Spy Kids

"Excellent"

Spy Kids Review


There are few respectable filmmakers in the world that would take on the difficult challenge of creating a children's movie. I don't mean those hack directors who just sit behind the camera and yell "action" and "print," but those few who take on the challenge of writing, directing, producing, and even editing a successful film for the underage masses. Creating a fantasy world with non-abrasive violence, imaginative sets and props, and engaging characters to follow is a tough process. With Spy Kids, Robert Rodriguez proves that his handling of adult fare extends to kids' stuff, too.

My favorite films are from my childhood -- Flash Gordon, Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Mary Poppins, the Muppets movies, Pee-Wee's Big Adventure, and The Never-Ending Story -- and they all presented an impossible world made real only by the power of imagination. Spy Kids ranks up there with the best children's films by creating implausible scenarios made from martial arts stunts, gee-whiz spy gadgets, robots built entirely of huge thumbs, a holodeck-like room filled with rolling clouds and stretches of golden sands, and providing total escapism for both kids and adults.

The story is simple and straightforward, and it zips along like a sunburned child on a Slip & Slide. Two kids, Juni (Daryl Sabara) and Carmen (Alexa Vega), find out their parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are real-life spies after they are captured by the diabolic Floop (Alan Cumming), a man with a strange Sid and Marty Krofft-style puppet show filled with enough goodwill to make Stuart Smalley envious. Floop's diabolic scheme is to build an army of robotic "spy kids" powered by an artificial intelligence brain invented by Gregorio (Banderas) in his past as a spy.

After their parents' abduction, the kids are thrown into a whirlwind adventure of flying through the air with jet packs, setting Teri Hatcher's hair on fire, fighting robots with electro-shock gumballs, accessing databases with computerized sunglasses, and learning to believe that your dreams can come true.

Imagination is the greatest asset of Spy Kids. Rodriguez, who previously worked as a comic strip artist UT-Austin's The Daily Texan (as did our Editor in Chief, Christopher Null), deploys that creativity throughout the production of Spy Kids, showing off sharp directing, amazing set designs, inventive spy gadgetry, great acting from his cast, and a fast-paced script that is action-packed and hilarious from the first frame to the last. The most memorable piece of the film is the amazing mix of digital animation and costume designs that bring to the life the beauty of Floop's TV show -- a magic world that's a crazy cross between Teletubbies, Reading Rainbow, and Romper Room.

The standout performance of the film belongs to Alan Cumming -- the multitalented stage and screen actor seen in such films as Company Man, Titus, Get Carter, and GoldenEye. His portrayal of Floop as the misunderstand artist/genius/villain is a wonderful combination of Judy Garland, Pee-Wee Herman, and Willy Wonka. The image of Floop sitting on a cloud in his virtual world, pondering the errors of his ways, is both beautiful and subtly tragic.

Spy Kids is one of the best kids' films to grace the silver screen in the last decade. Altogether, it's a sharp and witty, action-packed film that will entertain the kid and adult in all of us.

They had fun fun fun until daddy took the spy boat away.



Spy Kids

Facts and Figures

Run time: 88 mins

In Theaters: Friday 30th March 2001

Box Office USA: $110.8M

Distributed by: Dimension Films

Production compaines: Dimension Films

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 4 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%
Fresh: 117 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 5.4 / 10

Cast & Crew

Starring: as Gregorio Cortez, as Ingrid Cortez, Alexa PenaVega as Carmen Cortez, as Juni Cortez, as Fegan Floop, as Cool Spy, as Alexander Minion, as Ms. Gradenko, as Felix Gumm, as Mr. Lisp, as Machete, as Donnagon / Donnamight, Guillermo Navarro as Pastor, Johnny Reno as Agent Johnny, Shannon Shea as FoOglie #1/Flower

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.