Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

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Cast:
Antonio Banderas as Gregorio Cortez
Carla Gugino as Ingrid Cortez
Alexa Vega as Carmen Cortez
Daryl Sabara as Juni Cortez
Ricardo Montalban as Grandfather
Holland Taylor as Grandmother
Sylvester Stallone as Toymaker
Mike Judge as Donnagon Giggles
Salma Hayek as Cesca Giggles
Matthew O’Leary as Gary Giggles
Emily Osment as Gerti Giggles
Ryan Pinkston as Arnold
Robert Vito as Rez
Bobby Edner as Francis
Courtney Jines as Demetra
Cheech Marin as Felix Gumm
Danny Trejo as Machete
Alan Cumming as Fegan Floop
Tony Shalhoub as Alexander Minion
Steve Buscemi as Romero
Bill Paxton as Dinky Winks
George Clooney as Devlin
Elijah Wood as The Guy

Summary:
If you liked the first two Spy Kids movies, you’ll like Spy Kids 3-D. However, headache inducing 3-D and a bad plot will scare away many adults.

Story:
Some time after the last Spy Kids movie, Juni Cortez has left the spy business altogether. However, he’s called back into action when his sister (who’s still a spy) turns up missing. An evil genius named the Toymaker has created a popular new virtual reality video game that will suck the minds of unsuspecting children into computers permanently. Carmen Cortez went into the video game realm to shut it down and stop the Toymaker, but she has disappeared.

Juni is sent in the game to save her. He must pass through four levels of the game without losing too many life points. Along the way he must face the hazards of the games as well as vicious beta-testers that want to beat the game themselves. Juni gets a little help along the way from his grandfather who tags along. However, he has a history with the Toymaker and has other motivations for joining the game beyond saving his granddaughter.

Spy Kids 3-D is rated PG for action sequences and peril.

What Worked:
The most notable thing about this movie is that it is 3-D. While that may not be enough to impress adults, kids will get a big kick out of the gimmick. Alan Cumming (in his Floop persona) kicks the movie off by explaining the use of the glasses. After about 15 minutes of story setup in 2-D, you put your glasses on and enter the 3-D video game world. The 3-D effects are a bit of a mixed bag. Some of the shots are really exciting and impressive. Other shots just don’t work. However, kids are going to love it.

The 3-D effect really helps to cover up the quality of the graphics. While they probably wouldn’t look that impressive on a regular screen, they look pretty good in 3-D. Giant robots, controlled by the kids, are pretty cool. A motorcycle race through the city is also impressive. Finally, some scenes in lava give the creators plenty of chances to have things floating in and out of the screen to great effect.

While the plot is as baffling and foolish as the plots of the first two films, there are some fun tips of the hat to TRON, The Matrix, and other films. A ton of cameos by everyone from Elijah Wood to George Clooney to Salma Hayek keep things fun for the adults. However, Sylvester Stallone seems to be having the most fun in the movie playing four separate characters. If you ever wanted to see Stallone play a hippie, this is your chance.

What Didn’t Work:
As fun as the 3-D gimmick was, it did get tiresome. Rather than having the new 3-D glasses that don’t distort color, you must use the old fashioned red and blue ones. This really screws with your eyes and may give you a headache after a while. The glasses also didn’t fit my kid and I was continually adjusting them for her during the film. It makes me wonder how they’ll handle the 3-D effects on the DVD.

The plot also makes no sense whatsoever and it’s filled with random acts of weirdness. For example, Juni’s grandfather inexplicably wanders off (chasing a butterfly at one point) for no reason during a critical time. At another point, a giant robot that nobody can see crashes through downtown Austin and I’m not quite sure why. And somehow every bad guy from the first two films is good here. This is just a small taste of what’s wrong, but none of it makes any sense. I’m sure that’s OK for entertaining kids, but adults will be looking for something more.

Despite Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino getting top billing, they are only in the last five minutes of the film. Go figure. Alexa Vega also takes an hour to show up in the movie. If any of these are your favorite characters, you’ll be disappointed.

The Bottom Line:
Overall, this is a movie for kids only. If you liked the first two Spy Kids movies, you’ll like this. Otherwise avoid it.

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