No. 1 of the Secret Service – Decoded!

Podcast Episode

No. 1 of the Secret Service – Decoded!

Dan and Tom break down NO 1. OF THE SECRET SERVICE, a goofy 1977 spy movie that spoofs spy movies, especially the James Bond series.

No 1 of the Secret Service is a goofy 1977 spy movie that spoofs spy movies, especially the James Bond series.

In their discussion Dan and Tom seek to find the answers to such world-impacting questions as:

  • He used WHAT to shave?
  • Where did we see that actor before?
  • Instead of throwing his hat on the hatrack, No. 1 did what?
  • Where did they come up with the name Charles Bind?
  • Did this movie influence Moonraker?
  • And more…

All totalled, we point out over 17 call-backs to the James Bond movies in this spoof.

Dan and Tom disagree about No 1 of the Secret Service. So, take a listen to see if this is a movie you want to watch. Will it become one of your guilty pleasures?

Ideas/Comment? info@spymovienavigator.com

Website Episode Page: https://bit.ly/3Frzn1N

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THE SECRET INVASION (1964) Decoded!

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THE SECRET INVASION (1964) Decoded!

Dan and Tom decode the movie THE SECRET INVASION (1964) looking at the action, the cast, the locations, the movie's influences, and more.

Join Dan and Tom as they dive into the 1964 World War II-based spy movie, THE SECRET INVASION (1964). Roger Corman directed this movie.

British Intelligence assembles a group of prisoners and gives them a chance to be pardoned. All they have to do is free an Italian general detained by the Nazis and survive.

Oh yeah, success is not going to be easy.

We decode THE SECRET INVASION (1964) looking at the plot, the cast, the action, the locations, and more. There is some very good acting in this one. And, we call out some great scenes that have been influenced by real life and other movies.

Ideas/Comments? Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

You can watch the The Secret Invasion here on Amazon Prime and rent it on other streaming services.

Website Episode Page: https://bit.ly/TheSecretInvasion

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No. 1 of the Secret Service – Decoded!

Dan and Tom break down NO 1. OF THE SECRET SERVICE, a goofy 1977 spy movie that spoofs spy movies, especially the James Bond series.

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The Adventures of Tartu – Decoded!

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The Adventures of Tartu – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they discuss eight great reasons why you should watch The Adventures of Tartu

A spy!  World War II! The Nazis making a deadly gas to use on England! Intrigue, deceit, brutality, executions, explosions, and a love story – all wrapped up into THE ADVENTURES OF TARTU!

Robert Donat and Valerie Hobson are the leads of this fun spy movie.

This movie follows a mission by a bomb disposal technician who is thrust into an espionage mission because of his language skills. Much like Donat’s role in The 39 Steps, the mission is mainly to find information (a chemical formula in this case), oh and to blow up a chemical plant.

Join Dan and Tom as they discuss eight great reasons why you should watch The Adventures of Tartu. The mission of this episode is to give you some background on the movie and to enhance your viewing of the movie. We’ll give you some things to look for while watching it.

The Adventures of Tartu was originally released in the UK under the title Sabotage Agent.

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Is ROGUE AGENT worth watching? Listen to our no-spoiler review to find out. We include some information to enhance your viewing experience.

This Rogue Agent review contains no spoilers.

Rogue Agent is a dramatization of the real-life story of Robert Freegard who is one of the most notorious con men in history. His story of manipulation, “kidnapping”, and theft is real and quite disturbing.

James Norton, Gemma Arterton, and Marisa Abela lead this fine cast with very good performances.

In our quick-fire review, we give you a no-spoiler look at this movie to help you determine if this movie is worth your time. Rogue Agent is likely to be one of those movies you will either love or hate. Our review will help guide you in your choice.

In addition, our Rogue Agent review is designed to enhance your viewing experience of the movie as we give you some background information the movie doesn’t.

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Is the new Netflix movie CARTER worth your time? We'll help you decide and enhance your viewing experience by giving you things to look for.

Cropped poster for the movie Carter

This 13-minute Quick-Fire no-spoiler review of the newest Netflix spy movie, Carter will help you decide if Carter is worth your time.  This Korean movie is a high-action spy thriller that we think you will either love or hate.  We’ll help you figure it out!

Our Quick-Fire reviews have no spoilers and are designed to enhance your viewing pleasure if you decide to see the movie. You will get more out of the movie by listening first!

You can listen to more of our podcasts either in your favorite podcast app or on our website’s podcast page.

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This movie is based on the the first bookof  author Mark Greaney’s Gray Man book series., Join us as we take a no-spoiler look at this movie.

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OPERATION MINCEMEAT Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

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Join Tom Pizzato as he gives you his no-spoiler review of the just released movie Operation Mincemeat. It's all about deception.

Deception: As spy movie fans, we know that deception is a key ingredient in espionage.

In World War II, the British tried many different forms of deception.  One of the most impactful deceptions from that war has inspired plot points in James Bond movies and was a key driver to the creation of the Hitchcock classic North by Northwest.

Deception also is the basis of the just-released movie Operation Mincemeat.

Join Tom Pizzato as he gives you his no-spoiler review!

Comments: info@spymovienavigator.com

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BLACKLIGHT – Our no spoiler, quick-fire review

Contributed by: Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato - Spy Movie Navigator

Posted on
“I was disappointed.  It wasn’t really entertaining” that was a quote we heard from an audience member at the end of the just-released movie, Blacklight. Was it a valid comment? Keep reading for our thoughts. As usual with our quick-fire reviews, we won’t be giving any spoilers in this review. Our goal is to give you our high-level thoughts on the movie, let you know if we think it is worth your time, and talk about any influences on this movie from real-life or other movies. In our January 2022 Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Blacklight was coming out this February and was the only spy movie to be scheduled for this February.  Well, it has just been released.

The Plot

The official website for the Blacklight says: “In BLACKLIGHT, LIAM NEESON is Travis Block, an operative whose discovery of a dark secret pits him against the FBI director he once swore to protect.” So, he’s an operative for a government agency and will have a conflict with his boss.  Yeah, we’ve seen that before. Travis Block, played by Neeson is a “fixer” for FBI director Gabriel Robinson.  When a deep-cover agent has a problem Robinson sends Travis to get them out.  He works “off the books.” Block has known and trusted Robinson for a very long time. Robinson also kept Travis out of a heap of trouble in an incident when they served together in the Vietnam War. That gives us an important plot point. There is a subplot involving Travis’ relationship with his daughter, Amanda, and his granddaughter Natalie.  Travis wasn’t a great father figure because he was gone all the time and is suspicious of everything.  He tries to make amends with his granddaughter in this movie. We all know that in a Liam Neeson action movie you don’t mess with his family.  We could be wrong with this, but we think this family thing was added after Neeson was hired. There wasn’t much reason for them to be there for the story.  Neeson fans want him to go after whoever messes with his family so, from a marketing perspective, this makes sense. The next plot point we’ll mention could be considered a spoiler, but since it is in the trailer, we feel fine talking about it.  The US government is killing innocent civilians under the guise of protecting democracy.  This becomes central to the plot of the movie and is likely where the movie gets its name.  We didn’t hear “blacklight” mentioned as a word in the movie.   We might have missed it but we were listening for it.  There is mention of infrared light, but they didn’t call it blacklight.  We suppose the title was given as light was being shone on this government behavior. A reporter called Mira Jones starts to suspect this is happening and is given reason to believe it is true.  She ends up meeting with Travis to try to figure things out.  And that sets up the story.

