Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)
Main cast: Antonio Banderas (Gregorio Cortez), Carla Gugino (Ingrid Cortez), Alexa Vega (Carmen Cortez), Daryl Sabara (Juni Cortez), Ricardo Montalban (Grandfather), Holland Taylor (Grandmother), Sylvester Stallone (The Toymaker), Mike Judge (Donnagon Giggles), Salma Hayek (Cesca Giggles), Matthew O'Leary (Gary Giggles), and Emily Osment (Gerti Giggles)
Director: Robert Rodriguez
I had a great laugh when the movie begins with Juni Cortez having left the OSS because of betrayal and what-not, and now he's a kiddie version of the disillusioned Sam Spade sort, going about solving crimes like rescuing missing pets like the PI he is. One of the reasons why I've enjoyed Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids franchise is that it often succeeds in taking grown-up movie clichés and inserting them well in a context that shows how amusingly absurdly serious we grown-ups sometimes take ourselves. However, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over quickly falls apart after fifteen minutes when the whole special 3D effects take over and the movie turns quickly into an incoherent mess of ugly computer graphics and uglier costumes never seen since the Power Rangers decided to retire and sell drugs to kiddies instead.
And the whole 3D effects, come to think of it, isn't that special either. I feel as if I'm being trapped in an epileptic nightmare episode of Barney.
The plot revolves around the Toymaker having created a 3D virtual reality game that has every kid excited. Little do these kiddies know that once they play the game, they will be trapped in the game. Or something. I'm not sure what the Toymaker's plans are, except maybe to give Sylvester Stallone some extra money for his nest egg now that he's at the nadir of his career, except that he has captured Juni's sister Carmen and now it is up to Juni to find Carmen. Carmen's mind is trapped somewhere in Level Four of the Game. To get there, Juni will have to brave envious beta testers, innocent-looking but scary little girls, and lots of ugly colors.
Soon, all semblence of plot, humor, and watchability collapse in face of Rodriguez's attempt to turn this movie into some garish giant pinball game where the audience is the ball that is sent flying all over the board. The production being a bit of mess - the colors are really ugly and sometimes they tend to bleed over each other - offers little visual compensation to the choppy action scenes and lack of good story.
It may indeed be game over for this franchise, if Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over is the most "revolutionary" this franchise has to offer. Should there be a fourth instalment, can we please do things the old-fashioned but fun way again? Leave the whole flashy trick thingies to Industrial Light and Magic, please.
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