SPY KIDS 3D: GAME OVER - Movie Review
by Michael Elliott

Artistic Rating: 2-1/2 Stars
Comments: There's too much fun to be had to waste time being overly critical.
Directed By: Robert Rodriquez
Starring: Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, Richardo Montalban, Sylvester Stallone, Salma Hayek
Written By: Robert Rodriquez
Rated: PG for action sequences peril
Running Time: 1 hr : 25 minutes
Scripture References: 1 Samuel 16:7, 2 Corinthians 12:10, 1 Corinthians 1:27

Robert Rodriguez seems determined to milk the Spy Kids franchise until it runs dry. After seeing the third installment, made in just as many years, I was quite surprised to find that this cash cow has not yet keeled over from overproduction. Spy Kids 3D: Game Over may be the cheesiest of them all, but because it never takes itself too seriously, it can be a great deal of fun to watch.

Young Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) has taken an early retirement from the OSS and is now a free lance agent. He is reluctantly drawn back into service when he learns that his older sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega) is "missing."

It turns out that it's only her mind that is gone. An evil genius known only as "The Toymaker" (Sylvester Stallone) has developed "Game Over," a virtual reality computer game that can permanently capture the minds of the players who dare enter it. Carmen, trying to find a way to disable it, has become mentally trapped inside. Juni must now find his way to the elusive 5th level, rescue his sister and shut down the program.

It won't be easy. From Robo-Fighting to Mega-Racing and Lava Fields, each level presents new and increasingly difficult challenges. What's more, the rules of this game seem to change without warning. For support, Juni calls upon his physically challenged grandfather (Ricardo Montalban) who joins him inside the game whereupon he immediately becomes freed from his wheelchair.

The action within the game is filmed using 3-D technology, adding to the virtual reality flavor of the film's story. It is a gimmick that has mixed appeal. The kids in the audience seemed to enjoy the effects. Personally, I kept futzing with my cardboard glasses, trying to keep them balanced over my prescription specs. (Can't anyone come up with a better method to provide the 3D effect?)

The Spy Kids' movies were never about the acting, which is marginal... although I never tire of hearing Ricardo Montalban's mellifluous tones. The story is overly simplistic and often silly. The special effects are appreciated more for their budgetary restraints than for their "wow" factor.

What makes these films work is their attitude. They're fun. Fun to watch and apparently fun to be in. No wonder director Robert Rodriguez can convince so many name actors to accept cameo roles. This film is rife with them. Stallone and Montalban have featured roles. Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Alan Cumming, Steve Buscemi, Holland Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Cheech Marin, Elijah Wood, and Bill Paxton all appear as named characters, many of which poke fun at their celebrity personas.

Such stargazing is an added attraction for the adults who will be accompanying the target audience to this film. The kids will be too enthralled with the colorful and inventive virtual world of Game Over to be concerned with the name-dropping enthusiasm their parents might experience.

Amid all the silliness are any number of moral lessons. Perhaps the most valuable is the same lesson recently seen in Finding Nemo. It has to do with disabilities and how they affect perception. In reality, Juni's grandfather is restricted to a wheelchair. In virtual reality, he stands a giant among men. The truth which we eventually learn is that the strength he demonstrates within the game is the same strength he demonstrates outside of it. It is we who have difficulty seeing past the wheelchair to really see the man who sits within it.

God has no such problem. And He exhorts us to move past our preconceptions and prejudices to see things as He would.

But the LORD said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have refused him: for [the LORD seeth] not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 (KJV)

September Home