I have not yet seen the first two in this series, but liked "Spy Kids 3-D" (2003) for what it is. What that is, first and foremost, is a movie for kids. I went with two kids, one 8, the other 11. The younger one loved the movie and the 3-D aspect and couldn't wait to log on to the website after she got home (difficult website, though, and she soon lost interest). The older one liked it also, but commented about the "Spy Kids" series, "They keep getting dumber and dumber." Very young children might be scared by some of the flashy scenes and have trouble with the 3-D part. So, the target audience is pretty narrow, but there are a lot of 5-12 year-old kids out there with parents who need to chaperone them....
|Ricardo Montalban dominates this film through his sheer manly presence|
Now, for adults, this is a lot less painless to sit through than most movies for kids. Ricardo Montalban, for my money, gives a splendid performance and just steals the show from everyone else involved. He gets off a few classic lines ("I can do much, much more than that") and, for those who know his history, a few obvious references to his earlier screen incarnations ("Don't touch that, it is Corinthian leather.") Obviously, the kids won't appreciate his history, but he is an outstanding actor who fills his grandfather role nicely.
|Sylvester Stallone departs just a bit from his standard tough-guy persona|
Sylvester Stallone gives an amusing performance. Salma Hayek is pretty as always, though she isn't given much to do. After that, the supporting cast is pretty low-key. I thought Courtney Jines, who plays Demetra, gave a fine, laid back kind of performance that was perfect for the part. Nobody else really registered very strongly, the stars of the show are the situation and the special effects.
|I really like that visual, the way it is set up to focus you on Ricardo in an almost ethereal way|
The putative stars, the "Spy Kids" themselves, are innocuous and no threat to win any acting awards. Alexa Vega is getting, shall we say, womanly, though Daryl Sabara still looks enough like a kid to get by. I can see why children still relate to them, they are portrayed as average kids who are not superior beings or anything like that. Unfortunately, they also are quickly moving out of the "kid" category, so I can understand why the people behind the series have said this is the last in the line.
|Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas and the others also are terrific in "Spy Kids 3-D"|
The 3-D gimmick worked for me. I stopped noticing the blue-red glasses after a while. Others say they strain the eyes, but they did not strain mine. I think it was a brilliant decision, although to tell the truth, the 3-D was not that big a deal. I have seen good 3-D, and this is minor league, but it was fun and something different for the kids.
|3-D is good, I don' tknow if it is this good, but you decide|
As for the plot, well, it involves entering a video game (as in the classic "Tron" and so many subsequent films) and solving a problem. Other than that, it makes no sense, especially the resolution, but I'm sure nobody spent too much time trying to make the plot mean anything. It is fun and has a lot of color and action, so the kids will love it. This is sure to do blockbuster business on dvd as a gift to children. I laughed a few times, so it doesn't have to be like going to the dentist for an adult, either. Recommended for kids and adults who have to see a kid's movie with them.
Below is the trailer for "Spy Kids 3-D."