Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003): ***
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
The final installment of the Spy Kids trilogy is thankfully better
than the second film but not quite up to the level of the first
film. It has many of the same problems of the second film but is
much shorter, and has a more focused plot because of that. Not that
it doesn't wander.
It really feels like with the last couple of Spy Kids movies that
Rodriguez just needed to give the scripts one more look-over to
make sure they were actually coherent.
Anyway. This film has over an hour of 3-D footage. I had never
seen a real theatrical release of a 3-D movie before. It's really
interesting. It kind of washes the color out. In the print of the
film I saw the red of the glasses was just slightly off so that
there were periodically ghost images because the red wasn't getting
completely filtered out.
The plot is about Juni, who retired last episode for some reason
that really didn't make sense, being brought back to the OSS in
order to save his sister, who has become trapped in a VR game by
Sylvester Stallone's Toymaker, who has been imprisoned in VR since
apparently 1973. How did they have VR back then? Don't ask. But
from his VR prison he has managed to create a VR game that, when
it goes online, will turn all the children who play it into basically
From there the movie has basically an "interrupted journey"
plot, where Juni has to get to Level 4 but obstacles and people
keep getting in his way and he has to deal with each problem that
presents itself before he can finally reach his goal. As such, this
more than any other Spy Kid film is all about Juni. Carmen is actually
only in about a half hour or so of the film.
Much of the plot of the movie consists of people worrying that
Grandfather (whom Juni brought into the game because of his tactical
ability), who was put in a wheelchair by the Toymaker some 30 years
ago, is going to release the Toymaker into the real world so that
he can wreak some sort of horribly bloody vengeance upon him. Will
he do it? Is his thirst for revenge so great that he will endanger
the world just to get it? Can Juni (who didn't know about Toymaker
and Grandfather's history when he brought Grandfather into the game)
do anything about it?
There are some sequences (especially the race) that really felt
like a video game, and for that I give this film a ton of credit.
All to often shows or cartoons that are supposed to take place in
a video game feel absolutely nothing like a video game would actually
be. But this film does.
I really don't know how he does it, but Rodriguez inspires an unbelievable
amount of loyalty from his actors. Practically everyone he's ever
had in any of his films is in this movie in some capacity or another.
George Cluny, Bill Paxton, Steve Buscemi, Mike Judge, Ricardo Montalban,
Cheech Marin, Holland Taylor, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub. Regular
Salma Hayek has a role in this one after missing out on the last
two (the only two Rodriguez films that she actually doesn't appear
in). And most surprisingly is a freakin' hilarious cameo by none
other than Elijah Wood (from Rodriguez's The Faculty) as
a savior figure inside the video game (whom the players only hushly
refer to as "The Guy").
And I really, thoroughly enjoyed Sly Stallone's performance as
the villain of the movie. I don't know why, but I thought he was
great. He hams it up quite a bit.
The film is a good amount of fun, but once again its strenghts
are its art design and imagination. The sript, however, does make
me nervous about the level of script in Rodriguez's upcoming One
Upon a Time in Mexico. I really hope he takes the time to revise
that script enough.
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