The Cast

The movie stars Liam Neeson as Travis Block, Aidan Quinn as FBI director Gabriel Robinson, Emmy Raver-Lampman as Mira Jones, Taylor John Smith as Dusty Crane, and Claire van der Boom as Travis’ daughter Amanda.

The Influences

At Spy Movie Navigator we talk about how scenes in spy movies are influenced by other movies or by real-life events.  So, let’s look at some of those influences. We’ll start this part of the discussion by saying this movie is pretty cliché.  There are the obligatory vehicle chases, fistfights, a big plot twist, a subordinate having a problem with a boss, and since this is a Liam Neeson movie, an issue with his family. Those things are in most spy movies, so it is hard to pick scene by scene on those. One scene had what we think was a great call-back to both the James Bond movie, On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and the Harry Palmer movie, The Ipcress File. Travis Block shows up at his boss’ Gabriel Robinson’s house while Robinson is working in his garden.   In The Ipcress File, Harry goes to Ross’ house as Ross is tending to his garden. In On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, Bond goes to M’s house while M is tending to his butterfly collection.  So, all three of these movies have the spy going to his boss's house while the boss was working on a hobby. We liked that touch. It gives a little more background into the characters.  Plus, most spy movies don't show the lead spy at their boss's house. As for the vehicle chases, there are two major chases in this movie.  One involves a Porsche vs some sort of Chevrolet SUV.  We couldn’t tell the model.  This was very cliché and somehow the Porsche couldn’t easily outrun the SUV. The second chase had Travis’ Dodge Challenger chasing a garbage truck.  It was almost humorous the way the Challenger tried to battle the garbage truck.  That said, we did like this chase.  It was a nice twist on the chase trope. Speaking of Travis’ car: this Dodge Challenger was loud, like really loud.   Yet, he would drive it to places where he needed to go unnoticed.  It seemed like an odd car choice for him. Now, the most obvious call-back to scenes being influenced by other movies has to be with Travis’ family.   From an action movie perspective, Liam Neeson is best known for the Taken trilogy.  That’s probably also his best work in this genre.  In those movies, he needs to find or protect a member of his family. The audience will expect something similar in this movie because, although Neeson’s character has a different name, it is still Liam Neeson’s character using his very particular set of skills.  The trailer leads one to believe this is a huge part of the plot.  In fact, before we saw the movie, we expected this Quick-Fire review to spend all of its time talking about how this was just another Liam Neeson-as-Bryan Mills movie.  Well, fortunately, we were wrong about that part.  There is still a family issue in this movie, but it doesn’t manifest itself until about 2/3 of the way through the movie.  So, while important, it isn’t the main plot of the movie. That’s good in our opinion.

Our Thoughts

So, what are our overall thoughts on Blacklight?  Was that quote at the beginning of this review accurate? It wasn’t a terrible movie, but it was cliché and a bit boring for an action movie.

What We Liked

Now, that said, let’s talk about some of the things we liked about Blacklight. The first highlight for us is Emmy Raver-Lampman who plays reporter Mira Jones.  Although her part wasn’t well written (most of this movie has this problem), we liked Emmy in this role.  You may know her as Allison in the Netflix series “The Umbrella Academy”.  She was also on Broadway in “Hamilton” among other shows. We weren’t familiar with her and thought she did a very good job here. She stood out for us. Aidan Quinn was another high point.  He’s an actor who always delivers good work. Again, his part wasn’t well written, but Quinn stole almost every scene he was in. Another actor who we want to call out is Georgia Flood who plays Pearl.  This is a small role, but she lit up the screen every time she was on it. As for Liam Neeson, if you liked him as Bryan Mills in Taken, you’ll like him here. Yes, he is 69 years old and doesn’t run as well as he did in Taken, but he knows how to play that character.  In our review of The Last Mercenary, we talked about how an older Jean Claude Van Dame could still deliver on his character-type, albeit a bit slower.  The same thing holds here.  The actor knows how to deliver this type of character, so age just means there isn’t quite as much oomph. We already mentioned that we liked the chase between the Challenger and the garbage truck. Another thing we liked was where they didn’t take us.  And they almost did. The movie opens with a politician, Sofia Flores giving a speech.  It was a typical left-leaning speech that we would expect from a Democratic candidate here in the US.  She was quite obviously there to make the US audience think about U.S. Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (or AOC as she’s usually called).   It made us think “oh, oh”, this movie is going to be all about left-leaning politics, which in the US would irritate half the audience. They then balance that with the next scene where a, what we’ll call “a right-leaning mob”, has a deep-cover agent trapped in her motor home. This scene also had the biggest and best explosion in the movie. They could have taken these two scenes and created a preachy woke movie - and they didn’t.  The conservative vs. the liberal rhetoric ended very quickly.  Given the polarity of these types of topics in the US, it was good they moved off of it. We also liked the overall score.  Mark Isham’s soundtrack works for this movie. Um, that’s about it in terms of the positives.

What Went Wrong?

So, what was the movie’s problem? What didn’t we like? Mainly, in our opinion the script was weak.  There wasn’t much to it.  This could have easily been an hour or 90-minute made-for-tv movie instead of trying to be a Hollywood blockbuster.  It was a ho-hum, “check off the list” of what a Neesom action movie has become. The screenplay was credited to Nick May, his first screenplay and it felt like it. Here are a few examples of some of the lines from the movie to back up our thoughts:
  • “Everything I did was for you”
  • “You aren’t really going to shoot me” the response: “Yes I will”
  • “I suspect I made a poor career choice”
  • “If I find out you had anything to do with my granddaughter disappearing, you’re going to need more men”
  • “You are my weapon. You work for me.”
Yeah, not scintillating stuff. And that’s the problem with the movie. It didn’t grab us. The “big twist” you see in these types of movies, comes out early in Blacklight and Travis Block takes a long time to figure it out. It is very obvious which might be why they give it away early. We hate when the twist comes out early.  Please keep us in suspense further into the movie. We think that May should probably stick to his role as an Assistant Director at the Federal Trade Commission, here in the US. The trailer was also a problem.  Marketing teams never seem to learn.  They blow it for this movie.  In Blacklight, they give away the big twist in the trailer.  It’s like in The Kingsmen: The Golden Circle where the trailer shows Harry was back in the movie after everyone thought he was dead in the first Kingsmen movie. Marketing showed Harry in the trailer which ruined the surprise.  Trailers are supposed to get us excited to see the movie, not give away major twists. The trailer also shows Travis walking into an empty house. He says, “Where’s my family?” This leads you to believe this is another version of the Taken series.  It isn’t. Here's another annoying thing:  Travis Block had OCD which mainly manifested itself by showing him needing to do things three times in a row.  That said, there is no backstory on it.  He just does some things three times in a row.  Someone makes a comment on it, but the behavior isn't explained. Also, this movie could have been called “The Gang That Couldn’t Shoot Straight”, but that comedy was made in 1971. We don’t know how many bullets get fired in this movie but probably 99% of them didn’t hit their target.  What is it with spy movies?  Can’t anyone shoot?  We often complain about this in our podcast episodes.  A lot of bullets fly but people either never get shot or it takes 100 bullets to do it. Another thing that drove us nuts was the cinematography or the editing, we’re not sure which it was.  Shelly Johnson was the Cinematographer.  He has an excellent resume as does the Editor, Michael Shawver.  Fairly often there were visual glitches where it looked like the shot would back up a half a second and then go forward.  It almost felt like the film was given a strong shake at this point. This was definitely a choice made either in filming or editing as it was consistent and other reviewers have commented on it, usually negatively. When we edit our videos, we use an editing package that has glitch effects built in.  We hate glitch effects. It felt like that’s what we saw here, and it was distracting.  Often, they are used for transitions but that wasn’t the case here. It didn’t seem to serve a purpose and was just annoying. Then there was another pet peeve of ours.  In one scene a guy walks across a wet floor in an indoor parking garage.  He gets in his Porsche and drives out onto bone-dry streets.  We know they like to shoot on wet pavement as some people think it looks better than dry pavement on the screen with the reflection.  However, when he starts walking in the garage, we were thinking, why is the floor wet?  He’s indoors.  It wasn’t raining in the garage and when he got outside the roads were dry, so it wasn’t raining out there either.  It was just odd.  If it was wet outside, this would have made sense.

