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Overall Rating

Awesome: 8.16%
Worth A Look36.73%
Average: 18.37%
Pretty Bad: 10.2%
Total Crap: 26.53%

3 reviews, 31 user ratings

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Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
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by Erik Childress

"Dimensional Family Viewing Even Without The 3-D"
4 stars

Ah, to be a kid again. When playing was on the agenda and a quarter was the only currency you would ever need at the local arcade. I've been feeling a lot like that lately. So many movies are bringing me back to my childhood. Who needs kids when the child inside us all can be reincarnated by a filmmaker like Robert Rodriguez, who has somehow managed to crank out and release a spectacular trilogy of imagination in a mere three years (with a fourth film on the way this year.)

Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) has been on his own since being disgraced from the OSS in Part 2. Saving up all his private investigator money to buy the latest-and-greatest video game, "Game Over", he's soon called back into action when the game is discovered to be more than it appears. Its designer, The Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone), is trapped within and the only thing that can set him free is the "unwinnable" fifth level, which exists to ensnare the minds of the children who play it. Once they start playing, they can't stop.

Fellow Spy Kid Carmen (Alexa Vega) is also trapped in the virtual world and it's up to Juni to save his older sister. Taking more than a few cues from Tron, Rodriguez plunges us into the game where Juni must take on all the video game standards that little (and big) kids alike flock to buy for their home systems. Giant, battling mecharobots, car races and role-playing are the challenges facing the kids, and each provide their own level of excitement and wonder.

In case the title didn't tip you off already, this is the first theatrical release (not counting IMAX productions) since Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare to employ the 3-D format. It's understandable why Rodriguez wanted to do it, since virtual reality depends on a three-dimensional world in which the player is supposed to be part of the action. While there is some fun to have with the format (Alan Cumming's instruction introduction is priceless), it's also superfluous. The 3-D images look cool in their own way, but still carry that old ViewMaster stigma. Plus, Rodriguez's visuals in these films are such a colorful joy to behold that I would rather look upon them without without the provided red and blue tints.

The film is such a delight in itself though that such matters can hardly distract from the pleasure. Stallone is having a lot of fun with The Toymaker, playing up his "yo, Adrian" image but never overdoing it. Ricardo Montalban gets more screen time as the grandfather (and homaging two of his most famous roles), helping Juni along on his quest with a personal agenda of his own. I truly missed Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino as the parents (who get relegated to a late third act appearance), but even in Banderas' brevity he conveys how gifted a comic actor he truly is.

The Spy Kids Trilogy belongs to that invented genre of "perfect family viewing." I'm well past my adolescence, but I'll always appreciate films made with as much love as these obviously are. Even when I wasn't excited, my eyes drank in the visuals. It may not be as good as the wonderful second chapter (Island of Lost Dreams) but it is a perfect stand-alone accomplishment. When I wasn't laughing hard, I was actually laughing harder. Its riffs at the idea of a chosen one ("the guy") and a youngster's approach to lost love are precious. Rodriguez nicely approaches the roles that kids play out as outsiders and how they use, say, a comic book or a video game to live out their fantasies. How refreshing is it to see a family film that doesn't pander to the kids OR their family? The film's climax shows exactly the kind of respect for its audience that big-budget wasteoids like The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and Bad Boys II never could.

Rodriguez takes on all kind of credits with his films. He's director, writer, producer, editor, sound editor and its fun to just watch the final scroll and spot his name. Maybe some of the special effects (or the 3-D) are not up to par with the industry standards and the film's messages (especially the handicap speeches) are laid on a little thick, but they are nice messages wrapped up in a ball of fun that kids will want to play with again and again and hopefully never grow out of. Now that's a credit that Rodriguez should be proudest of.

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originally posted: 07/25/03 15:07:36
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User Comments

3/28/20 dupadoit the guy 4 stars
4/14/07 Dave this movie sucks 1 stars
1/30/07 David Pollastrini not great, not terrible 3 stars
6/06/06 Dave Webber One movie that really does feel like a glorified product-placement ad! 2 stars
4/02/06 Katy wierd,horrible,movie & director are crap! so is cast! 1 stars
3/31/06 Anthony Feor I dont care what box office says, I hate it 1 stars
1/17/06 cody The first two cool movies, but this flick takes into video games and corny acting 2 stars
9/14/05 Jonathon Holmes Rodriguez can do better than this slog of a film 2 stars
8/06/05 Zack Better than the original, though not that good overall. 3 stars
6/14/05 Agent Sands OK, but the end sucked, & I hate the left part of the 3-D glasses that's dark red!! 4 stars
12/10/04 Kristina Williams oooohh...things flying at me! 4 stars
11/20/04 tatum Comes across as an afterthought, never approaches the charm of first two 2 stars
3/09/04 Blaine Holloway whatever anyone says, the box office doesnt lie: $111 Million!!!!! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA 5 stars
1/23/04 Betty White You know something is wrong when Stallone gives the best performance. 1 stars
1/03/04 Farnq Y Good movie. Sit close to the screen for best effect 4 stars
12/11/03 Marcia Lartz Dizzying frenzy, best when things seem to fly right out of the screen. 3 stars
10/24/03 Kae One of the worst movies I have ever seen, the kids are very bad actors, and 3D come on now! 1 stars
8/30/03 devon mussachio daryl is hot 5 stars
8/24/03 Steve Bushakis 3-D....Perhaps, on homage to how many donkey shlongs this movie sucks 1 stars
8/15/03 JJ from da block Kids in movies...where is that truancy officer? 1 stars
8/14/03 Mr. Hat EXCELLENT FX, great cast, extremely diverse effort from the great Rodriguez. 4 stars
8/13/03 It's just me This was the worst movie ever! 1 stars
8/05/03 Double G 3d sucks, knowing from my friend 1 stars
7/31/03 nr great 5 stars
7/30/03 Aimee Jay It seem to hold the children's attention always a plus. 4 stars
7/29/03 nr great 5 stars
7/28/03 me frog The 3-D is crap, the story is crap, the whole movie is crap! 1 stars
7/27/03 Colin They tried to bing 3-D movies back 20 years ago and they failed, so bother now 1 stars
7/26/03 dave scary that rodriguez is inheriting the potter franchise 1 stars
7/26/03 Shaq I loved every fucking second of this stupid piece of shit. It was so bad my penis ran away. 1 stars
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  25-Jul-2003 (PG)
  DVD: 24-Feb-2004



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