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Movie Review

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over

MPAA Rating: PG for action sequences and peril.

Reviewed by: Caroline Mooney
CONTRIBUTOR

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Kids, Family
Genre:
Action, Adventure, Kids, Sequel
Length:
1 hr. 24 min.
Year of Release:
2003
USA Release:
July 25, 2003
Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films Copyright, Dimension Films
Relevant Issues
Copyright, Dimension Films

How can I be and feel forgiven? Answer

If God forgives me every time I ask, why do I still feel so guilty? Answer

Save Yourself Some Pain: Ten Tips for New and Growing Christians—GO

Spies in the Bible

Kid Explorers
Adventures in the rainforest! Learn about the Creator of the universe by exploring His marvelous creation. Fun for the whole family with games, activities, stories, answers to children’s questions, color pages, and more! One of the Web’s first and most popular Christian Web sites for children. Nonprofit, evangelical, nondenominational.
Featuring: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Ricardo Montalban, Holland Taylor, Sylvester Stallone, Mike Judge, Salma Hayek, Matt O'Leary, Emily Osment, Ryan James Pinkston, Robert Vito, Bobby Edner, Courtney Jines, Cheech Marin, Danny Trejo, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Steve Buscemi, Bill Paxton, George Clooney, Elijah Wood, Selena Gomez, Evan Sabara, Camille Chen, Steve Wertheimer, Alejandro Rose-Garcia, Lane Turney, Glen Powell Jr., Bob Fonseca, Peter Marquardt, James Paxton
Director: Robert Rodriguez
Producer: Dimension Films, Los Hooligans Productions, Troublemaker Studios, Elizabeth Avellán, Robert Rodriguez, Bill Scott, Bob Weinstein, Harvey Weinstein
Distributor: Dimension Films

“3rd Mission. 3rd Dimension.”

See reviews for Spy Kids and Spy Kids 2

My daughters, and fellow critics, have anxiously awaited the release of “Spy Kids 3D:Game Over”, and I must confess to certain anxiety myself, you know, the feeling of imprisonment while being forced to watch a low budget, at best C grade movie for what seems a virtual eternity. I was dead wrong, at least about the C grade, and pleasantly surprised.

“Spy Kids 3D” proved to be a morally pertinent story for children today. With zero profanity, sensuality, and extremely mild violence, in fact, no one gets hurt, my children and I have been able to discuss the film as viewed through a Christian-World-View lens.

In short, “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over” is the story of Juni, a “retired” child spy who returns to work to rescue his older sister, Carmen. Trapped within a video game operated by the evil Toymaker, she remains a captive unless liberated. The rescue attempt is a daunting task, and considered by all to be impossible; yet, Juni appears to be the “chosen one” for such a feat and his love for Carmen provides ample motivation. Aided by his grandfather, a former co-worker, and victim of the toymaker, three young boys, each with their own desires to win, and a young girl whom Juni takes a liking to, the group encounters seemingly overwhelming obstacles meant to prevent both the rescue and the destruction of the evil empire.

The Toymaker, played by Sylvester Stallone, battles fierce internal conflicts revealing a very lonely “bad guy.” He desires to do “the right thing” but his alter egos, characters he created (and also plays) to overcome loneliness, urge him to “do the smart thing” instead, claiming that the “ends justify the means.” Of course, the ending is somewhat predictable but there are a few surprises.

Without giving away the storyline, let me add that the movie addresses issues of family loyalty, trust, and the healing powers of forgiveness, to both the one forgiven and the one forgiving.

While driving home, my daughters and I discussed another observation, that while the movie is definitely low-budget and the paper glasses become irritating, especially due to the fact that one lens is red and the other is yellow, Mr. Rodriguez, the genius behind the movie, has created a wonderful family film, ripe with biblical parallels, truly a rarity in studios of today.

Viewers will glean solid Christian ideals with which they can spark conversation and engage their children. One in particular is the toymaker’s ambition to confiscate the minds of youth. He knows that if he can control their thoughts, he can eventually control the world. Satan’s goal is to distract and separate us from our Lord through worldly activities. When we allow evil to influence our minds, or spend excessive amounts of time satisfying our own lusts, we too become vulnerable.

