on April 8, 2001
When I initially saw the previews for this movie, the only word that came to mind was 'yikes.' But after the film garnered good reviews, I opted to see it, and am extremely glad I did. The film is chock full of good special effects, imaginative sets and vibrant colors, not to mention well-developed characters and witty dialogue. The story opens with a bedtime story of two opposing spies who fall in love, and then marry and settle down to raise a family. The two spies, of course, are the two parents of the young protagonists in the story, Carmen and Juni. After their parents are kidnapped, the kids are forced to save their parents, and consequently the world from the evil Floop. Instead of making the parents dumb pawns in the plot, they are smart and can actually think for themselves. The kids are also independent and face their fears head on, making them perfect role models. Rarely, a movie like this comes along and is entertaining to the parents as well as the kids (The abysmal See Spot Run, for example is entertaining for no one). The film has action, a plausible plot and a ton of heart. This is a great family film.
I've been a fan of Robert Rodriguez from the first moment I saw "El Mariachi," and each successive film has just given me more reason to be a fan. With "Spy Kids," Rodriguez changes gears, giving us his first film for kids, and the first film where he finally gives free rein to the sense of whimsy and fantasy hinted at in previous films.
While the film is nominally a kid's film -- a surreal children's television show that makes the Teletubbies look mundane features prominently in the story -- the humor and action is genuinely good for all ages. At one point, pre-teen heroine Carmen Cortez says that no one knows what her uncle does for a living, and he moves around a lot, and is generally mysterious. To which her uncle replies "doesn't everyone have an uncle like that?" Well, yes, we do. :)
Beyond Antonio Banderas' star power -- and he does a very knowing self-parody of his own traditional parts in the movie -- other strong performances by "name" actors pepper the film, including Teri Hatcher, Tony Shaloub, Robert Patrick, Cheech Marin and -- one of those actors viewers know by sight, if not by name -- Danny Trejo.
Overall, the action is kinetic, the message sweet, the kids believable and not in the least cloying (a true rarity in film), and overall, the film is a great treat for Rodriguez fans who have been watching his evolution towards more and more fantastic material (something that seemed obviously in his blood ever since the climax of "Desperado").
Recommended for fans of Robert Rodriguez, spy film fans in touch with their inner child, and families of children ages 6 and up.
on May 7, 2001
Spykids, the name sounds like a typical kids save the worlds thing. But it isn't! It is a great movie for the whole family to enjoy. The movie is based on a normal Latino family, The Cortes's. Everything is not so great in the beginning, Junee (the youngest child) is afraid of many things and is constantly bullied, Carmen (the older sister) is sick and tired of taking care of her baby brother and wishes he was never born. Their parents including Zorro's hearthrob, Antonio Bandares, don't know how to stop this. They would like to take a mission again, as they were spies before their children were born. So they call their fake uncle felix, to take care of the kids and head out. This is where the kids come in. Something and someone has captured the parents! It is up to the kids to save them. In the movie you'll meet, Floog, Mr. Minion, robots, Thum Thumbs and Floog's Flooglies. Great movie for a family night! Definitely deserves 5 stars!
on September 16, 2001
Spy Kids is an interesting movie. It claims to be a kids movie, but is so awash in weirdness, that any young child might have nightmares about this. In that way it is similar to Willy Wonka, but then it is so different. Robert Rodriguez, best known for his hyper-violent films such as Desperado and From Dusk till Dawn, shows he is adept at handling light hearted and whimsical fare. Spy Kids is a sort of modern fairy-tale beginning with "Once upon a Time", and finishing with a happy ending. It is escapism for kids, and I was sucked in. What kid didn't want to have cool gadgets and be the hero. I know I did, and it reminded me of my childhood. It is refreshing to see a pure family film that takes risks with its viewers, Rodriguez isn't satisfied to keep the film within conventional techniques, he makes it a visual feast while not disorienting the viewer in anyway. On top of that, I found the bickering between the brother and sister to be really very funny; They definitely seemed like brother and sister, which was key of course. The supporting performances were uniformly excellent. Antonio Banderas and Alan Cumming both gave wonderfully eccentric performances. Overall, the movie was soaking in creativity and thoroughly satisfied me.
on July 29, 2001
There's not many movies of this day and time that give you that "good-time-child-like-feeling' as the Spy Kids Movie did. I want to see it again and again. I didn't know what I expected to see, but I was pleasantly surprised all through the movie. I thought it was inviting, intriguing, and exciting...and above all I love the message they gave at the end of the movie which sums up alot, especially of what children want, if you have an ear to hear. I think this is a movie for 'all ages', I am almost 46 years old with a childlike heart, and a great imagination too, and I enJOYed Spy Kids just as much or more than my 8 year old son, and 11 year old daughter did:) I don't know why it's being re-released, but I HOPE they didn't remove anything good from the original. We will definitely see it at the movies again, and even though we don't buy many movies anymore, we will buy this one:)
on November 18, 2002
Why is Robert Rodriguez my friend? Anyone that can keep a nine year old enchanted for 90 minutes is my friend.
