Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
Spies in the Bible
|Featuring:||Antonio Banderas (as Gregorio Cortez), Carla Gugino (Ingrid Cortez), Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Teri Hatcher, Cheech Marin, Robert Patrick, Danny Trejo, Mike Judge, Richard Linklater, See all »|
|Producer:||Dimension Films, Troublemaker Studios, Elizabeth Avellan, Cary Granat, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Scott, Tamee Smith Zimmerman, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein|
“Spy Kids” is quite possibly one of the best “family-friendly” action films to hit the big screen in a long time. It is “Willy Wonka”-fantasy meets “James Bond”-style action. While there is plenty of familiar territory in the film, it is all exceptionally produced. “Spy Kids” is well-crafted, well-acted, and well-directed.
The film centers around the Cortez family. The parents are Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino) Cortez, retired professional spies. They met as enemies determined to kill each other, but instead fell in love and now are devoted to raising their two children. Gregorio and Ingrid aren’t your stereotypical clueless adults. Mom spends time reading to the children, including many concerned and involved conversations about the children’s well being in school. The children are an average brother/sister team. Carmen (Alexa Vega) is the older sibling and the protector. Juni (Daryl Sabara) is the nerdy coming-of-age brother. While there is some sibling rivalry present, writer/director Robert Rodriguez surprisingly uses it as a positive vehicle.
The story steps into the action as smooth as the first long hill of a roller coaster, and once you crest the hill it is non-stop. Mom and Dad are drawn out of retirement as many former spies disappear. An evil minion named Minion (Tony Shaloub) kidnaps mom and dad. The “I-must-rule-the-world” villain is Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). Fegan has a children’s show that hides his clever scheme for world-domination. His fantasy seaside castle is complete with robot-clone-kids and Thumb Monsters that resemble an evil counterpart of the Oomphas of Willy Wonka fame. His exact copies of children in the world are lacking one thing—artificial intelligence.
The film includes wonderful appearances by Cheech Martin and Teri Hatcher. Be sure to watch for the cameo by George Cloney. The rocket packs, child-size jets, and a whole array of wonderful gadgets work well in this fantastic release. Instead of undermining familiar, “Spy Kids” teaches positive messages about morality and never insults the family unit. The violence, while present, is not scary. The language is so scarce that the film is closer to a G rating than a PG rating. There is one instance where a character begins to say a curse word, but quickly changes it into a word from another language. don’t miss the great dialogue at the end of the film.
Take your kids (5 and up recommended), your entire family, and make an excuse to see this one more than once. it’s worth it! When it is released to video, you will enjoy this rare treat in your family library. Take some time to send Mr. Rodriquez and Dimension Films a note of thanks for an absolutely fun action film.
ATTENTION HOLLYWOOD: You can make great films!