Toon Talk: Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
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Disney Film & Video Reviews by Kirby C. Holt
With sequels either in the works before even a foot of film is shot, or quickly green lit after the first big box office weekend (witness the current Pirates of the Caribbean), or even filmed simultaneously (the recent Lord of the Rings epics, The Matrix follow-ups), it's no wonder that there is such a glut of sequels this year, particularly this summer. Lately, one can’t swing an empty popcorn bucket without slamming into a 2 here, a 3 there …
Which brings us to the third (and, supposedly, final) Spy Kids movie, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. With three films in the franchise (released by Miramax’s Dimension Films) in as many years, one has to admire their gumption in such an endeavor, while questioning their motives: sure, its good to strike while the iron is hot, but at the cost of the endearing quality of the original film? ‘Game over’ indeed. (Click here for the Toon Talk review of Spy Kids and here for the Toon Talk review of Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams.)
Bringing little that is new to the table aside from the 3-D gimmick (more on that later), writer/director Robert Rodriguez doesn’t even fill all the chairs: aside from Daryl Sabara as ex-junior G-man/now pint-sized private dick Juni Cortez (along with Ricardo Montalban as his grandfather), the rest of the Spy Kids 1 and 2 cast, including Carla Gugino and Antonio Banderas (as mom and dad) and even the other half of the 'spy kids' of the title, Alexa Vega’s Carmen, are mostly absent until the final reel. (Speaking of Banderas: not since Marlon Brando in Superman: The Movie has an actor worked so little for top billing.)
That leaves young Sabara to carry the plot, something about a video game designed to take over the minds of the children of the world (how original … don’t they already?). The mastermind behind this scheme is known only as the Toymaker, played by none other then latent action hero Sylvester Stallone (who should have paid attention to fellow he-man Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Dr. Freeze in Batman and Robin … that is, to learn how not to embarrass yourself while playing a super villain). The Toymaker has trapped Carmen in the game, leading Juni to come to the rescue (the over-riding theme of the Spy Kids movies seems to be that a family is only stronger if they are ripped apart). To aid him in his quest, he brings along Montalban, who, in this Tron-like world, is able to ditch his wheelchair and become a seven-foot tall action figure with super-jumping action, a geriatric Power Ranger.
All of this is, of course, just an excuse to jack audiences into a computer-generated video game milieu so that big kid Rodriguez can play like George Lucas with the virtual scenarios, with a third dimension thrown in … well, because apparently its a cinematic law that all 3 films in tired genre series must be in 3-D (i.e.: Jaws 3-D, Amityville 3-D, Friday the 13th Part 3: 3-D … ).