Director/writer Robert Rodriguez faced a problem: how to top his first two “Spy Kids” movies, which have been favorably compared to such classics as “Willy Wonka” and “The Wizard of Oz.” His solution? This film which, without the three-dimensional effects (viewable with a pair of red and cyan-lensed glasses) would be a poor finish to the trilogy. First, a warning: the VHS version of the film is NOT 3-D. This review is based on the 3-D version of the film, which is available on DVD only, complete with four pair of glasses.
“Spy Kids 3-D” starts off with a clever bit of modern film noir, with young Juni having been extricated from the rest of the family and forced to go into business for himself. When older sister Carmen is held hostage in a video game by the evil Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone, in a knowingly hammy performance), Juni is called in to save the day.
The story disappears from here, as we are subjected to a barrage of digitally rendered 3-D effects. For the most part they work, but the most amazing moments are when characters are just standing around talking and we can see beyond their arms and legs to the background behind them.
Other highlights include Ricardo Montalban as a wheelchair-bound, butt-kickin’ grandpa, and a hysterical impression of Stallone by George Clooney.
As a film, “Spy Kids 3-D” only rates a 2, but as a unique way to spend time with your kids (dodging debris as a speeding racer rushes from your screen, for instance), it gets 4 out of 5 Maxwell Smart inspired shoe-phones (averaging out to a 3 out of 5).
Pros: Colorful and fun. Great effects in some spots.
Cons: Script that is about as much fun as watching someone else play a game. Bleed-through on some effects ruins their…erm…effect.
Review Rating: 3 out of 5 wheelchairs with rich, Corinthian Leather.
“Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” (2003)
84 Minutes; USA
Rated PG for action sequences and peril.
Antonio Banderas (Gregorio Cortez)
Carla Gugino (Ingrid Cortez)
Alexa Vega (Carmen Cortez)
Daryl Sabara (Juni Cortez)
Ricardo Montalban (Grandfather)
Holland Taylor (Grandmother)
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Viewing Format: Theatrical Release
(Originally published on SciFiWatch)