Film review by: Witney Seibold
I have a personal genre I apply to certain films; one that can be applied to “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over.” That is the genre of Films I Would Have Loved When I was 10. So while this third film in the “Spy Kids” series may be hyperkinetic and childish and consisting of action set-pieces strung together by a story about as solid as a block of shaving cream, there was a large dark recess of my childhood being tapped. My adult self wanted far more substance and narrative drive, and (as much as he loved 3-D) an opportunity to see this without the 3-D glasses. But my inner 10-year-old was merrily razzing me.
The story is… Well, the set-up is: pre-teen ex-spy Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabarra) is called back from early retirement (!) to help retrieve his spy older sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega) from the clutches of The Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone, yes Sylvester Stallone. Playing multiple roles, no less). Evidently, her consciousness is being held inside a video game she was playing, á la “The Lawnmower Man.” Juni must enter the video game, and get to the unbeatable level five, to save her. While inside the game (which is 3-D), he runs into other kids who have been savvy in the game for a while (beta-testers, you see), as well as Grandpa (Ricardo Montalban, yes Ricardo Montalban) who has slipped the syrly bounds of his body, and is full of video-game-produced pep. Fights with lava monsters and “Tron”-like motorcycle races ensue. Juni gathers a following when people realize that he’s “The Guy.” Which guy? The guy on the video-game box, of course.
The 3-D in this film is anaglyph (red-and-blue), which, of the 3-D technologies, is the worst. It works, and the fingers and sparks and tendrils and floating digital numbers float close to your eyeballs well enough, but the colors get washed away in the process. It could have looked better, knowing director/writer/editor/composer/SFX tech Robert Rodriguez’s penchant for a candy palate.
Parents, pay attention: as much as you may hate it, this film, with its non-stop action and bubbly shallow pizzazz is directly expressing your 8-year-old child’s fantasies. This is a fantasy of every videogame-playing youth (I know). They want to be a colorful video-game character ex-spy. They want to see a 3-D film for a summer sequel. When I walked out into the light, rubbing my eyes, I had the gentle summer wash of my youth return. My adult self had an o.k. time, but looks forward to the next film for that inner little boy.