2003-08-22 / Columnists


By Robert Snyder


By Robert Snyder



If it offers any closure to the "Spy Kids" series, my kids hated "Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over." And they loved the first two installments of the Robert Rodriguez fun film franchise.

The major disappointment and the main reason for going at all is the 3-D
effect. Basically, it doesn't work and hurts your eyes to boot. In fact, characters in the movie, who also wear the green/red glasses, complain and rub their eyes when taking the optical objects off.

Some scenes seem to show fingers
pointing almost up to your nose or animated globs floating over audience members in front of you. But, generally, the glasses are an annoyance and mute the screen's vibrant color into a dark gray mess. What you're left with is a confusing plot about the Cortez spy-kid siblings, Juni (Daryl Sabra) and Carmen (Alex Vega), locked inside a video game where they do battle with the evil Toymaker.

The villain is obviously and obnoxiously miscast. That is, he's played by Sylvester Stallone, who is way out of his range in four parts (three of which are his subconscious selves: A hawkish military type, a nerdish egghead and a hippie peacenik). Watching Stallone makes the 3-D eyestrain, even more painful.

Inside the video game, we meet robot monsters, other kids and Ricardo Montalban. Reprising a past cameo, he's Juni and Carmen's disabled grandfather. As a computer character, he's freed from his wheelchair and wears a muscle suit, enabling him to perform all sorts of acrobatics. Grandpa has a vendetta against the Toymaker, who caused him to be crippled.

The movie moves through miles of exposition with such celebrities as George Clooney, Salma Hayek, Bill Paxton, Cheech Marin and Elijah Wood showing up for the hell of it or old times sake. Also on hand for the finale are the spy kids' parents, Gregorio and Ingrid (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino). Although Banderas is most prominent in the print ad, he has about five minutes of screen time.

The most effective use of 3-D that I've seen is in Alfred Hitchcock's "Dial M for Murder." But even in that brilliant film, it only worked well in one scene: Grace Kelly's character is reaching over the heads of front-row audience members for a pair of scissors...scissors to stab the assailant who is strangling her.

Is it worth hours of eye agony for that one moment? Maybe. But, "Spy Kids 3-D" offers nothing but eye agony and no moments.

Game over.

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