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Spy Kids 3D: Game Over /

Rated: PG

Starring: Daryl Sabara, Alexa Vega, Sylvester Stallone, Antonio Banderas, George Clooney
Directed by: Robert Rodriguez
Produced by: Elizabeth Avellan
Written by: Robert Rodriguez
Distributor: Dimension Films


     It would be hard for me to say that I didn’t like Spy Kids 3D: Game Over, but on the other hand, I would be lying if it called it enjoyable. Like the other two movies in the franchise, Game Over has a good concept, and a breezy style of executing. The problem is that this time, it’s literally, less colorful and imaginative-looking. While the fact that Game Over is presented in the three-dimensional format will draw in a wider spectrum of audiences, the sub-medium acts as a giant distraction to the film. Producer Elizabeth Avellan and writer/director Robert Rodriguez obviously felt that for the 3D to be effective, they needed to have things to pop out of the screen, while making the characters and their gadgets constantly moving, as a backdrop. They succeed in doing this, but the rest of the work on the visuals in careless. The colors used are dark and unappealing, and the special effects are tacky—all of the onscreen creations are laughable. If Game Over had been two-dimensional, it would’ve been a bright, jolly, and perky-looking third entry into the Spy Kids series. But, in this format, it’s an ugly movie to view. I took my 3D-glasses off during a few scenes, and to be honest, the movie looked better that way.

     At Disneyland, there is a 10 minute long, three-dimensional short-film, called “Honey I Shrunk The Audience,” based off of the Honey I Shrunk the Kids movies. I’ve seen it twice in the last month and a half, and I must say, it’s an amusing attraction. Before viewing, you are handed a pair of 3D-glasses that are on the rather expensive side, and you return them after the show. These, obviously, permit a more advanced experience than cheap ones, that you can keep, would. The visuals in “Honey I Shrunk the Audience” are crystal clear and much more pleasing to watch, than those in Spy Kids 3D. In “Honey” things jump off the screen, at your face, you undergo a bit of an adrenaline rush. The experience is much like the actual rides at the theme-park it’s at.

     When viewing Game Over, though, we’re never excited by the visuals. The glasses that we wear when viewing the three dimensional segments of it, have cardboard frames, and lenses that are of about the quality of saran-wrap. There was no reason for this movie to be put into such a format, to enhance viewing pleasure. Putting it in 3D was just another mindless way of marketing an unnecessary entry in an already complete series, which most of the target audience would mistake for a perk. Not to mention, wearing the uncomfortable glasses for about 70 minutes of the hour-and-a-half-long running length, is quite annoying. I like the 3D format when it’s done right. Sadly, Game Over definitely doesn’t showcase the proper use of it.

     The story is neat, though. If you can get past the terrible appearance of the film, you’ll be able to enjoy the fun and engaging premise. I can complement writer/director Rodriguez for caring about the plot and dialogue in all of the Spy Kids movies, even after three movies, and not just dishing out screenplays for the sequels willy-nilly. The execution of Game Over is entirely successful, leaving the 3D aspect of it all aside. I never thought that attempting to make a movie in three-dimensions could actually damage the creative process of a fledging filmmaker, but it has here. If the Spy Kids franchise goes back to conducting business in 2D, I will be more than happy when the forth one comes out.

     I am a fan of the first two Spy Kids movies, because they’re original and inventive. Game Over is too, in its own right, but this is a lot less evident because of the boggy format that it’s presented in. If audiences needed something fresh added to the Spy Kids equation, critical scores of the second film in the series would’ve reflected it. I’m not sure how your average kid will react to Game Over, but for the sake of parents’ money, I hope they like it. Maybe my critique is a bit too harsh, but I’m very, very disappointed by Game Over. The fact that its two predecessors were so fabulously entertaining makes it even more of a letdown. While 3D is often promising when used in the right movie, in the right way—in this one, it’s awful, just awful.

-Danny, Bucket Reviews


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