It’s too bad that the series went in this direction as this third entry in the successful Spy Kids series is downright awful in every way imaginable. The story itself isn’t very exciting, the acting is at best passable and the plotline with the Toymaker doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But as with the Batman & Robin release, even crap movies can have good transfers as this one does.
Genre(s): Action, Adventure, Family, Comedy
Lionsgate | PG – 84 min. – $19.99 | August 2, 2011
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Writer(s): Robert Rodriguez (written by)
Cast: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Ricardo Montalban, Sylvester Stallone
Theatrical Release Date: July 25, 2003
Features: Commentary, 7 Featurettes, Theatrical Trailers
Number of Discs: 1
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 1080p/Widescreen 1.78
Subtitles: English SDH, English, Spanish
Codec: MPEG-4 AVC
THE MOVIE – 1.0/5
Having now watched all 3 Spy Kid movies over the course of a week, I gave the first two a passing grade, albeit narrowly because they were at least somewhat fun films made for kids but were at least entertaining enough to keep adults satisfied. Now with the final movie, Spy Kids 3: Game Over is an aptly named title for a wretched film that offers no entertainment value, a poorly written script that comes across as lazy than adventurous or funny and acting that is equally as lazy and mostly phoned in by the adults.
The story this go around finds Juni Cortez (DARYL SABARA) retired from the O.S.S. – Organization of Super Spies – and taking odd jobs to make ends meet… or at least to be able to purchase the latest game craze: “Game Over”. But before he can his hands on the game, thanks to getting out of line, he is called back in to the O.S.S. after Donnagan (MIKE JUDGE) – apparently forgiven for trying to take over the organization and the world in Spy Kids 2 – and his hot wife Cesca (SALMA HAYEK) reveal that Carmen’s (ALEXA VEGA) latest assignment was to go into “Game Over” online because its creator, The Toymaker (SYLVESTER STALLONE), is an evil guy who wants to escape the game and the only way he can is if a player makes it past level 5 which is darn near impossible. Why not make it easier to get past that level? I haven’t a clue but he wants to escape so he can… um, I’m not entirely sure about that either. If he’s a clichéd villain it’d be to rule the world.
Now, Juni is sent into the game to rescue his sister who is stuck on level 4 and at that point in the game she cannot be taken out of the chamber room or else her mind will be lost forever inside the game. So, Juni gets inside the game on level 1 and is immediately out of his league as he encounters other gamers who know what to do and do not like competition and do everything to keep Juni away. The first way was by launching him off Earth and onto the moon. At this point he’s given a lifeline from the O.S.S. (don’t ask me why) where he’s able to choose any member to come in and help out. Who does he choose? Not his father. Not his mother. Not kick ass Uncle Machete. Nope, he decided to pick his wheelchair bound Grandfather (RICARDO MONTALBAN) because he’s smart… or something. Juni is able to know that inside the game Grandfather will be able to walk by using a legs icon or some other similar BS. And wouldn’t you know it, the O.S.S. failed to recognize that dear old grandpa has an axe to grind with the Toymaker for something that happened in the past.
Now together, Juni and Grandfather wade their way through the game fighting robots, racing to get to the next level, etc., etc., etc. until we finally get to level 4 where finally Carmen is rescued… sort of because the Toymaker was holding her and decided to release her so that Juni and the other gamers would find their way to level 5 where he would be free. Oh, and during all this, the other games believe Juni is “The Guy”, an icon in the game. I needn’t go on because all of this gets us to one of the most inane finales I’ve ever seen.
I must admit, just recounting the “plot” for Spy Kids 3: Game Over is making me angry. It’s not so much that every other shot was composed to take advantage of the old 3D technology (the red/green glasses), although those shots were annoying, but it’s that the entire story seemed to be so damn lazy. There’s also something misleading when you see in the credit block that it stars Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino but neither one even enter the film until the finale and even then they’re only on screen for maybe 7-8 minutes. They are joined by other actors from the first two films like Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Bill Paxton, Danny Trejo, etc. who were obviously shot against a green screen separately. Rodriguez brought the characters together to defeat the Toymaker’s massive weapon which can only be seen via special glasses.
