Get your little ones ready for the game of their lives, cuz "Spy Kids 3-D:
Game Over" will tickle their little bitty funny bones. This third
installment of the popular "Spy Kids" series is like its predecessors in
that it's high-tech, high-energy, high-fun, and high on the pro-family
moral messages. What's more, it's in 3D, which requires disposable
glasses, handed out at the theater. On the downside, the Spy Kids theme
seems worn out, the actors have out-grown their roles, and the strong
family-values messages are disingenuous and schmaltzy. In short, the
cow's been milked for all its got.
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But, anyway, back to the fun.
In this new adventure, Juni and Carmen Cortez find themselves on
a mission to stop the release of a virtual-reality video game, aptly
titled, "Game Over". It is purported to be the best video game ever,
and lines outside toy stores are growing around the country. But, the
ISS has learned that the infamous "level five" captures the mind of the
player, entrapping him eternally within the game. The threat, of course,
is that "The Toymaker", played by Sylvester Stallone, is really out to
control the minds of our youth, and thus, our future.
It turns out that The Toymaker himself is already entrapped in the game,
so the only way to stop him is to actually play it. The movie begins
when Juni, eager to be an "independent PI" at the age of 10, is called
back to duty to the ISS to enter the game and find his sister Carmen,
who had already tried to invade it, but was suspended in level 4. Juni
catches up to her with the dubious help of a few experienced beta test
players, who are determined to reach the 5th level on their own.
The true essence of the film is to simply show the video game, and
with the 3D glasses, the 80% of the screen time that game consumes is
definitely fun and worth the ride. The funny thing is, "Spy Kids 3D"
makes no attempts to hide the fact that the only reason for the film
is to show game. To wit, the plot points are meaningless, even to the
point where the script itself acknowledges it: Juni asks why the Toymaker
is caught in the game, and the answer is a humorous hand-wave, "Oh, it
just happens." The plot and characters are hurriedly scooted along to
the start of the game, which then goes on and on and on, till the end,
when scores of famous cameo appearances pepper the screen, all having fun
and making statements about the importance of family, and yada yada yada.
Oh, it's not that there is anything wrong with such pro-family
messages. But conspicuously downplayed are the genuine circumstances
and feelings that were the impetus in the first, and best, of the Spy
The 3D aspect of the film involves wearing glasses that give depth to the
objects on the screen. There are two ways to do this, and unfortunately,
Spy Kids 3D uses the old-fashioned way, from the 1950s, where one lens
is red and the other blue. The film is shot with the two colors shifted
in opposite directions, and depth is perceived by the distance of the
shift. Unfortunately, this mutes colors so much, that the beautiful and
surreal colors expressed in the digital photography are lost. I can only
assume that this was intentional, so as to give the video game its own
sense of other-worldliness, which again, was nice.
With all its wild-riding and fun, Spy Kids 3D is just a movie for
kids, unlike the first of the series, which was much smarter and hence,
enjoyable by adults, too. So, best to drop off the little tykes at the
theater with a baby sitter, and go shopping for a while. But, don't buy
anything that's red and blue plaid, or your kids just may throw up on you.
You can find this movie on the internet database here:
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