It is only through a daily relationship with Jesus that we have the hope of overcoming obstacles placed in our paths by the devil.

Little by little, every inch we give to the devil overcrowds our minds while displacing the Spirit of God. Over attention to things offered by the world deafens our ears and hearts to His gentle and quiet voice within us.

Humbly, I offer no “warnings” to parents, and in fact recommend “Spy Kids 3D: Game Over” as a teaching opportunity and fun family entertainment, provided you can stand the low-budget, mediocre acting. Nevertheless, the rewards are rich conversation starters, your very own plastic 3D glasses, and a few thrills from the excitement of imagining yourself inside a video game.

Violence: Mild / Profanity: None / Sex/Nudity: None

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive—The themes of forgiveness, restoration, and self self-sacrifice are skillfully demonstrated in a movie that thrilled my children (ages 3-9). The strong family relationships, respectful valuation of the elderly and disabled, and appropriate “boy-girl” interaction added to the movie’s value. We look forward to the next Spy Kids Adventure.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Larry, Jennifer and children, ages 47, 38, 9, 7, 5, 3
Positive—It was a nice movie. My son, who is 10 really enjoyed it. The glasses were a bit annoying but overall I thought it really dealt with a lot of christian things like forgiveness and trust and love.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Angel, age 31
Positive—This film had a great moral message, though the plot was more an excuse to set up lots of neat computer graphics scenes. It felt more to me like one of those 3-D movies they make for theme parks. And yes, the glasses make the color look terrible, the studio could have passed out better model of glasses. Not up to the other two on the series, but a fun way to spend an afternoon. Can’t see this one catching on in the video market though without the 3D effects.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Kevin, age 32
Negative—This is truly one of the worst films I have seen lately. Even the children I took with me thought the film was bad (ages 10, 11, 13, and 17). It’s true there is no offensive language, sex etc., but there is also a terrible story, acting and just plain stupid scenes. The forgiveness part at the end was different but the whole movie was so ridiculous that I would hate for anyone to waste their money.
My Ratings: [Good / 2]
—Debbie, age 46
Positive—Very good moral story. It’s not whether you win or lose but how you play the game. It gives you an opening to talk to your children.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Sabrina, age 35
Negative—Our anticipation for Spy Kids 3 was fueled by our enjoyment of the first two Spy Kid movies. Unfortuately, our family left disappointed. First, the glasses. You would think that the technology of 3-D would have improved over the past 30 years… sadly, it hasn’t. The glasses made it virtually impossible to see the film because they were so dark… leaving my 7-year-old frustrated… and refusing to wear the glasses… making the film complete torture on the eyeballs. Second, the plot. The first two Spy Kids movies held our attention throughout. This third film left us looking at our watches (after 30min.) The story line is not well developed, portrayed, or even inviting. Most of the Cortez family (Mom, Dad, Grandma, Uncle, etc.) are absent until the last 5 minutes of the film .) And the sister doesn’t come in until more than halfway through. We were surprised by that! Sly Stallone’s portrayal was quite cheezy and over-acted. He should have passed on this one. Morally, we didn’t see a problem with the film. It was clean. Clean and kinda boring. We would suggest that you wait for the video release next year.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 2]
—Diana O’Reilly, age 34
Positive—I must admit I struggle inside regarding how to rate this movie. I almost gave it a “NOTHING offensive” rating, but there were just a few things that bothered me. I thought I’d list things possibly objectionable, and then state other pros and cons as I saw them. First, things you may consder objectionable:

1) Cheating was used, and embraced, by the main character, Juni, as a means to an albeit good end (rescuing his sister). Juni ALMOST faced punishment, but was rescued from that punishment. Those who would have punished Juni for cheating were seen as bad guys. (Personal note: while using “cheat codes” in video games is not seen by some, including me, as really cheating because you are not violating a BEING and are actually just configuring the game to be played a certain way, the word “cheating” was used and the potential of using the cheat to beat other human opponents within the game existed.)

2) The man who in SK2 tried to kill others and take over the world, and who was (to my amazement) only FIRED for this in SK2, has been reinstated into the OSS’s service! Forgiveness is one thing, but this is so far from reality that I can’t swallow it.