I have a lot of respect for Robert Rodriguez as he is a fine director but the final scene was one of the worst I’ve witnessed and the film as a whole is one big mess. I found nothing redeeming with nonsensical action scenes that would only impress George Lucas, characters that are mundane and a villain that wasn’t funny and wasn’t much of a threat especially since I wasn’t entirely sure what his devious plan was. All that doesn’t matter because, and we are in spoiler territory here, only a couple of the bad people in the Spy Kid movies actually get punished while the others come back free and clear.
Given how decent the previous two films were, great for kids and at the very least acceptable for adults, Spy Kids 3 was a major misstep. The 3-D element obviously helped it out at the box office but when watching at home in 2-D, it gets a little annoying, though the script is far worse.
SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.75/5
Audio Commentary – Jack of All Trades Robert Rodriguez sits down for a relaxed and entertaining commentary where he breaks down how some scenes were shot. Most interesting is at the beginning he says that this isn’t the last commentary as he will be recording one for the first Spy Kids release, but that Blu-ray does not have a track… In any case, Rodriguez keeps a good energy throughout and gives some tid-bits like maybe filming a scene at Ricardo Montalban’s house with him and two buddy spies played by Roger Moore and Sean Connery.
Robert Rodriguez Ten Minute Film School (9:51; SD) covers how they used the green screen in different scenes.
Alex Vega in Concert (9:56; SD) – The actress sings the title song, “Game Over”, at the premiere for Spy Kids 3. There are two other songs sung, one by another actor and the third by Vega again.
The Making of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (21:14; SD) – This is a basic ‘making-of’ EPK featurette where the cast and crew sound off. I know this was made for TV thanks to the voice over.
The Effects of the Game (6:40; SD) is a montage showing the various effects elements in different scenes. This is actually somewhat interesting to just see that nearly every shot had some form of visual effects.
Making Tracks with Alexa Vega (0:59; SD) finds the actress in the recording booth doing takes for the single, “Game Over”.
Surfing and Stunts (Multi-Angle) (1:08; SD) – This is some storyboards from the surfing scene. I don’t have an “angle” button on my remote, not sure how many do now, but I assume you can switch and see some of the live action elements.
Big Dink, Little Dink (1:40; SD) focuses on the Bill Paxton character and his real life son who appear in the movie.
Theatrical Trailer (2:01: SD)
Previews – Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D, Alpha and Omega, Battle for Terra, Thor: Tales of Asgard
The second disc contains a digital copy to infect your portable device and/or computer with this crap movie.
VIDEO – 4.5/5
Spy Kids 3: Game Over as a film might’ve stunk but the 1.78 aspect ratio and 1080p high-def transfer looks great. Compared with the other two films, this is easily the brightest with neon pinks, yellows, oranges and other colors that pop off the screen. Obviously this was to help along the 3-D aspects, but we do benefit from it now on the home video market. The detail levels are excellent and skin tones look just right without being oversaturated.
AUDIO – 4.5/5
The disc gets a vibrant DTS-HD MA 5.1 track which shows off the many action sequences while also displaying some of the quieter moments. Dialogue primarily comes through the center channel as the action elements provide depth via the front and rear speakers. I didn’t notice much coming from the LFE channel though it did kick on a few times.
OVERALL – 2.5/5
Overall, it’s too bad that the series went in this direction as this third entry in the successful Spy Kids series is downright awful in every way imaginable. The story itself isn’t very exciting, the acting is at best passable and the plotline with the Toymaker doesn’t make a whole lot of sense. But as with the Batman & Robin release, even crap movies can have good transfers as this one does. There are also a couple OK features so if you like the movie or you’re just a completist, then it might be worth owning, otherwise this is a definite skip.
Brian Oliver, The Movieman
Check out some more screen caps by going to page 2.