Spycies has all the markings of a top notch kids film, after all it was animated by the same people that made Despicable me, Minions and The Secret Life of Pets. It also has a fairly reasonable plot line; secret agents or spies, who happen to be animals of various different species, (now do you see what they have done with the name?), are on a mission to find out who has stolen some very valuable chemical material.
The opening sequence is a high action, across city chase where we meet the films main character, a cat spy by the name of Vladimir Willis who fancies himself as a bit of a Bruce Willis in Die Hard type, full of ego and not a care for the momentous destruction he causes to complete his mission. The animation is great, as we travel across the futuristic, Asian city the detail is striking. Somewhere between the detail of Zootropolis and the rounded caricature style of Sing.
Vlad’s destructive ways quickly get him in trouble and he is put in his place by his superior. He gets drafted to an oil rig in the middle of the sea where his only company is an IT nerd of a rat spy named Hector who has a passion for cheesy sit-coms and pizza.
Now you would think that having an egotistical Cat and a needy, romance-loving Rat stuck together in the middle of an unforgiving ocean would make for some pretty comical banter in the scenes that follow but actually the dialogue falls incredibly flat, obviously some jokes were lost in translation and the lack of any real comedy leads to a lack of chemistry between the two characters.
With that being said things do pick up for the film when the action re-starts after unknown intruders break into the rig and steal a valuable chemical material. Vlad and Hector suddenly have a new mission and the pace, graphics and effects take precedence over any clunky dialogue.
We should mention that any scene that featured water was so beautifully animated it was almost at odds with the rest of the film because was so realistic, that’s not to take anything away from the rest of the film which really does look great. Because the film is set in a futuristic world the vehicles are especially cool and will certainly appeal to young viewers as will the array of animal characters in the film from villainous cheaters to kick-ass bunnies and even a coffee-fuelled dragon which bought humour and fun.
The film definitely ramps up in the second half and gets more complex in terms of plot with a few red herrings (metaphorically not literally) twisting the story. Character development moves on a little bit and we eventually see some much-needed camaraderie between the main characters and also their band of trusty side-kicks which they acquire along the way. Themes of guilt, revenge and romance are all touched upon in various ways and there is even a mention of the impacts of global warming thrown in for good measure.
This movie will absolutely entertain children who are very forgiving when it comes to less than perfect dialogue but we feel it might leave parents wincing over some incorrect translations and awkward one liners not to mention a few mild swear words that have crept in. All in all It is worth a watch if only to marvel at the awesome animation and effects and enjoy some fast-pace action sequences featuring animals.