment from start to finish.
The fact that the film works is probably good news for Will Smith (Men In Black) who certainly needs a winner after the absolute shocker that was Gemini Man. In this animation Smith voices Lance Sterling, the greatest spy the world has ever seen. However Sterling’s career is placed in jeopardy when he comes up against arch-villain Killian (Ben Mendolsohn – Ready Player One) who frames Sterling and makes it look like he is using a killer drone to do his own dirty work.
Sterling vows to clear his name when he is confronted by an eager young agent named Marcy Kappel (Rashida Jones – The Social Network) who is hellbent on arresting him. However when Sterling is escaping he is forced to take the nerdy and socially inept inventor Walter (Tom Holland – Spider-Man: Far From Home) with him after he accidentally drinks a liquid that turns him into a pigeon. Now with the lives of many in danger it is up to the Sterling pigeon and the out-of-his-depth Walter to try and save the day.
Like we mentioned previously the whole film’s premise sounds so far out of this world that it simply wouldn’t work, but somehow the screenplay by Brad Copeland (Wild Hogs) and Lloyd Taylor (The Wild) pulls everything together and has it work perfectly. To put it simply the film works because Copeland and Taylor never try to make this film anything that it’s not. They know the premise of the film is ridiculous and they simply go with that ‘flow.’ When Sterling is in human form they make the film a serviceable James Bond parody and when he is pigeon form they are gifted enough comedy writers to be able to introduce an influx of bird jokes and slap-stick comedy that is actually funny.
Perhaps the most important thing though is that Copeland and Taylor alongside the film’s two directors Nick Bruno (first time director) and Troy Quane (The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol) have given this film heart. Never at any time when you watch this film do you feel that this was a film made just to generate some cash at the box office. Yes despite the whole ridiculous nature of the film’s premise from start to finish this feels like a film that was made by a group of people who genuinely believed in the story at hand. The result is a film that will be lapped up by its audience as it goes from a moment of true comedy through to a far-fetched action sequence that totally works and will then rest for a moment as it explores the notion that Walter is actually emotionally hurt by some of the more traumatic events that have occurred during his life. It is moments like that that makes Spies In Disguise resonate so well with its audience.
The team behind this film also completely nailed the voice casting of the film. Will Smith is the absolute perfect choice to play a cooler-than-cool spy while Tom Holland shows real style as he branches out and gives Walter real characterisation through his vocal work alone. At no point in the film did his unique Spider-Man voice become apparent which was something I was worried about when first sitting down to watch the film.
While expecting very little from Spies In Disguise this was one animation that really surprised me. Like Teen Titans Go To The Movies and Planet 51 before it Spies In Disguise manages to overcome the obstacle of having a ridiculous premise and somehow becomes a film that reminds you just how magical cinema can be sometimes. While some of the violence of the film may not make it friendly for younger children this is certainly a film that will be enjoyed by kids who are older enough to sit down and enjoy something like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Maybe you still think Spies In Disguise sounds like a ridiculous waste of time but trust me you write off this film at your own peril.
Average Subculture Rating:
Other Subculture Entertainment Spies In Disguise Reviews:
You can read our Spies In Disguise review that appeared in ‘The Phuket News’ using this link – https://www.thephuketnews.com/spies-in-disguise-with-no-egrets-74415.php
Summary:A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery.
Australian Cinema Release Date: 3rd January 2019
Australian DVD Release Date: TBA
Country: United States
Director: Dean DeBlois
Screenwriter: Dean DeBlois, Cressida Cowell (book)
Cast: F. Murray Abraham (Grimmel (voice)), Jay Baruchel (Hiccup (voice)), Cate Blanchett (Valka (voice)), Gerard Butler (Stoick (voice)), Craig Ferguson (Gobber (voice)), America Ferrera (Astrid (voice)), Kit Harington (Eret (voice)), Jonah Hill (Snotlout Jordenson (voice)), Christopher Mintz-Plasse (Fishlegs (voice)), Olafur Darri Olafsson (Ragnor The Rock (voice)), Kristen Wiig (Ruffnut Thornston (voice))
Runtime: 104 mins
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