22 March 2013

Movie Review: "Spy Kids 3: Game Over"

Rated: PG for action sequences and peril
Starring: Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, and Ricardo Montalban
Released: July 25, 2003 (theatrical) / February 24, 2004 (DVD)
DISCLAIMER: This review is of the 2-D edition available on the double-disc set.  I did not watch the 3-D version because not only did I buy the set used--therefore, no glasses--but 3-D flicks have previously given me headaches.

Synopsis:  The Spy Kids are back again! This time, their trademark action is combined with the very latest digital technology and the thrill of the 3-D experience to deliver a motion picture event that pushes family fun to the next level! Secret agents Juni (Daryl Sabara) and Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) set out on their most mind-blowing mission yet: a journey inside the virtual reality world of a 3-D video game where awe-inspiring graphics and creatures come dangerously to life! As they face escalating challenges through increasingly difficult levels of the game, the Spy Kids must rely on humor, high-tech gadgets, and the bonds of family in order to stop a power-hungry villain (Sylvester Stallone) set on controlling the youth of the world! Also featuring familiar faces Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, and Ricardo Montalban in an incredible all-star cast!
(From Amazon.com's page for the DVD, which seems to be taken from the back of the case)

Story: 2.5/5
Some of the criticism available elsewhere online says that Spy Kids 3: Game Over didn't have any story.  I disagree with that; it did...just not a great one.  The whole thing about a video game maker trying to take over the world by capturing all the planet's children is both creepy and ridiculous.  I doubt most gamers over the age of eight would be fooled by anyone promising them "riches enough for ten kings."  Though I didn't like the core plot, the themes of heroism, looking out for one another, friends being like family, self-sacrifice, forgiveness, etc., kept the entire yarn from being ruined.  Still, many video games, including some popular ones, don't have much of a story; for example, what made all the characters in Super Smash Bros. Melee decide to fight against each other? Even Nintendo can't answer that one.

Production Values: 3.5/5
Despite what some other critics said, I didn't notice any poor acting.  The majority of the film takes place in a video game world, which means that much of it is computer-generated.  Though it doesn't look realistic, it seemed to me that non-realism was the whole point; that didn't prevent it from being annoying at times, though.  Those who enjoyed gaming around the time this film was made would likely appreciate the visuals; however, others may not.  The scene after the closing credits, which showed Ms. Vega and Mr. Sabara in their original Spy Kids auditions, was awesome.

Moral Content: 3.75/5
This third Spy Kids outing was remarkably clean in many areas.  As bad as the language gets is "shut up"; there's nothing resembling sexual content, even when it comes to the young ladies' outfits; and no drug or alcohol use, as you'd expect.  However, the violence quotient is ramped up compared to the first two films in the series, and there's also an increase in frightening moments.  A set of monsters called the "Tinker Toys" look like little metal demons, and they're not the only scary thing you'll see.  Even the plot is a bit creepy, when you think about it.  Easily scared youngsters might want to stay away from this one.

Conclusion: I'm very late to the Spy Kids game; I didn't see the first movie in the series until late last year.  For some reason, I previously didn't care for Alexa Vega at all, though, to this day, I have no idea why.  Though the first two were great, this third flick is, while not terrible and definitely not among the worst films I've ever seen, the worst in the series so far.  Apparently, it was still a success, since they made a fourth flick; I just hope it's better than this one was.  If you've followed the series up to this point, you'll probably see it regardless of what anyone says; still, you probably should get it from the library or rental store before you shell out big bucks to buy it.

Score: 3.25/5

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