A Few More Thoughts

There are a few additional things we’d like to quickly point out.  The first has to do with the filming of this movie.  Although the story’s location was Washington D.C., the movie was filmed in Australia. Given that, most of the supporting roles were played by Australian actors.  We liked that.   This was filmed during the COVID pandemic so that makes sense.  Plus, we like to see local actors used in movies. Next, in the credits there was a team assigned to COVID issues. That was a sign of our times.  We wonder what we’ll think of that if we rewatch this movie in a few years. And finally, the age of the audience was interesting to us.  This is an action movie.  And it stars 69-year-old Liam Neeson.   Ok, this is a very, very small dataset to work with as there were only 5 other people in the theater when we went.  We went to the 5:00 pm showing on the advanced viewing day.  That said, I’m 59 and was at least 10 years younger than any of the other 5 people in the audience.  Is Liam drawing an older audience than what we usually see for action movies, or was this an anomaly?  We don’t know but it is an interesting data point to us.  This Blacklight audience seemed a lot older than what was in the audience when we saw No Time To Die.  We know the James Bond series is fighting their demographics and working to draw in younger viewers.   Neeson may be struggling with that. So, let’s get back to the quote from that audience member about Blacklight that opened this article: “I was disappointed.  It wasn’t really entertaining.”  We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato are the creators of the website SpyMovieNavigator.com.  We create podcasts, YouTube videos, and more focusing on spy movies.  Our podcast and our YouTube channel share the name “Cracking the Code of Spy Movies”! You can follow us on Facebook, Twitter (@SpyNavigator), and Instagram too! And we welcome you to join our private Facebook group, The Worldwide Community of Spy Movie Fans!
BLACKLIGHT- Quick-Fire No Spoiler Review

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BLACKLIGHT- Quick-Fire No Spoiler Review

Join us as we are Cracking the Code of the movie BLACKLIGHT starring Liam Neeson.  We'll guide you as to whether it is worth your time. 

Another Liam Neeson action movie called Blacklight has just been released.  Is it another sequel to the Taken series?

Join us as we are Cracking the Code of the movie Blacklight.  We’ll answer that question and guide you as to whether it is worth your time.

Given that this is one of our Quick-Fire Reviews, there will be NO SPOILERS!

Ideas: Info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

We give you a no spoiler look at the following from Blacklight:

  • The basic Plot
  • How similar is it to Liam Neeson’s Taken trilogy?
  • Who is the cast?
  • What worked?
  • What didn’t work?
  • And More …

 


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Join us as we’re Cracking the Code of the just released Netflix movie Red Notice. No Spoilers!

Code Name Banshee – Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

CODE NAME BANSHEE is a new action movie starring Jaime King and Antonio Banderas, Join us as we take a no-spoiler look at this movie.

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RED NOTICE: A Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers!

Podcast Episode

RED NOTICE: A Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers!

Join us as we’re Cracking the Code of the just released Netflix movie Red Notice. No Spoilers!

Cleopatra’s Eggs, Deep Fakes, call outs to Indiana Jones, Mission: Impossible and James Bond, Ryan Reynolds playing, well Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson playing what he usually plays, and Gal Gadot playing a key role all lead us to our quick-fire no spoiler review of Red Notice.

Join us as we’re Cracking the Code of the just released Netflix movie Red Notice. No Spoilers!

Ideas/Feedback: info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

In this podcast, we look at:

  • The impact of Netflix releasing Red Notice in theaters
  • First weekend sales woes
  • The performances by Ryan Reynolds, Dwayne Johnson, and Gal Gadot
  • Supporting standout performances by Ritu Arya and Chris Diamantopolous
  • How the role of Nolan Booth was disappointing
  • Scenes potentially influenced by Moonraker, Octopussy, Mission: Impossible, and Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark.
  • And more…

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BLACKLIGHT- Quick-Fire No Spoiler Review

Join us as we are Cracking the Code of the movie BLACKLIGHT starring Liam Neeson.  We'll guide you as to whether it is worth your time. 

The Gray Man – Review – No Spoilers

Join us as we take a no-spoiler look at the new Netflix movie, The Gray Man, based on Mark Greaney's popular book series.

Charlie’s Angels (2019) – A Quick-Fire Look

Join Tom and Dan in Cracking the Code of Spy Movies! Here we take a Quick-Fire look at the new 2019 movie, Charlie's Angels and analyze its originality, what movies influenced it and what the overall impression is.

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The Protégé – A Quick-Fire, No Spoilers Review

Podcast Episode

The Protégé – A Quick-Fire, No Spoilers Review

Join us for our quick-fire, no spoiler look at the new espionage movie The Protégé, starring Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, and Samuel L. Jackson.

 

Michael Keaton, Maggie Q and Samuel L. Jackson headline the just released (August 2021) espionage move, The Protégé.

Lots of relationships to other spy movies are highlighted including tropes, dialogue, style and more.

Here’s our Quick-fire, No Spoilers look at The Protégé!

 Feedback: info@SpyMovieNavigator.com

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TENET (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

NO SPOILERS!  SpyMovieNavigator's co-host, Vicki Hodges, lives in the UK and she saw Tenet on opening day there, August 26 2020.   Here is a Quick-Fire look at the movie, with NO SPOILERS!

OPERATION MINCEMEAT Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers

Join Tom Pizzato as he gives you his no-spoiler review of the just released movie Operation Mincemeat. It's all about deception.

BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire, No Spoiler Reaction!

Join Tom and Vicky as have a no-spoiler discussion about the major release from Marvel, BLACK WIDOW which is out in theaters now, and steaming through Disney+ for subscribers who pay extra to see at release time.

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THE LAST MERCENARY – A Quick-Fire No-Spoilers Look!

Podcast Episode

THE LAST MERCENARY – A Quick-Fire No-Spoilers Look!

Join Tom Pizzato in our no-spoiler Quick-Fire l look at the new spy movie that released at the end of July, 2021 - THE LAST MERCENARY!

 

Jean-Claude Van Damme is an old ex-secret agent, car chases, bullet-proof tuxedos, child/parent issues, a Big Mac, and a fun ending fight scene round out the latest Netflix spy movie release, THE LAST MERCENARY!

Join Tom Pizzato in our No Spoiler Quick-Fire podcast!

Subscribe to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show through your favorite podcast app, and on YouTube!

This podcast is a no-spoilers look at the new movie The Last Mercenary.  We examine:

  • The quality of the movie
  • The high-level plot
  • The movie’s comedy
  • How this movie makes us a bit afraid of No Time To Die
  • Callbacks to other spy movies
  • The role of the movie Scarface
  • The actors in the movie
  • The car chases
  • The MacGuffin
  • and more …

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Carter – A No-Spoiler Review

Is the new Netflix movie CARTER worth your time? We'll help you decide and enhance your viewing experience by giving you things to look for.

