First things first. Yes, this movie is in 3-D. Yes, you get to wear those cute little cardboard glasses with the blue and red lenses. And yes, it does work.
Director Robert Rodriguez’s third installment in his popular “Spy Kids” franchise is a whole different kind of film than his previous two. This time around, Juni, played by young Daryl Sabara, has turned into an independent investigator disillusioned with the agency that employs his sister and parents. However, much like Pacino in “The Godfather,” every time he tries to get out, they pull him right back in.
This picture would be more accurately described as “Spy Kid: The Adventures of Juni and His Super Red Hair.” With that said, the 3-D extravaganza kicks off from the get-go as Juni must travel through a video game in order to rescue his sister.
As one might imagine, he encounters all sorts of friends and enemies along the way, and director Rodriguez – whose credits include “From Dusk ‘Til Dawn,” “Desperado,” and the previous “Spy Kids” – flicks never really lets you stop to catch your breath. The 3-D effects are very impressive and embarrassingly enough, this jaded reviewer jumped in her seat a few times as objects seem to be headed right for you. Car races, robot battles and the setting of a video game all offer up great backdrops in which the 3-D effects can really shine. In fact, this movie’s main claim to fame is definitely the 3-D effects. Aside from that, the film was enjoyable, although it certainly would not have surpassed the masterpiece of filmmaking that is “Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams.” As my 6-year-old cousin informed me, it was awesome. Boy howdy was it true.
What really holds this film together, apart from the aforementioned 3-D effects, of course, is the cast that Rodriguez assembled. Salma Hayek and Mike Judge appear again as employees of the spy agency and make the most of their roles. You may remember Mike Judge as the creator and voices of “Beavis and Butthead” as well as the director and writer of the cult hit “Office Space.” He’s the guy who is obsessed with flare. Well hey, aren’t we all?
Ricardo Montalban, in his recurring role as the grandfather, gets more screen this time around as he regains his ability to walk while in the video game world. Even that kid from “Punk’d,” Ryan Pinkston, gets a starring role as one of Juni’s friends. Superstar cameos abound, but it would defeat the purpose of the cameo to inform you who makes one and who doesn’t, now wouldn’t it?
Perhaps most surprising is the impressive performance put forth by veteran actor Sylvester Stallone, who is making his first appearance on the American big screen since the craptastic race car movie “Driven” in 2001. The movie was terrible. Stallone was terrible in it. However, playing a villain for the first time since 1975’s “Death Race 2000,” Stallone seems more relaxed than ever. With a sense of humor, he portrays the Toymaker as well as the three major voices inside the Toymaker’s head. Stallone plays this villain almost too comically, however, as the audience never really seems to get the chance to know or hate him. He is mainly included for comic relief.
The only drawback to “Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over,” other than the screaming gangs of Disney Channel-obsessed kids littering the theater seats, is the amount of 3-D footage. There is almost too much. After an hour, those effects can really start to irritate your peepers. A short non-3-D interlude in the middle of the flick would have been great. Also, if you wear glasses, try to remember to wear your contacts to the theater. The glasses-over-glasses technique doesn’t work too well. Also, sit in the middle of the theater for maximum 3-D awesomeness. All in all, the third “Spy Kids” was just as good as its prequels and, if anything else, is actually a theater experience that makes you feel like you got the most bang for your $7.50. Just watch out for the flying objects. They are closer than they appear.