Spy Kids 3D: Game Over

Stars:  Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Ricardo Montalban, Sylvester Stallone, Holland Taylor, Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Steve Bucemi, Alan Cumming, Salma Hayek, Bobby Edner, Mike Judge
Director:   Robert Rodriguez
Screenwriter:   Robert Rodriguez

If you really want to enjoy this third installment of Richard Rodriguez’ successful kids’ spy series, toss the goofy 3D glasses that come with the DVD and watch the 2D version instead. There you’ll find fabulous eye-popping colors and imagery wrapped around a tight engaging story. If you insist on trying the 3D version, be prepared for a dreary palate and crossed eyes. I gave up and opted to watch the story the traditional way. Besides, it’s really hard reading the menu wearing those 3D glasses.

In Game Over, we find Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara), the youngest spy of the Cortez family, retired from the espionage game and trying to live the life of an average teenager when the President of the United States (George Clooney) urges him to return to the trade for an urgent mission, to save his sister, Carmen (Alexa Vega), who is trapped inside a multileveled, three-dimensional video game created by the family’s arch enemy, a man called the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone), a madman who wants to take over the world by controlling kids’ minds while they are trapped inside his virtual-reality games.

Juni gets to choose from his various family members, one person to join him on his mission. Rather than selecting either of his famous spy parents, Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) or Ingrid (Carla Gugino) to help, Juni chooses his wheelchair-bound grandfather (Ricardo Montalban), for his wisdom and vast experience. Juni has to wend his way through the different levels of the game. He first gets heavy competition then some solid help from four computer game beta-testers who test the products before they’re sold: the cool Rez (Robert Vito), strongman Arnold (Ryan Pinkston), the smart Francis (Bobby Edner) and the tough, intuitive Demetra (Courtney Jines) before he’s able to reach Carmen and eventually save the world in a very short denouement with the help of the rest of his family and friends (and even former foes) from the previous Spy Kids movies.

The fun lies in the ingenious challenges that Juni must face: toads on pogo sticks, being part of a robotic boxing match, a frightfully fast road race using magnificent flying cars and cool lava surfing. There are giant menacing robots and even a lava monster.

Lotta says:   The effects are well executed, but given the fact that there isn’t a single real image with which the performers interact, performances sometimes suffer – particularly that of Daryl Sabara’s. Stallone gets to play four characters in different getups and generally does a good job. Good family fun. Again, don’t suffer through the 3D; your eyes will thank you.

Studio:  Dimension Films
Production Company:  Troublemaker Studios, Miramax

DVD Features:  Contains 3-D and 2-D versions of the film, includes 3-D glasses, director commentary, featurettes “The Making of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over” and Robert Rodriguez’ “Ten Minute Film School”.
Video Format:  Widescreen
Audio Tracks:  English, Spanish
Number of Discs:  1
Closed-Captioned:  yes

Reviewed Feb. 23, 2003