The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Join us as we take a quick-fire look at the spy thriller, THE COURIER, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze!

The Gray Man – Review – No Spoilers

Join us as we take a no-spoiler look at the new Netflix movie, The Gray Man, based on Mark Greaney's popular book series.

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BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire , No Spoiler Reaction! – Video

Join Tom and Vicky as they talk about the major release from Marvel, BLACK WIDOW.  This movie is out in theaters now.  And, you can steam it through Disney+ for subscribers who pay extra to see at release time. Tom and Vicky will give some viewing tips and insights, but NO SPOILERS! Subscribe to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show right now through your favorite podcast app and don't miss out on an episode you may love!
BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire, No Spoiler Reaction!

Podcast Episode

BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire, No Spoiler Reaction!

Join Tom and Vicky as have a no-spoiler discussion about the major release from Marvel, BLACK WIDOW which is out in theaters now, and steaming through Disney+ for subscribers who pay extra to see at release time.

Join Tom and Vicky as they talk about the major release from Marvel, BLACK WIDOW which is out in theaters now, and steaming through Disney+ for subscribers who pay extra to see at release time.

Tom and Vicky will give some viewing tips and insights, but NO SPOILERS!

Subscribe to our Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show right now through your favorite podcast app and don’t miss out on an episode you may love!

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Tom and Vicky discuss the following about Black Widow:

  • The Plot
  • The Cast
  • Other movies which likely had an influence on Black Widow
  • The post-pandemic theater experience
  • Release Schedule
  • and More – With NO SPOILERS!

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The Protégé – A Quick-Fire, No Spoilers Review

Join us for our quick-fire, no spoiler look at the new espionage movie The Protégé, starring Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, and Samuel L. Jackson.

The Adventures of Tartu – Decoded!

Join Dan and Tom as they discuss eight great reasons why you should watch The Adventures of Tartu

The King’s Man – A Quick-Fire Review

Here's our no-spoiler review of the newest spy movie, THE KING'S MAN. This is the Prequel and origin story for the Kingsman series.

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Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Cliff Walkers – A Quick-Fire Look

Podcast Episode

Cliff Walkers – A Quick-Fire Look

Join us as we take a no-spoiler, quick-fire look into the latest spy movie, CLIFF WALKERS.

 

Join us as we take a no-spoiler, quick-fire look into the latest spy movie, CLIFF WALKERS.

Set in the 1930’s, CLIFF WALKERS is an espionage movie about four Chinese agents trying to extract a prisoner from Japanese occupied Manchukuo. There are numerous plot twists and double-crosses which should intrigue any spy movie fan.

You can send us your comments at info@spymovienavigator.com.

In keeping with our no-spoiler approach to our Quick-Fire podcasts of movies just after they release, we discuss:

  • The beautiful cinematography
  • The English subtitles
  • The acting
  • The tortures
  • The plot at a high-level, no-spoiler view
  • Where some of the plot-points may have gotten their inspiration based on earlier spy movies and real-world events
  • And more …

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Charlie’s Angels (2019) – A Quick-Fire Look

Join Tom and Dan in Cracking the Code of Spy Movies! Here we take a Quick-Fire look at the new 2019 movie, Charlie's Angels and analyze its originality, what movies influenced it and what the overall impression is.

MY SPY (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom in Cracking the Code of My Spy - the first spy movie released by a major studio in 2020 - and it's not in theaters!  It's on Amazon Prime!

TENET (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

NO SPOILERS!  SpyMovieNavigator's co-host, Vicki Hodges, lives in the UK and she saw Tenet on opening day there, August 26 2020.   Here is a Quick-Fire look at the movie, with NO SPOILERS!

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Spy Movies For Kids – behind the PG rating of SPIES IN DISGUISE!

Podcast Episode

Spy Movies For Kids – behind the PG rating of SPIES IN DISGUISE!

In this 7 1/2 minute podcast, we look into the 2019 spy movie for kids, Spies in Disguise and show you why it has a PG rating.

In this 7 1/2 minute podcast, we look into the 2019 spy movie for kids, Spies in Disguise. This is a fun, family-friendly spy movie with a PG rating.

We know parents are always trying to understand the appropriateness of a movie for their children. Therefore, we crack the code as to what we think were the reasons for it’s MPAA rating of PG.

You can contact us at info@spymovienavigator.com. Please leave us a message and let us know what you think of this discussion. Are there other Spy Movies For Kids you’d like us to look into?

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Topics discussed:

  • MPAA’s PG rating reasoning: action, violence and rude humor
  • What parents thought on the CommonSenseMedia.org website
  • A look at the bad guy and some of the violence
  • The language used in the movie
  • “nudity” in the movie
  • alcohol use
  • and more…

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Charlie’s Angels (2019) – A Quick-Fire Look

Join Tom and Dan in Cracking the Code of Spy Movies! Here we take a Quick-Fire look at the new 2019 movie, Charlie's Angels and analyze its originality, what movies influenced it and what the overall impression is.

TENET (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

NO SPOILERS!  SpyMovieNavigator's co-host, Vicki Hodges, lives in the UK and she saw Tenet on opening day there, August 26 2020.   Here is a Quick-Fire look at the movie, with NO SPOILERS!

BLACK WIDOW – a Quick-Fire, No Spoiler Reaction!

Join Tom and Vicky as have a no-spoiler discussion about the major release from Marvel, BLACK WIDOW which is out in theaters now, and steaming through Disney+ for subscribers who pay extra to see at release time.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Spy Movies For Kids – Spies In Disguise – Why Is It Rated PG? – Podcast Video

Related: 10 Spy Movies for Kids and Your Whole Family

Related: Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

In this 7 1/2 minute podcast, we look into the 2019 spy movie for kids, Spies in Disguise. This is a fun, family-friendly spy movie with a PG rating. We know parents are always trying to understand the appropriateness of a movie for their children. Therefore, we crack the code as to what we think were the reasons for it's MPAA rating of PG. We also show you clips so you can see what caused the rating and make an informed decision. You can contact us at info@spymovienavigator.com. Please leave us a message and let us know what you think of this discussion. Are there other Spy Movies For Kids you'd like us to look into?

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10 Spy Movies for Kids and Your Whole Family

Here are 10 kid-friendly spy movies. As we all seem to be sheltering in place, these are some safe spy movies your family will enjoy.

Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

The latest animated spy movie just released. It's called Spies in Disguise. Tom and Dan Crack the Code of this spy movie and look at it's relationship to other spy movies.

The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Podcast Episode

The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Join us as we take a quick-fire look at the spy thriller, THE COURIER, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze!

Join us as we take a quick-fire look at the spy thriller, THE COURIER, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze!

NO SPOILERS!!!!

This movie is based on the real-world Cold War events surrounding the British Salesman, Greville Wynne, and a Russian diplomat, Oleg Penkovsky.

So, listen as we discuss the major themes of the movie.

Related Content

Leave us a comment either on our website, send us an email at info@spymovienavigator.com, or send us a voice mail by hitting the red button on the right that says Send Us A Voicemail.

Our no-spoiler Quick-Fire look at The Courier looks at:

  • The real-world story of Greville Wynne and Oleg Penkovsky
  • A brief discussion of the Cuban Missile Crisis which is a key plot point in the movie
  • How friendship and loyalty are important themes in this movie
  • The actors and their performances
  • What Would YOU do
  • and more …

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RED NOTICE: A Quick-Fire Review – No Spoilers!

Join us as we’re Cracking the Code of the just released Netflix movie Red Notice. No Spoilers!