A friend of mine came from Mexico for a visit. He brought his nine year old son with him. The kid doesn't speak a word of English. The kid was board and bouncing off the walls. Just to keep the kid occupied, I put on the DVD version of "Spy Kids." On the DVD version there is a Spanish language track.
During the two day visit, that kid must have watched "Spy Kids" about 30 times. At the end of the visit, I had to give them my copy. The kid was so in love with "Spy Kids."
This is a wonderful movie! Not only does children like the picture, but adults will like it too. If you have kids, or looking for a DVD that a nine year old would like, get "Spy Kids."
on August 28, 2001
This was one of my favorite movies of the year. It was an extremely well crafted kid's movie. It seemed to be made completely with kids in mind. Some jokes may not be funny to adults, but adults should still be able to respect the movie's craft for putting them in for the kids. I've heard many children say this was their favorite movie of the year. The only reason I don't give it 5 stars is because the DVD is not the Special Edition. The special edition was released in theaters August 8th I beleive. It only added one scene, in fact they only reprinted the last reel of the movie. Theaters got old copies of the movie except for the last reel. I loved the special edition though, it was worth seeing for the new scene, which was always inteded to be in the movie, but couldnt be completed due to lack of budget for the effects, until the movie was a hit and they could afford it. I'm not buying the DVD until a special edition is released, hopefully with commentary by Rodriguez. The new scene definately added another clever bit to the movie. They are in a cave full of sleeping sharks, and Juni has to pee badly, but Carmen warns him that sharks can only sleep where chemical levels are right in the water, and if he pees, it will wake them up. I want to own this movie on dvd badly, but it will just bug me to not see that scene every time i watch it, because it belongs there. Kids will still love the movie, I did before the special edition, but now it seems like that is the real edition, and the original is missing something.
on May 23, 2001
This was a super fun movie to go to with my children. It helped children see that they can overcome limitations and accomplish great things. It really empowers children. It also was really pro family. We all left feeling like being a family was a wonderful thing. If we all work together we can really be happy, overcome obstacles, and be better for it.
OK, if you are adult who either has or knows small kids, you have trudged off countless times to movie theaters to see a seemingly endless number of mediocre or bad children's films, usually not daring to hope for a genuinely good movie, usually at most praying for a bearable one. I went to see SPY KIDS with a three-year-old boy and his mother, and I am delighted to report that I think I enjoyed the film every bit as much as he did.
The film was directed and scripted by Robert Rodriguez, whose first film, EL MARIACHI was one of the most promising independent film debuts of all time. The movie displays enormous creativity, invention, humor, and imagination. It is also a visual delight, easily one of the most visually arresting films I have ever seen, and competes with BABE and WHAT DREAMS MAY COME for the most pleasantly colorful film I have ever seen. The Art Direction was just splendid, and I will be very much surprised if, when they announce the nominations for the Oscars next year, SPY KIDS isn't nominated in that category.
Several of the actors did a fine job in this one, but my favorite might have been Alan Cumming. I am intrigued by actors who can play either sinister and scheming characters or sympathetic and likable ones. In his career, Cumming has been the former far more often than the latter (see CIRCLE OF FRIENDS and GOLDENEYE for the former, and ROMY AND MICHELE'S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION for the latter). In this film he gets to be both.
So, for those of you with small kids who need a movie to see, you won't do better than SPY KIDS. And if you don't have any kids to go see flicks with, see it anyway!
on August 14, 2002
GENERAL: Spy Kids is truly a delight, not offensive at all and can be watched over and over again. This movie exceeded my expectations by so much that I bought it. One of the best films in a long time.
ACTING: Wow, Alex Vega and Daryl Sabara knocked me over with their pro performences. The bounce off each other perfectly, and really seem like siblings. The rest of the supporting(adult) cast is great too- 100% flawless.
PLOT: Original and gripping, this is the entertaining story of two children whos parents are captured- while on a spy mission, which the kids have no idea about. Now the kids(Carmen and Juni) have to save their parents and the world from a creative madman.
HUMOR: Wonderful, I laughed hundreds of times during this film and have done so all 10+ times I have seen the movie since.
SPECIAL EFFECTS: This movie has a brand of special effects all it's own, completely original and convincing. A breath of fresh after the doses of metallic Star Wars CGI.
MUSIC: The score, by the director, is beautiful and original. Completely perfect, something that I will never forget. Worth buying the soundtrack.
SPECIAL FEATURES: This is one of the most bare-bones DVDs I've ever seen, terrible for such a great movie! Unless of course all you want is (dun dun dun dun) a trailer!
CONCLUSION: A wonderul family/comedy/thriller, great for anyone and memorable. Spy Kids is definitely worth buying on DVD, if only for the lasting sound quality and picture clarity.
MY GRADE: A+