Director Robert Rodriguez has been one of the most acclaimed directors over the better part of the last two decades. Audiences and critics alike have praised his visceral approach to filmmaking, showcased in films such as Sin City, El Mariachi and Once Upon a Time in Mexico. I on the other hand have always found his films lacked a certain dimension – the third dimension.
Thankfully Rodriguez remedied this with his 2003 film Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, the final chapter of a groundbreaking trilogy. Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino star in the series as Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez, a husband and wife spy team. After they are put in serious peril in the first film, their daughter Carmen and son Juni come to the rescue. By this point in the story, the kids are full blown spies.
An evil toymaker played by Sylvester Stallone has developed a new videogame called Game Over, which places all those who play it into a trance. The young spies are sent to disable the game, but Carmen ends up getting stuck inside Game Over.
If I can just step up on my soapbox for a minute, I’d just like to say how refreshing it is for a movie to address such a serious issue. Videogames have been warping the minds of young people for decades. Games like Grand Theft Auto reward players for stealing and maiming. Even back in 1981, there were a staggering number of incidents in which teenagers were tossing barrels at one another mimicking the popular game Donkey Kong. Hopefully there are more people out there like Mr. Rodriguez that will draw attention to this dangerous epidemic.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over contains one of the most star-studded casts in recent memory. Not only does the cast include Banderas and Stallone, but also features Salma Hayek, Cheech Marin, Elijah Wood, George Clooney and one of the greatest actors in the history of civilization, Ricardo Montalban.
Ricardo Montalban, as the children’s grandfather, offers up perhaps the finest performance of his illustrious career. That is certainly saying something when you consider that he starred in the classic 1970s series “Fantasy Island” as the white suit wearing Mr. Roarke. You’ll be happy to know that at the age of 87, Ricardo is still going strong, having survived a few health scares and wolverine attacks. The grandpa character shows that just because someone is both elderly and crippled, they still can offer something to society, such as being a plot device in a children’s film.
Unfortunately I was not able to experience the 3-D effects that the film offered. Without access to proper 3-D glasses, I had to resort to other means, including blinking a lot, wearing an eye patch, and placing tin foil on top of my head. None of this helped, but I did look smashing.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over could have ended up being just a silly vehicle using the gimmick of 3-D technology to squeeze a few more dollars out of the movie going public. Luckily, that is not what this film is all about. Aside from all of the nifty spy gadgets and anti-video game sentiments, this film is a remarkable exploration of the ties that bind family together from generation to generation. Robert Rodriguez shows the most important dimension is family, even though that statement doesn’t make any sense.