Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Movie Review

Companies have created a number of brain-numbing devices to milk the susceptible wallets of adolescents in recent years. From Playstation to GameCube to Xbox, it seems as if the companies are always releasing new video game systems, only pausing to develop new and improved systems. It's a wonder they haven't come up with a device that allows the gamers to enter the video game itself.

Now they have -- except the gamers will have to drop their controllers for a few hours to catch Spy Kids 3-D in order to experience it. This is the movie video gamers have been waiting for, designed specifically for short-attention spans -- it's loaded with stimulating effects, nonstop action sequences, and, best yet, a journey inside a very cool video game in 3-D! It goes without saying that Spy Kids 3-D might be the only movie this summer with enough charisma to get your kids to leave their consoles -- so take advantage of it.

Daryl Sabara reprises his role as young Juni Cortez, who became a spy with his older sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega), in the first film to save his parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) from a madman and save the world in the second. As Spy Kids 3-D opens, Juni has retired from the agency and refuses to rejoin. He changes his mind, however, when he learns that Carmen has become trapped inside a dangerous video game. He has only a few hours to enter the game, save his sister, and stop another madman, The Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone), from taking over the world.

While the film targets adolescent video gamers familiar with Spy Kids, you don't have to fulfill that prerequisite to enjoy Spy Kids 3-D. It's a blast -- fun for the whole family. Kids will love the 3-D effects -- which will probably be new to them -- and parents who grew up on 3-D classics like Dial M for Murder and House of Wax will now be able to enjoy the experience with their kids. Like the earlier 3-D films, Spy Kids 3-D is rather gimmicky, but director Robert Rodriguez does a good job of weaving the 3-D effects into the fabric of the story itself. He uses the effects to bring the video game world to life; he doesn't bombard us with a nonstop visual assault. He occasionally gives our senses a break.

You can't take the film seriously, though, because Spy Kids 3-D doesn't take itself even half-seriously. It's the cheesiest movie of the year -- but it knows that, and thus makes a complete mockery of itself. The film has lots of fun in the process. It doesn't only poke fun at itself; it also takes hilarious jabs at Star Wars, The Lord of the Rings, and, of course, the other Spy Kids movies. The actors also have fun with the parody. Cameos from veterans like Steve Buscemi, George Clooney, Alan Cumming, Bill Paxton, Cheech Marin, and Elijah Wood sprinkle the movie with laugh-out-loud moments, and Sylvester Stallone shines in an enormously corny performance -- one that suggests that the actor experiment with more comedy in his future. Spy Kids 3-D is the most fun you will have at the movies this summer... just as long as you don't think too hard about it.

Unless you have a huge TV, don't expect much from the 3-D experience at home (a 2-D version is also on the disc), though kudos to Disney for putting four sets of 3-D glasses in the box, making for easy family viewing. Other extras on the two-DVD set include a commentary from Rodriguez, endless behind-the-scenes features, and another of Rodriguez's patented "10 minute film school" installments.

Grab hands.


Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Rating

" Good "

Rating: PG, 2003


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