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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » Spy Kids 3: Game Over (Blu-ray)
Spy Kids 3: Game Over (Blu-ray)
Lionsgate Home Entertainment // PG // August 2, 2011 // Region A
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Neil Lumbard | posted August 16, 2011 | E-mail the Author
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The third entry in the Spy Kids film series was originally intended as the series-conclusion (and the title of the film -- Spy Kids 3: Game Over -- really gave that away) but the series has a new film coming out soon and entitled Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World. So how does this pseudo series conclusion hold up over time? It does manage to entertain, but it is the weakest entry in the series to date. That's just how it goes this time around. It also fails to serve as a proper series conclusion for the very reason that it is a weak effort compared to the first two entries in the series.

Originally released in theaters with the tacky blue/green tinted glasses in the archaic 3D method viewing the film in 2D on Blu-ray does provide a rather different experience and does prove to be a more enjoyable way of experiencing the film. Yet this is not as thrilling or engaging a sequel as Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams was and that's a shame to have to recognize. At the very least viewers get a good cameo by the sexy, charming, and compelling Salma Hayek (who worked with Rodriguez on several other projects - i.e. The Faculty, Desperado, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, Four Rooms, Roadracers, and From Dusk Till Dawn).

The story focuses primarily on Juni (Daryl Sabara) this time around and his older-sister Carmen (Alexa Vega) is mostly relegated to the sidelines in comparison. Juni had retired from the spy business and was working as a Private Investigator but he is drawn back into the spy world when a video game entitled Game Over is created and sold to eager buyers (mostly kids) who want to enter into its virtual reality setting. He feels he must return to his spy duties as his sister Carmen was captured in the game by the game mastermind, known as The Toymaker (a surprisingly silly and slapsticky Sylvester Stallone).  Once inside of the game Juni must try and beat the game to stop the Toy Maker, save his sister, and also save the entire world from the mind-domination threat being posed by Game Over.


This film fails miserably at being as compelling as the previous two entries were because it makes the mistake of only having a simple setup designed to showcase the special effects of the game environment and have that settle for the entire scope of the story. This is both an insult to adults and to the children who enjoyed the series. Rodriguez likely failed to see this problem during development though. While he still attempts to give the story depth by giving the disabled grandfather (Ricardo Montalban) the ability to be a superhero in Game Over - so that he can help aid and protect Juni, it's a little underdeveloped. There is also a concluding message about the importance of family which does hit home (featuring cameos from the bulk of the actors involved in the first two films) but it feels like an afterthought to the set-piece style action sequences and could have been developed further. The entire film would have benefited from showcasing the entire cast more prominently and with less of a sense of simply trying to amaze audiences with sheer spectacle. The character development and more humorous elements of the series are definitely not as prominent with Spy Kids 3: Game Over.

It's still an exciting film visually and each sequence in the video game world is a bit stranger than the previous segment. This makes it an interesting enough film to watch. It really does deliver to some degree as a sci-fi action picture but the more intelligent and charming side of the equation was what made Spy Kids stand out from other family fare. This series is supposed to be and was much more there mere children's entertainment. Unfortunately, Rodriguez wasn't able to keep the series as wonderfully magical as it had been. Here's hoping to a better and more satisfying film with Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World.

The Blu-ray:  


Video:

The 1080p High Definition image in one word: stunning. The opening credits proclaim this film a Robert Rodriguez "Digital File" and it's clear that equipment of the highest caliber was used to bring a great visual style to life for Spy Kids 3: Game Over. The special effects look significantly better than they did in a dimly-lit 3D presentation and are glossier than either of the other Spy Kids films. Technically, it's a fine looking film and the Blu-ray really does it justice (although viewers might still hope for a release of the 3D version in High Definition at some point; it isn't included here).   The film is presented in the original aspect ratio of 1:78:1. This is easily the best PQ to be found on any of the Spy Kids releases on Blu-ray.

Note:

The images featured in this review are from the DVD release and do not represent the High Definition Blu-ray picture quality.

There are two Blu-ray options for Spy Kids 3: Game Over:  1) An edition with only the Blu-ray disc and 2) an edition including both the Blu-ray disc and a digital copy disc.

Audio:

The audio doesn't disappoint as the film sounds as stunning as the second film in the series did on Blu-ray. The High Definition DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 surround sound track really delivers on all fronts with strong bass, clarity, and dynamics that benefit the sound design and score to the film. Spanish 5.1 Dolby Digital audio is also included on the disc. Subtitles are provided in English, Spanish, and in English for the deaf and hard of hearing.



Extras:

Robert Rodriguez delivers yet another notable and enjoyable feature-length commentary track for the film. He discusses a lot of technical elements and somehow also manages to admit to some elements he found a bit lacking in Spy Kids 3: Game Over (such as a scene he intended to film but ended up dismissing while making the movie). It's a very engaging commentary and one that fans shouldn't pass up on listening to.

Robert Rodriguez Ten-Minute Film School offers another dose of quick tips for future film-makers, Alexa Vega in Concert is exactly as it sounds (she recorded and performed some songs for the film), The Making of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over offers viewers an interesting glimpse into the process of making the film and the footage of the actors working within large green-screen environments is particularly fascinating to behold.

The Effects of the Game is a special effects piece, Making Tracks with Alexa Vega is a brief and even uninformative piece about her being in the studio to record songs for the film, Surfing and Stunts (Multi-Angle) is pretty much exactly as it sounds, and Big Dink, Little Dink is a brief behind-the-scenes video that feels like a family made bonus feature starring Bill Paxton (Dinky Winks) and his son James Paxton (Dinky Winks Jr.).

Lastly, trailers are included for Spy Kids 3: Game Over and for recent or upcoming releases (including Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World).


Final Thoughts:

Spy Kids 3: Game Over is a disappointing follow-up to the great first and second films in the series. This sequel still manages to be moderately entertaining as it does offer up enough interesting visual flourishes to be worth a visit or two. It just doesn't live up to the series better moments. The Blu-ray release is the best of the series with great PQ/AQ and a good collection of extras (even if they aren't new to this Blu-ray release). This is still a film worth owning but only for serious fans of the series as a whole. Recommended.  

Neil Lumbard is a lifelong fan of cinema, and a student who aspires to make movies. He loves writing, and currently does in Texas.

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