Spy Kids 3-D
Like a family tradition which everyone attends but no one enjoys like they used to, Robert Rodriguez brings us the finale installment of the Spy Kids franchise. This time around, the action is in eye-popping 3-D; however, as the first two Spy Kids films attest, high-tech gadgetry is nothing compared to the strength of family. Ironically, Spy Kids 3 falls short because it neglects the family aspect of the film in exchange for great 3-D effects.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is primarily about Juni, the younger brother of the Cortez family. His mission: to rescue his sister Carmen who is trapped inside a video game. If he can free her, the spy siblings must then shut down the game, which threatens to imprison the minds of all children who play it.
After a giant robot battle and a very cool 3-D race scene, Juni earns the respect of a group of other kids, Beta testers, to help him in his quest to find Carmen and beat the game. At this point, I was sufficiently "wow-ed" by the 3-D effects, but the film felt empty without the terrific sibling banter between Carmen and Juni, or the silly antics of Mom and Dad.
Another problem was the lack of any real danger. There were no robot children, giant thumbs, or crazy, mutated animals that could pop up out of nowhere. Most of the conflict stemmed from predictable, human contests and resolution happened too easily. Additionally, the filmmakers made the mistake of playing the villain entirely for laughs and forgot to make him evil. Sly Stallone is fairly humorous as the Toymaster, and his part provides the majority of the very few laughs meant for adults. Still, the film would have been vastly improved by a proper villain who seemed a little less neurotic, and a little more like a menacing mastermind.
To the filmmaker's credit, the 3-D effects are great, and worth the price of admission. But for those unfamiliar with the Spy Kids franchise, the third film is not the one to start with, (unless said person loved Tron). Spy Kids 3-D is smarter and more interesting than the average kids film, but it is missing the family element which made the previous two films so much fun.
One last thing, stick around for the credits for some funny out-takes and audition footage from the original Spy Kids.
-Megan A. Denny