The Gray Man – Review – No Spoilers

Join us as we take a no-spoiler look at the new Netflix movie, The Gray Man, based on Mark Greaney's popular book series.

Cliff Walkers – A Quick-Fire Look

Join us as we take a no-spoiler, quick-fire look into the latest spy movie, CLIFF WALKERS.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

TENET (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

Podcast Episode

TENET (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

NO SPOILERS!  SpyMovieNavigator's co-host, Vicki Hodges, lives in the UK and she saw Tenet on opening day there, August 26 2020.   Here is a Quick-Fire look at the movie, with NO SPOILERS!

NO SPOILERS! 

SpyMovieNavigator’s co-host, Vicki Hodges, lives in the UK and she saw Tenet on opening day there, August 26 2020.

Here is a Quick-Fire look at the movie, with NO SPOILERS!

So, join Dan, Tom and Vicki for this fun quick-fire look at Tenet!

In case you missed it, you can see the final trailer for Tenet here.

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THE LAST MERCENARY – A Quick-Fire No-Spoilers Look!

Join Tom Pizzato in our no-spoiler Quick-Fire l look at the new spy movie that released at the end of July, 2021 - THE LAST MERCENARY!

MY SPY (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

Watch the Video Version of this podcast Join Dan and Tom in Cracking the Code of My Spy - the first spy movie released by a major studio in 2020 - and it's not in theaters!  It's on Amazon Prime!

The Protégé – A Quick-Fire, No Spoilers Review

Join us for our quick-fire, no spoiler look at the new espionage movie The Protégé, starring Michael Keaton, Maggie Q, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

MY SPY (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

Podcast Episode

MY SPY (2020) – A Quick-Fire Look

Join Dan and Tom in Cracking the Code of My Spy - the first spy movie released by a major studio in 2020 - and it's not in theaters!  It's on Amazon Prime!

Join Dan and Tom in Cracking the Code of My Spy – the first spy movie released by a major studio in 2020 – and it’s not in theaters!  It’s on Amazon Prime!

The Quick-Fire Look will not giveaway the movie, but we will look at certain revelations and things to look for in the movie so you can enjoy it even more!  Join us in our My Spy review!

All our Podcasts are at: https://spymovienavigator.com/spy-movie-podcasts/

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In This episode we examine the movie My Spy. Some of the things we look at include:

  • The main characters of My Spy
  • JJ’s role in the CIA
  • The role of the cities Chicago and Toronto in the making of the movie
  • The music
  • The fight scene
  • Ties to movies like Spy Game, Bourne Identity, Quantum of Solace
  • Interesting references to other films – ET, Phone home?
  • Is JJ like James Bond?
  • And more …

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Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

The latest animated spy movie just released. It's called Spies in Disguise. Tom and Dan Crack the Code of this spy movie and look at it's relationship to other spy movies.

THE LAST MERCENARY – A Quick-Fire No-Spoilers Look!

Join Tom Pizzato in our no-spoiler Quick-Fire l look at the new spy movie that released at the end of July, 2021 - THE LAST MERCENARY!

BLACKLIGHT- Quick-Fire No Spoiler Review

Join us as we are Cracking the Code of the movie BLACKLIGHT starring Liam Neeson.  We'll guide you as to whether it is worth your time. 

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

The Spy Next Door (2010)

Podcast Episode

The Spy Next Door (2010)

Join Dan and Tom on their Cracking the Code of Spy Movies show. In this episode, they uncover some hidden connections in this fun comedy/spy movie for the whole family, The Spy Next Door!

This movie stars:

  • Jackie Chan as Bob Ho
  • Billie Ray Cyrus as Coltan James
  • George Lopez as Glaze
  • Amber Valletta as Gillian
  • Madeline Carrol as Farren
  • Will Shadley as Ian
  • Alina Foley as Nora

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In today’s show, we break down examples of where The Spy Next Store has been influenced by other spy movies.

  • The gadget closet in Kingsman: The Secret Service
  • Where the movie The Russians are Coming, The Russians are Coming is mimicked
  • The Jet Pack in Thunderball and Never Say Never Again
  • A shot in Dr. No which is very similar to one in The Spy Next Door.
  • A scene that highlights Parkour, like in Casino Royale.
  • An escape scene reminiscent of Licence to Kill.
  • A mole in the CIA, which we’ve seen with Jim Phelps in Mission: Impossible, Bill Haydon in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, among others
  • Bob Ho is retired and brought back in, like George Smiley in Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, and James Bond in a few movies, including the upcoming NO TIME TO DIE
  • Musical cues influenced by the James Bond series
  • A line about knowing women that reminds us of Thunderball
  • A call-out to Octopussy
  • An agent gets paid off to help a criminal escape like in Licence to Kill
  • Gadgets galore
  • and more!

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The Courier – A No-Spoiler Quick-Fire Look

Join us as we take a quick-fire look at the spy thriller, THE COURIER, starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Merab Ninidze!

Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

The latest animated spy movie just released. It's called Spies in Disguise. Tom and Dan Crack the Code of this spy movie and look at it's relationship to other spy movies.

The 355 – A Quick-Fire Review

Join us for our NO SPOILER review of THE 355, starring Jessica Chastain, Diane Kruger, Lupita Nyong'o, Penélope Cruz, and Bingbing Fan.

Keep current! Join Our Email List

Keep up to date with our latest and greatest spy movie finds. (See our Privacy Policy)

Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

Podcast Episode

Spies in Disguise – A Quick-Fire Look

The latest animated spy movie just released. It's called Spies in Disguise. Tom and Dan Crack the Code of this spy movie and look at it's relationship to other spy movies.

Join Tom and Dan, Cracking the Code of Spy Movies as they take a Quick-Fire look at the animated kids’ spy movie, SPIES IN DISGUISE, looking at how it relates to other spy movies, the plot, music, and message!  And there’s stuff in here for adults too!

Fun movie!  Take a listen!

Click here to see the Official Trailer

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Dan Silvestri:
Hi, this is Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato, join us as we’re Cracking The Code Of Spy Movies. Check us out on our website https://spymovienavigator.com and please subscribe to our show through your favorite podcast app. Happy holidays to all our listeners all around the world. We appreciate you listening and happy new year. Today we’re going to take a quick-fire look at the movie Spies in Disguise, which was released in the US on Christmas Day 2019.

Tom Pizzato:
This one’s a bit different than our normal movie discussion is. Spies in Disguise, it’s an animated movie really geared for kids. And Dan, as you know, we normally have been talking about non-kid based movies. Now this movie was actually based on this short animation film called Pigeon: Impossible which should kind of give you a hint as to what they were thinking. And that’s only a six-minute video. You can find it on YouTube.

Dan Silvestri:
All right: Now we’re not going to do one of our in-depth shows on this movie, but this movie is a great intro to spy movies for kids and adults have something to see here as well. Right, Tom?

Tom Pizzato:
Yeah, absolutely. This is definitely a movie that there’s stuff in there for the adults as well as the kids.

Dan Silvestri:
Now, Tom saw the movie, I’ve watched all the trailers and read some articles on the movie but Tom actually saw the movie. So he’s going to go through most of this stuff here. And I just want to say during the holiday season here, I’m just finishing off a pack of red velvet pizzelle Italian cookies, Tom, and yeah, you want one here? I’ve got the package here. Have some.

TOM: Yeah. I’m ok.

DAN: They’re delicious. They’re Italian waffle cookies by the way. And a cup of coffee. It’s like, Oh, that’s great. But I digress just a bit.

