The MPAA rated S (2003) PG-13 for action
violence and some sensuality.
Robert Rodriquez has become the do it all man
with his Spy Kids franchise. Director, writer, producer, editor,
cinematographer, and even a credit for original music in Spy
Kids 3D are some of his multi-purpose abilities. In return,
his stylized Junior James Bond flicks have returned a handsome
reward. Not bad for something you edit in your garage.
Each successive movie seems to rely more heavily on computerized
special effects, and this one goes over the top in that department.
Like Disneys Tron from a couple of decades ago, the
bulk of this film takes place inside a virtual reality computer
game after Juni Cortez (Daryl Sabara) discovers his older
sister Carmen (Alexa Vega) has been sucked into the games
trap by the evil Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone).
At this point, things get interesting for both Juni and the
audience. Donning a special pair of glasses before
he heads into the virtual world, the audience follows Juni
example by putting on some good ol fashioned 3D specs.
Once inside the game, the film takes on a whole new dimension.
Now the junior spy must overcome obstacles and complete the
various levels separating him from his sister. But the challenge
is too great to meet alone, so Juni calls for help from other
gamers as well as his physically challenged Grandfather (Ricardo
As in previous episodes, this third Spy Kids draws on themes
of family togetherness, team effort, forgiveness, and cooperation.
For this Rodriquez is commended, as he avoids the usual kids
know everything template. Instead Juni immediately recognizes
the wisdom and experience his Grandfather possesses, and looks
past the wheelchair.
On a slight downside, Spy Kids 3D is much more about computer
wizardry than story although that may be appropriate
considering it utilizes the typical video game formula. And
despite all the hype, the 3D effect is disappointing. Using
an older anaglyphic technology meaning you wear blue
and red tinted glasses as opposed to clear polarized lenses
the movie appears dark and at times it is difficult
to see the characters faces. I finally resorted to removing
my eyewear and watching the slightly doubled image on the
As for my four children who had the rare privilege of attending
with me, they thought it was all too cool and I must
agree it was great to enjoy a movie with no language or sex,
and only a mild dose of video game style violence. They also
had a chance to glimpse the past by taking a moment to look
at the audience behind them: The swarm of people in those
crazy 3D glasses looked just like that classic 1950s