Matrix Jr.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
Review by Ross Anthony

Ever the imagineer, Robert Rodriguez takes his latest episode into the 3D dimension. Shot in digital inside and out, the film will be best screened in theaters housing Digital Projection units (that's how I screened it).

Most of the film is in 3-D, but some of it is not. Rodriguez, who wrote, edited, directed, produced, scored, etc. SPY KIDS, chose appropriate moments for viewers to don and not don those goofy glasses. Namely, when our hero (mostly Juni this time) is inside the video game named fittingly Game Over.

Though polarized glasses technology is superior to those silly red/blue glasses, I'm guessing the costs of the former were prohibitive enough to force the use of the latter. Too bad, the viewer's eyes are going to strain a bit and the colors suffer somewhat. Though overall fun, the 3-D here seldom strikes rock solid. I found myself often straining to make the two images converge in my mind; I kept trying to believe it instead of the 3-D simply barreling me over. Actually, even when the images converged well, this digital 3-D still doesn't have the punch of film.

That said, the digital 2-D looks just fine. And don't get me wrong, the picture looks good all the way through, my comments here are in the tuning department.

As for the story and action... Back when I interviewed Rodriguez for "Spy Kids 2", he wouldn't tell us anything about this film because as he said (and I paraphrase), "It's a big idea and big ideas are easy to steal." I can appreciate his concern over theft, but this idea is not far off from MATRIX (which he aptly ribs) or TRON.

In any event, the film is juicy image fun from start to finish. No down time, all eye-candy. Rodriguez thankfully departs from the focus on gadgetry somewhat over done in the SPY KIDS2, and instead plays the film like a video game from the inside out. The battling robot sequence is brilliant -- a wondrously creative idea.

Though rough and tumbly at times, the film ends with a great message. More a kids' film this time, Rodriguez has abandoned adult oriented bones in hopes that the eye-candy will be enough to captivate us older folks.

One last note, I loved the way the film begins, with Juni as the lone PI. Disgruntled with the OSS and perfectly satisfied with finding lost toys, redirecting lost or confused kids for his standard fee of $4.95 -- I was a little sad when he drops that gig for secret agenting.

Rodriguez used Hi-Def video cameras created by James Cameron and Pace Tech, which Cameron had developed for "Ghosts of the Abyss." Click here for interviews with Cameron about these cameras.

Note: This is all Juni, only cameo usage of other Cortez family members here, save for Grandpa.

[Interviews with the stars and Rodriguez] [Spy Kids review] [Spy Kids 2 review]

  • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over. Copyright © 2003. Rated PG.
  • Starring Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, Ricardo Montalban, Sylvester Stallone, Ryan James Pinkston, Roberto Vito, Bobby Edner, Courtney Jines.
  • Written, Edited & Directed by Robert Rodriquez.
  • Produced by Elizabeth Avellan and Robert Rodriguez at Dimension/Troublemaker.


Copyright © 2001. Ross Anthony, currently based in Los Angeles, has scripted and shot documentaries, music videos, and shorts in 35 countries across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia. For more reviews visit:

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Last Modified: Saturday, 16-Sep-2006 07:54:17 PDT