TOM: That’s a good way to go ahead and record a podcast, Dan, eat something.

DAN: So Tom’s going to tell you about the movie.

Tom Pizzato:
I’m going to actually start off by saying I saw the 2D version of this movie. There is a 3D version of this and from what I’ve heard online, you know, looking at reviews and listening to podcasts on it, the 3D is actually really good. Unfortunately, the timing we had on Christmas day, which is when I went the only one available at the time, we could go was the 2D showing. So you know, I can’t, I can’t really comment on the 3D but I have read good things about how they did that.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah, now Tom, you went with a family member to see Spies in Disguise. We talked about it a little bit before, but why did you go see it? And it really is a kid’s movie, right?

Tom Pizzato:
Yeah. It’s a cartoon. But why did I go to it? I believe our website is called SpyMovieNavigator.com. And this is a spy movie. And I think we shouldn’t really distinguish between whether it’s an adult movie or a kid movie. And so I wanted to see what it was and quite honestly, I was pretty curious after looking at the trailers how this thing was going to work out.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah. Yeah. And you, like I said, there’s, there’s stuff in here for adults too, right?

Tom Pizzato:
Oh yeah, there’s, there’s definitely stuff that’ll keep the adults happy that they went, okay. So yeah, if you look at what we do on our podcast, we’re looking at how spy movies have influenced other spy movies or how real-world events have influenced spy movies. And there’s definitely some homage paid in this movie to other spy movies and the whole genre in general. So it’s actually kind of interesting to see, okay. Even though this is a cartoon based for kids, how they bring some of that stuff together. So we decided that a quick-fire sounded like a good idea to do for this one. Although this is geared at kids, this is an animation movie and Dan as, you know, I’m a big fan of animated movies. Again, adults do have something to see here. And we went on Christmas Day and I don’t know if in other countries if the movie theaters are even open there, but in the US actually, Christmas is a fairly big day for the movie theaters.

Tom Pizzato:
It was fairly full for the showing we went at three o’clock in the afternoon showing. And it was interesting to me because at one moment I thought there was a kid’s laugh track because the laughter was so loud and I’m looking around and the kids just love this thing. And actually, after the movie was over I went up to the bunch of parents because you don’t want to approach the kids and ask them, you know, what’d you guys, what’d your kids think of the movie? And with one exception they were all like, Oh I love it. I love it, I love it. The one small exception was there was a really small child there who told me that it was bad “because there was a bad guy in it, but that it got better when they caught the bad guy.” That’s cute.

Tom Pizzato:
But also, if you’re a parent trying to figure out if you’re going to take your kid to this in the US this is rated parental guidance or PG, there’s a bad guy. There’s some a few explosions in it. So you know as you’re trying to figure out whether you bring your kid or not. Just realize that this isn’t a G-rated movie, it’s a PG-rated movie because there is some of this, some of this stuff in there. Not a lot, but again, this one little kid was a little taken back by it.

DAN: Yeah. So, there are references though. Like you, I think you’re hinting that there’s references to other spy movies in this movie.

TOM: Yeah. And I was totally looking forward to how they were going to do that. How are they going to tie that stuff in?

Tom Pizzato:
There is a pre-title sequence that just like a lot of other spy movies do, this thing really feels like a BOND set up in terms of the way the pre-titles work. It does have a, it looks like it’s opening with like this fuse kind of a thing, and then they pull back and it’s a laser.

DAN: kind of like a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE thing.

TOM: Yeah. So it felt kind of like, Oh, they’re starting like with this MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE thing. They pull back and it’s a laser. Now we do actually have, if you go out to our YouTube channel, we do have a video, “The Top 12 Uses of Lasers in Spy Movies”. It’s fun. It’s a fun video. Shows you other, other places that lasers were used in spy movies. Now there’s also a knock off of the: “Bond, James Bond” line from the BOND series. And that got a bigger response from the parents as most of the kids wouldn’t know “Bond, James Bond”.

DAN: Okay, so the adults in the audience, are going okay I know that. So what is the line? Can you say what the line is?

TOM: I’m not going to give it away.

DAN: Oh, come on.

TOM: No. Walter says it in the movie and Walter is, and I’ll explain who the characters are, but he’s this nerd, younger person who is the gadget geek guy.

DAN: So he’s kind of the Q guy.

TOM: Yeah. He’s kind of like the Q guy and he’s the, he’s the nerd science guy. I don’t want to give away the line because if you, when you’d go to it, if you understand science, you’ll catch it. If you don’t, you might want to look it up.

DAN: That’s all you’re going to say. All right.

TOM: That’s all. That’s all I’m going to say. Cause it was actually, I thought it was fairly clever the way they did it for the Walter character.

DAN: Okay. Alright.

TOM: As I mentioned before, there are some explosions. Nothing major, but there are some in there, there are underwater sequences that kind of, you know, we’ve seen in different spy movies,

DAN: Thunderball.

TOM: yeah, in Thunderball and others. However, we had just done a quick-fire last month on Charlie’s Angels where the whole movie seemed to be a regurgitation of other spy movies. This one wasn’t like that. There was definite homage paid to BOND, HUNT, and BOURNE, but a lot of this movie really felt fresh.

DAN: All right, Tom. I know the directors of this film watched all of the BOND films, all the MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE and all the BOURNE movies to prep themselves for this film. So I read that in an article on syfy.com and it was a great little article by the way. Go read that if you like to go find it. Can you give us like an example of what some of the homages paid were here or what’s,

TOM: Yeah, we’ll go through a bunch of those as we go through this podcast and I’ll say in that article they actually expressly mentioned the pre-title sequence and how they designed that to really have a Bondian feel. It really does in the way they set it up and go right into the titles and the music and they really nail that pretty well in my opinion.

Tom Pizzato: Now, the basic premise of this movie, again, it’s a kid’s movie, is that the super spy drinks a potion and turns into a pigeon,

DAN: turns into a pigeon, right? Yeah. Yes. I’ve seen that in the trailers.

TOM: one of those darned birds.

DAN: Right. And the trailers are, we have a trailer actually on our homepage, on our website. If you want to take a look at it now. Wow. So he turns into a pigeon.

TOM: He turns into a pigeon.

DAN: Now, is that the disguise?

TOM: It’s not really a disguise. But, from a disguise perspective. What a beautiful way for a spy to go anywhere he or she wants to go. You become a pigeon. You’re not going to be known, I mean, there’s a scene in the Piazza San Marco in Venice where there’s just a ton of pigeons. You want to be unobserved.

Tom Pizzato:It’s a great way to do it. And actually, the Walter character says “pigeons are everywhere and nobody notices them. They’re the most perfect form a spy can take”. At least it beast swimming with a bird with a scuba mask on.

DAN: Oh, you mean the like the one BOND where it’s coming out of the water in the beginning of Goldfinger. That’s what you’re talking about?

TOM: Yeah, exactly.

DAN: I was a little confused there. I was like, what? I got it. All right.

TOM: Now, the basic premise of this movie is there’s the superstar spy named Lance, and he’s voiced by Will Smith. And it’s interesting when they drew him, they wanted to draw him kind of like martini glass shaped. So he’s got very big shoulders, very, very narrow. As he comes down.

Tom Pizzato:
Now he meets this young gadget guy named Walter. Now let’s think about this. We have Lance and we have Walter kind of sounds to me like Walter Lanz. So I think this was a shout out to the great cartoonist, Walter Lanz who directed the Oswald the Lucky Rabbit series and gave us Woody Woodpecker. So I think that was one of those little when I saw or heard these names, I’m like, that’s Walter Lanz.

