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Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review out of 4 Movie Review: Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

Starring: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Rated: PG
RunTime: 89 Minutes
Release Date: July 2003
Genres: Action, Comedy, Kids

*Also starring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Sylvester Stallone, Bobby Edner, Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor, Danny Trejo, Robert Vito, Matthew O'Leary, Alan Cumming, George Clooney

Review by Steve Rhodes
3 stars out of 4

Hello eyestrain! 3-D always was and still is a bad idea for movies. In SPY KIDS 3-D: GAME OVER, writer/director Robert Rodriguez tries to revive a series running out of fresh ideas by making it mostly in 3-D. The audience, especially those who wear glasses, will be happy to hear that a small part of the film is set in the much more eye-friendly 2-D.

The grief that the movie will give your eyes is the subject of the script's best joke. At the start of the picture, Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming) explains to the audience how to know when to put on those ridiculous red-and-green glasses, which distort the images and colors horribly. Afterwards, he tells the audience what to do if they want to take a break from staring through the silly spectacles. He advises them to take off the glasses and head for the concession stand where the theater will be happy to sell them an extra large popcorn and soda for only thirty-five dollars!

Basically the entire cast from the first two pictures appears again. The operative word in the previous sentence is "appears." The movie stars Daryl Sabara, incorrectly placed fourth in credit order, who repeats his role as Juni Cortez. Juni's sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega), who is stuck inside a video game named "Game Over," doesn't even make an appearance until the last act. Although her screen time is brief, it's more than that of Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino, who play the kids' parents. The only other family member who is featured is the kids' grandfather (Ricardo Montalban), a wheelchair-bound ex-agent who shows he still has a lot of kick in him. The actor who consistently steals the show is Sylvester Stallone, who plays the hilariously evil Toymaker, the controller of the game.

As Juni fights his way through the game in order to find and free his sister, we find that we don't care. We're way too busy trying to adjust those ridiculous 3-D glasses so that we can see something. I took mine off a few times and generally enjoyed the film as much or more during those times. Looking through the cheap red/green glasses is rather like trying to enjoy the view through a car with a dirty windshield.

There was one line in the show that did resonate with the parents in our audience, all of whom laughed knowingly. "Once plugged into the game," one of the characters remarks, "the parents won't be able to get their kids' attention."

Do the 3-D effects ever add to the film's enjoyment? Never, but they do detract in almost every scene.

SPY KIDS 3-D: GAME OVER runs 1:25. It is rated PG for "action sequences and peril" and would be acceptable for all ages.

My son Jeffrey, age 14, gave the picture ** 1/2, complaining that the film never lived up to its potential and that the 3-D was awful. He enjoyed the movie but was frustrated by it.

Copyright 2003 Steve Rhodes

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