Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)

spy_kids_3_d_game_overWell, it’s clear by this series that Robert Rodriguez has had his influences. The first film was a throwback to the old spy movies, the second was a throwback to Ray Harryhausen and Indiana Jones, while this is more of a throwback to that amusing science fiction yarn “Tron”, that other yarn “Running Man”, and the unknown gem “Star Wars” (har har). This has been just an adorable exciting fun series with adorable stories and adorable kid actors, and this is no exception.

I never had the chance to see this in theaters which was originally released in 3D for amusement for the kiddies, but, like the other installments, I was able to check this out at home, but I had a lot of fun nonetheless. Ah, the kids have grown and we meet yet again the Cortez kids. This time the story focuses on Juni (Daryl Sabara reprising his role), the clumsy younger brother who has quit the OSS and is not a PI for hire looking for lost toys, and pets and trying to make money for the newest video game craze “Game Over” run by the mysterious game master (Sylvester Stallone). Juni is then called to arms out of retirement from the Giggles family, the Cortez kids rivals from the second film. The parents, Donnagon and Cesca (new cast member Salma Hayek) tell Juni that Carmen has been kidnapped and is being held captive in the unbreakable video game and convince him to go into it and look for her or risk losing her once and for all.

Meanwhile he has to also break through to other kid players who are being duped into believing there’s a grand prize in the end of the game, but are really being captured and kept prisoner forever. With the help of four other players including the spunky Demetra (adorable eleven year old Courtney Jines) , he has to break through the fortress of the game encountering all sorts of creatures and obstacles, but he’s not alone, he also has help from his grandfather who has a new body in the game and serves as a conscience and protector for the young boy. This has turned out to be a really enjoyable series with its ups and downs in plot and characters but there’s just so many references here that pop culture enthusiasts will like including Montabalm’s charming character and one-liner referencing his old car commercials, and Bill Paxton screaming “Game over for you boy, game over!”

It’s a clever reference to his stint in “Aliens” not to mention the video game landscapes are so beautiful and bright with great scenery and cool graphics, my favorite being the giant lava monster, plus we get to watch the kids in action yet again who have great chemistry working together to get out of the game, plus we’re introduced to three other characters, players of the game including “The Guy” a super player of the game played by Elijah Wood who has one of the funniest film cameos I’ve seen in a while, but deep down it’s about a kid who has no confidence finding it in saving his beloved sister Carmen once again played by Alexa Vega who’s… matured.

All the characters from the series come back for one last hurrah, mostly Rodriguez regulars, including the villains, minor characters and even George Clooney who reprises his cameo as OSS leader Devlin, Clooney appears for brief instances but manages to invoke a hilarious impression of Sylvester Stallone in one scene. Not a lot of people liked this final installment of the “Spy Kids” series, but I was just taken with this by the charm, the excitement and the colorful scenery glittered throughout the film. On the down side, was there really a need to bring about all of the characters from the first two films into the climax? The entire sequence and climax in the end was just so tacked on, I could barely stand it. There is an invisible robot stalking the city, where are the cops? Other secret agents? Did anyone else notice the flying kids fighting thin air? Regardless, the entire cast from all the parts (excluding Clooney) come together in a really corny scene that is rivaled by the last minutes, the anti-climactic showdown between grandpa and the toy master that was just so cheesy and corny.

Would a little action have been too much to ask for? As far as plot is concerned there’s very little to see here with a lot of the film being comprised of special effects and glittery animation for the eyes, there could have been more as far as character material and plot depth. Sure, it’s a gimmick, but it’s a fun gimmick, and one that kids will love, kids will love this and that’s the main point, this is made for kids. Exciting without being scary, a lot of action without violence director Robert Rodriguez consistently manages to impress me because he knows what kids want and that’s because he likely listens to them. There’s a lot here for kids to like in this generation, video games, fighting, monsters, giant robots, appealing characters and so much more along with good story appeal, and the kid in me ate this escapist adventure up with a spoon. This is a fun finisher to a pretty good series, and Rodriguez knows how to evoke the imagination in children with such an enjoyable family yarn. It’s just been a very fun exciting series for the kids and director Rodriguez who comes through with some imaginative scenery, great adventure and more appealing characters for kids to enjoy.