DAN: These guys are clever with stuff like that. So that’s good that.

TOM: They absolutely are. Now Lance, the superspy, accidentally drinks a potion that Walter was working on and it turns Lance into a pigeon. But Walter doesn’t have the antidote for this. So, he’s a pigeon for a lot of the movie and he’s on the trail of a bad guy named Killian and Lance is used to doing everything on his own.

Tom Pizzato:
He’s a super spy. If you think about Bond. Bond doesn’t really use a lot of support from a lot of people. There’s a little bit there, but not a ton. If you think about Bourne, it’s the same type of thing. And Ethan Hunt has the team, so he’s not quite as out on his own. But again, remember Lance turns into a pigeon and at one point he says, “I fly solo”.

DAN: All right, that’s a good line.

TOM: So it’s, it’s pretty good, but he eventually has to get realizes since he’s now in a pigeon form, he needs some help. And Walter’s the guy who’s going to do this. Nice. Now, one of the things, where they took an idea that was used in other spy movies that they bring forward in here, is the concept of the double pursuit. And we’ve talked about this in the past in our 39 Steps, The 39 Steps podcast.

DAN: Yeah, Check out our podcast on The 39 Steps (Link). We talk a lot about the double pursuit idea here. And it’s really is a cool idea and a lot of spy movies do use this concept.

TOM: So this movie, the super spy, Lance, his agency thinks he’s gone bad because they can’t find him cause he’s a pigeon.

DAN: Oh, an agent gone rogue.

TOM: Yeah, they think he’s an agent gone rogue. So they’re trying to catch him and then you still, and you have the pursuit with the, with Killian the bad guy, right? So you’ve got the double pursuit where the bad guy wants him and the, and the agency wants Lance as well. So it’s kind of interesting from that perspective. There are also high-end car chases, submarines, some muted explosions and a lot of the fun stuff we’re used to seeing in spy movies. Toward the end, Walter figures out the antidote and Lance is brought back to his human form.

Tom Pizzato: However, Lance needs to go back to the pigeon form to save Walter who had been grabbed by Killian. So we actually see Lance’s conflict of should I use this potion again or not to go on should I become a pigeon again or not.

DAN: That’s a nice little built-in conflict there. That’s kind of cool. Yeah, I like that.

TOM: Now, especially for the kids. Walter’s character is really good. He’s this gadget guy and I really imagine him as a young version of Ben Whishaw, his version of Q in JAMES BOND. Not really a Desmond version, but if you take, if you take Ben’s version of him,

DAN: Yeah, I can see that in the trailers and I was actually thinking that in the trailers. I said this is kinda like the new Q, Ben Whishaw’s Q. Yeah. That’s good.

Tom Pizzato:
Yeah. So, and now there is a gadget lab in the movie, which I love. So they’re walking through there. It’s very close in concept to the old Q labs in the pre-Daniel Craig BOND movies where they walk through and there’s all this stuff happening in the background. And so Lance walks through it, we get to see all of that stuff as well. So it’s kinda, it’s kinda cool to see that brought forward.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah, I read this other article, and I, and I think maybe from these articles, at least it’s, there’s, there’s always a hidden message in this movie of promoting the kids and making them do good things and whatever else. And so in this one article, I just read about this said the gadgets were actually rooted in, in science, so, and they’re again trying to show or encourage kids that they can go pursue a science career and so on. So you think in the whole movie, Tom, that there are these messages that are going through this that are these positive messages for kids?

Tom Pizzato:
Oh, absolutely. There’s a lot, there’s a lot of it. It’s great. It’s great to be weird. Is one of the things they talk about because Walter’s this geeky science guy, right? And so there’s parts of that that are, are put through here. Even if you take the take-off, they take on “Bond, James Bond”, there’s a science bent to that. So this is Walter’s a science guy who wants to take and create these gadgets to help the world. But unlike in the adult-oriented spy movies, the gadgets are much cuter and in fact, none of them can hurt people. So they’re their gadgets designed to incapacitate or freeze or deflate a human body.

DAN: That sounds bad.

TOM: force someone to tell the truth or stun them. I mean, there’s this one device called Kitty Glitter and they use it in the movie a lot and it’s used to distract people from whatever they were doing and pretty much stops them in their tracks and they get a smile on their face. You can think of glitter in the air with cat images. All right. I mean, it sounds odd, but this is an animated movie for kids and it actually works in this movie. There’s even a trick pen type of a gadget that’s used to do some of this stuff as well. But again, it’s all harmless stuff showing how we can use science to do good and use it also to help fight crime.

Dan Silvestri: All right, There was another article I read in the LA Times that said, one of the things that directors wanted to highlight is that violence is not the answer. It’s the kind of fighting, the idea of fighting another kind of fighting the idea that maybe Lance had to fight fire with fire kind of thing. You know, that they were saying that violence doesn’t always make sense. And so this obviously makes perfect sense with Walter ‘s gadgets not hurting anyone.

TOM: Well, yeah, and that’s Walter’s gadgets, right? So Killian has some stuff that does blow things up. Ah, okay. All right. So there’s even a gadget that just really cracked me up. It’s, it’s called the Inflatable Hug and this thing, when I saw that they get instantly,

DAN: That’s a great name again, I’ve got to give credit to whoever came up with that.

TOM: So yeah, it’s cute. It doesn’t hurt you. It’s very similar to a gadget that was used in the James Bond movie. The World is Not Enough, and I don’t remember what they called it in that movie if they even gave it a name, but it was the inflatable jacket thing. That saves Bond and Elektra when they’re in that avalanche, like puts that bubble around them. Oh yeah. So, it’s used differently in this movie, but it looks similar and its goal is to protect whatever’s in it, just like in The World is Not Enough. And now when I saw that I was just like wow. Instantly it took me back to that film. So it was really cool to see that.

Dan Silvestri:
So there, they’re probably obviously conscious of that whole scene in The World Is Not Enough. And they’re kind of rolling it in. {pun intended}

Tom Pizzato:
yeah, they’re exactly rolling it in and they roll it in a couple of times without overdoing it. But it’s actually, I actually thought it was really cool. There’s also the line, “I need a code name” and that plays directly into the code name theories with JAMES BOND and more directly into the BOURNE movies. With Jason Bourne being the code name for David Webb.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Again, I read another article at headtopics.com and it said the directors, was it Quane and Bruno, right, Quane and Bruno. They wanted to dig a little bit into the idea that sometimes the only thing separating heroes and villains is perspective and so this whole good versus evil kind of good and bad stuff. They wanted to kind of dig into a little bit in this movie and when I read that I thought, well that’s again, you look at Quantum of Solace with Bond when Mathis and bond get together in, in the, in his home, in Italy on, he’s trying to get Mathis to help them and Mathis tells Bond. He says, when one’s young, it seems very easy to distinguish between right and wrong, but as one gets older it all becomes more difficult to villains and heroes get all mixed up. So it’s the same kind of look. It sounded like they were doing again, certainly know about Quantum of Solace and wanted to kind of touch on that in this movie about this good versus bad kind of thing and dig into that a little bit. So you see that kind of thread going through there too, Tom?