3) Juni gets a “girlfriend”. Objectionable? Well, considering how young Juni is, and considering that their relationship has lasted a whole 30 minutes, some may find this objectionable. Personally, I’d like my kids to think of romance as something that young adults and adults participate in, not something that should be pursued at age 10 (or however old Juni is).

4) Violence in the movie never leads to real physical damage. This fits the video gaming model, in which only computer-generated “beings” experience the effects of the violence, but some may object because these are real people who would be truly hurt by violence shown in this movie (though it is not gratuitous, in my opinion).

5) Kids are portrayed as self-sufficient, living apart from their parents. This is part of the fantasy the series is based-on, namely that kids could be successful spies, rescuers, etc. at all, and have the knowledge, maturity, authority, etc. of adults. Perhaps not sinful, but very unrealistic.

On now to the other pros and cons. On the Pro side, there were several biblical truths expressed and played-out in this movie, which this Web site has covered—that was very refreshing, and provides great grounds for disussing the movie with your kids. Several times it was as if on a hot summer day I had been splashed in the face with cool water, wonderful! Secondly, there was VERY little to object to, quite uncommon in this day. Thirdly, it was neat to see the visual effects—i.e. how real it seemed that these kids really WERE in a video game world, and how the video game interacted with them.

Now a few cons. Firstly, I was very unimpressed with the depth of plot. It was quite shallow, and subplots, if you can identify any at all, were likewise very shallow. My wife strongly disliked the movie mainly for this reason. Secondly, the movie is only 1hr 29mins long, also disappointing. Thirdly, there were far fewer spy gadgets, at least that I remember, in this movie than there were in its predecessors. Fourthly, some of the brother-sister relationship dynamics that helped make the other SK movies so enjoyable were missing, due to the fact that Carmen does not really “appear” until late in the movie. Lastly, the fact that the movie was so short and plot so shallow, and that on the 3-D glasses is an advertisement for the REAL video game based on the movie, made me wonder if the movie is really just a big ad thrown together for the purpose of selling millions of copies of the video game.

Overall, I don’t think I’d pay full price at the theater to see this one had I know all I know now, but I do recommend this movie for its positive points and would not hesitate to rent, or perhaps even buy, the DVD when it comes out.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Gordon Grout, age 37
Neutral—I really enjoy Action/Sci-fi movies, BUT this movie was O.K for a SK movie, although it was pretty ridiculous, stupid acting/scenes/plot ect. There is no sex/nudity no drugs or foul language. What really stings me about this movie is that they could have made a better script (that’s my opinion). Who ever goes and wastes there money on any movie, just please don’t do it on this one of your kid/self wants to see it really bad. I recommend children above the age of 11 with think this movie was quite ridiculous.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3]
—Benjamin, age 12
Neutral—This movie had a good message but it was not worth the money. I went with 6 kids who thought it was boring. Wait for the video.
My Ratings: [n/a / 2]
—Diann, age 33
Positive—Spy Kids 3-D is a good movie to see with the whole family. Carmen and Juni are back in a new adventure that takes place inside a video game. Sylvestor Stallone plays the evil toymaker who is out to brainwash all the children who play his new game. Carmen has already gone into the game to try and shut it down. The OSS has lost contact with her and sends in Juni to assist her. They run into many obstacles, including other players, that slow them down on their journey to Level Five. I am sure kids of all ages, and adults, will enjoy the new instalment to the Spy Kids series.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—Katy Young, age 14
Positive—I thought this movie was great. I liked the second one better but I liked this one. The glasses did work but I had to take them off for a couple of seconds a couple of times because it gave me a little head ache. I think ages 4 and up can see this movie because there isn’t even any monsters or cussing or any scary moments. I just think this is a great movie and I think everybody else will like it.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Carolyn, age 10
Positive—This movie is the best movie I ever saw.It had no bad language and nothing offensive. My family enjoyed this movie a lot, the glasses might be a little annoying but it still is a great movie. My Mom thought it taught you a good lesson. Enjoy!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Peter, age 8
Positive—This was a great movie! Good for kids of all ages! though the 3D wasn’t all that great, I still liked it! The acting was great! One of my favorite movies!
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Ashley, age 11