A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that unlike the inventive and funny Spy Kids and Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over plays almost entirely inside a video game. Other than Juni and friends trying to shut down the game and save the world, there's very little story. Instead, it's a series of attacks, disappearances, wins, and losses that carry the heroes from one game level to the next. High-tech danger comes in the form of giant robots, molten lava rocks, troops of evil toys, explosions, light saber attacks, and crashes, some of which may be scary for the youngest kids. Messages about teamwork and family are consistent with the first two films, but are spoken more often than played. Latino characters are once again in the forefront, and the Cortez kids' wheelchair-using grandfather has an important role.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In SPY KIDS 3-D: GAME OVER, an evil man called the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) has created a computer game called "Game Over," and Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) somehow gets lost inside the game. If her brother Juni (Daryl Sabara) cannot shut down the game before it goes on the market, the game will enable the Toymaker to take over the world or worse. In the game, Juni meets up with beta testers and battles Demetra (Courtney Jines) in gladiator-style combat. He develops a crush in both senses of the word as he slams her avatar-robot around in between gazing longingly at the way that fetching lock of hair keeps falling in front of her determined but sparkling eyes.
Is it any good?
The special effects may be in 3-D, but the story is flat, and there is very little of the quirky humor of the first two movies. This one is just nonstop loud, hurtling, special effects, most of it is like one long computer game, with one set of pixels fighting another. Kids probably won't mind, though parents have plenty of better options.
The first two Spy Kids movies combined brilliantly imaginative visual effects, thrilling (but not too scary) action, silly fun, and a lot of heart. With this last in the series, writer-director-editor-producer-composer Robert Rodriguez is either so enthralled or so overwhelmed by the 3-D technology that he forsakes the essentials of plot and character. We also miss the characters of the first two. Many of them appear only in brief cameos that are merely distracting. Stallone plays four parts -- all of them badly.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the excitement around the new game release. Kids: How do you find out about new games coming out? What tools do companies use to get you excited about a new product?
How is disability portrayed in Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over?
What are discussions about leadership take place in the movie? Is it important for there always to be a leader? What are some of the traits of a good leader?
- In theaters: July 25, 2003
- On DVD or streaming: February 24, 2004
- Cast: Alexa Vega, Antonio Banderas, Daryl Sabara
- Director: Robert Rodriguez
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Family and Kids
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: action sequences and peril
- Last updated: August 20, 2020
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.
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