Tom Pizzato:
Oh, absolutely. Especially with the double pursuit. Yeah, because to the agency Lance’s a bad guy. Yeah. Right. They’ve got to capture him even though he’s out trying to be the good guy so that it does get, you know, what is your perspective, which way you see this? One of the things we see in this movie that we see fairly often in other spy movies is the spy seeing the bad guy coming at him through a reflection. Somebody is coming at the spy from behind and the good spy sees the bad person coming in the reflection of something. So if you think back to the pre-title sequence of Goldfinger and Bond is looking into, in the pre-title, he’s looking into her eyes and he sees the guy getting ready to hit him from behind. Yeah. This technique’s used a few times in Spies in Disguise as well. Like some other spy movies. There are quite a few quips in this thing. And we also hear the line, “I’m taking everything from you”: which is similar to things we’ve heard in some spy movies like in Mission: Impossible III, Phillip Seymour Hoffman’s character uses a similar line like that. Spectre or even in the trailer to No Time to Die. You get that theme come through. And that comes in this movie as well.

Dan Silvestri:
So, Tom, I’ve watched all the trailers and I wanted to ask you about the music because, in the trailers it sounded, it sounded pretty cool.

Tom Pizzato: Yeah, I think they did a really good job with the music in this. It sets the mood of the scenes very well. It’s generally uplifting. Most of it’s unique but very modern. But I did feel a hint of Lalo Schifrin’s “Theme from Mission: Impossible” a couple of times. Which was, which was kind of fun. It wasn’t quite it, but it was kind of, it kind of had that feel to it, which I really enjoyed.

Now I mentioned that there’s a villain in this and this guy’s a medicine guy. He’s got a robotic hand. Think Dr. No, but much more functional. He has an eye that glows red and is just pretty nasty. Plus just like in a lot of spy movies, the villain doesn’t do the dirty work.

DAN: You mean the big villain.

TOM: Yeah, the big villain. He or she has people do the dirty work for him or her and in this case, Killian has an army of drones which blow things up. They attack people and do other things like that and to me, it’s a really good thing if we look at how real-world impacts and how other movies impact these spy movies, there’s a proliferation of drones that’s happening right now in the world. Sure. Kids have seen that. A lot of kids have probably played with drones. So bringing this into the movie brings a real-world aspect.

Dan Silvestri:Yeah. And we had, the military has drones that actually do go blow things up. So

Tom Pizzato:
absolutely. It’s not just pizza delivery.

Dan Silvestri:
Yeah. Yeah. Tom, Spiderman, I think earlier in this year, earlier in 2019 we had the movie a Spider-man: Far From Home. And in that movie, Spiderman has to fight off an army of drones. So kinda, it’s kind of a touch of irony, the actor here, isn’t it? The guy Tom Holland was the Spiderman guy, right?

Tom Pizzato: Yeah. So Tom Holland played Peter Parker in Spider-man: Far From Home. He’s also the voice of Walter in Spies in Disguise.

DAN: That’s a cool connection there.

TOM: And he had to fight an army of drones in both movies. So kind of a nice little, nice little tie in here.

Now, one opportunity I totally think they missed here. And again, it’s, I’m a, I’m an animation film fan. So to me, it’s like, I look for things like this, but they didn’t have a song in here. And we talked about the music a second ago. They didn’t have a song in here, like the “Friend Like Me” song in Aladdin.

DAN: Oh, I love that song.

TOM: And to me like that movie or “Under The Sea” in The Little Mermaid. If they had a song, something like that, they could’ve flashed all these animated characterizations that kind of were paying homage to all different spy movies and all different movies.

Tom Pizzato:
I mean, you think about what you can do with animation there and tying, you know, you might have an image that’s on the screen for a second or a second and a half and then you’re onto the next one. I really think they missed an opportunity by not doing that.

DAN: Oh, that would’ve been fun.

TOM: Because if you talk to a kid about those two movies of, The Little Mermaid or Aladdin, those are two of the songs they’ll talk about.

All right. So that was a missed opportunity in my opinion. But there was one thing that they did in the end credits. The kind of irked me a little bit. First, a little bit of background about me. I’m an animation film fan and I collect animation cell art. These are the pictures that make up one frame of an animated movie. So, especially in the old school days, they would literally paint the picture onto a piece of acetate and take its picture.

Tom Pizzato:And that would become a frame in the movie. Now, in my opinion, the animation artist is equal, if not more important than the voice talent and the creation of a movie when it’s an animation film. So if you think, if you think about the animated movies by Disney, before Robin Williams was the genie in Aladdin, can you name two other voices in a Disney movie prior to Robin? Most people can’t unless you’re a geek like me and I know most of them. Okay. But you know the characters by sight, you know, you know the visual of the character that the animator created by sight.

In many JAMES BOND movies, the actor who physically performs the role may not be the actor whose voice you hear. So do you know who dubbed the voice for Honey Rider in Dr. No? Or Draco in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service?

Tom Pizzato:
Or did you know that Michael Collins dubbed the English version of the voice of Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger? Yes. The voice talent is important and needs to be credited, but so do the animation artists or directors or the animation directors for the various characters in an animated movie. Unfortunately, EON Productions hasn’t done that with the BOND character voices. They’re all uncredited. Spies in Disguise doesn’t credit the artist with their character. What I really like to see is in some of the Disney films, they actually credit, you’ll see it in a box where it’s like, here’s the character and then here’s the voice, here’s the animation team behind it to really give the crediting and the fact that both pieces are pretty much equally important and I think that’s a good practice. I wish they had done it here. Okay. Now this whole dialogue about the voice talent here and crediting is all about the credit.

Tom Pizzato:
I’m not saying the voice casting wasn’t good. It was actually very good. It really was. And you know, like Will Smith,  I go hot and cold with Will Smith. He voiced this really well.

DAN: Yeah, I thought all the trailers I saw were well done.

TOM: And Tom Holland voices Walter really well. Rachel Brosnahan, Rashida Jones, Reba McEntire, Karen Gillan there, and others voiced the large roles and they did a really good job. I just wish that the crediting for the animator who was there. So I’m going to get off my soapbox now.

DAN: I was going to say, take a step down.

Tom: I’m sorry. I just that’s one of those things that just annoy me. I think Spies in Disguise does what it tries to do quite well. It’s a spy movie that’ll get many kids hooked on spy movies. You should be happy to take a kid to see it.

Tom Pizzato: Keeping in mind that it in the US is rated PG, not G, so there is a bit of violence or nothing rough and a few explosions and a bad guy. There are a couple of adult-themed innuendos that are in here. There’s one if you’ll see the trailer for it and right when he takes the potion that starts to turn him into a pigeon, his hands shrink and then he looks down his pants. It’s, it’s quick, but it’s one of those things that, you know, little kids won’t catch it, but the little bit older kids will snicker at it. And then again, there is a villain here. The movie does pay homage to the real world and other spy movies without feeling like it was trying to rip anything off: Unlike Charlie’s Angels. And it really was fun to watch.

Just don’t expect to see the same level of film you’re going to see if you’re going to a MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE or a JAMES BOND film. Now, if you aren’t going to go with a child, you might not want to run out to see it. And I’m not sure it was, it was fine. I enjoyed it. But like, you know, Dan, you didn’t run out and see it because you didn’t have it. Right. But if you have kids or nephews or nieces, you can go ahead and take them and have a guilty pleasure. So let’s go ahead and end this thing. I need to get some Kitty Glitter.

Dan Silvestri:
All right, that’s good. This has been Dan Silvestri and Tom Pizzato. We appreciate you listening as together. We’re Cracking the Code of Spy Movies. Check us out at our website. https://spymovienavigator.com. Please subscribe to our show through your favorite podcast app. Participate in our podcast by sending us a voice message through our website or a message through Facebook about any of our podcasts. Questions you’d like answered, comments or podcasts you’d like us to do.

 

 


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