Saturday, September 14, 2013

Spy Kids

The Spy Kids movies must have been a blast to make. They manage to great for kids, while still being intelligent enough for adults. It can use over-the-top humor with all sorts of crazy gadgets that make things fun.

Spy Kid's II: Island of Dreams starts with the trademark "over-the-top" spy scene. In this case, it takes place in an amusement park with ridiculous rides. The president's daughter is there, and manages to escape from the ride - with a device that can destroy the world. The lead Spy Kids (Carmen and Juni Cortez) attempt to save her. However, "Garry and Gerti", a second group of OSS spy kids are sent as backup. The kids (and their families) end up competing the entire movie. They work as a family, solving regular family issues - only they happen to deal with the destruction of the world. (Gerti has a great line at the end, mentioning that Dad will be so in trouble with mom for trying to take over the world again.) In the movie, they have all sorts of gadgets (including a watch that does everything - except tell time.) However, it is the lowly rubber-band that is most valuable. The main spy caper involves a Jurassic Park-like island with minaraturized and bizarro animals. ("horse-fly", "spider-monkey", etc.) All of elements were very well carried out, bizarre enough to be funny, but consistent enough to feel real. This is one of the best movies I've seen in a while.

Spy Kids 3: Game Over follows the same formula as the others. It was well done, though not quite as good as the second movie. In this movie, the kids travel inside a video game to try to prevent the "Gamemaker" from taking over the world. In the game, everyone adopts their "gaming id", thus the real "cool" guys in the game often end up being nerds in real life.

Spy Kids 4: All The Time in the World was released almost a decade later. The original kids are grown up, and some new kids are part of the "reboot". It has many of the Spy Kids trademarks, but overall was not as good. I recalled Roger Ebert's review of the original Spy Kids movie. He enjoyed the movie and complimented its ability to be humourous a "Family" without resorting to vulgarity. Alas, in Spy Kids 4 we get barf-bag and diaper bombs. I had seen this one before seeing the other Spy Kids movies. I thought it was good at the time. However, after seeing the others, I realize that it doesn't come close to the high bar set. The appearance of the adult Carmen and Juni seems contrived. While they play a key roll in the movie, their acting is flat.

Overall, the entire series is a great example of building well made stories out of imagination that is as crazy as possible while still being believable.

No comments:

Post a Comment