A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Introduces the concept of kids' vulnerability to the allure of technology. The villain hopes to control the world by keeping its youth captive to the wizardry of video gaming. At the same time, almost the entire film takes place in a slick virtual world, and what could be more alluring than that? The movie also makes a case for the positive results of teamwork, loyalty to family, forgiveness, and charity, and finally, asserts that revenge doesn’t solve problems.
Positive Role Models
Assorted members of one Latino family are the heroes here. The Cortez grandfather is in a wheelchair (in the real world), and his disability is discovered to have both positive and negative consequences.
Violence & Scariness
Nonstop cartoon action from beginning to end. All of the battles pit the Cortez kids and their allies against the evil Toy Maker who is trying to trap them and hold them forever captive to "the game." The heroes and their friends face menacing robots, threatening animated toys, flying obstacles (including fiery lava rocks), mutiny within the ranks of the kids who are supposed to be their friends, and the destructive campaign of a power-hungry toymaker who is bent on evil.
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Some name calling: "freak," "wimp."
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Products & Purchases
The third film in the Spy Kids franchise.
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. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.