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Blu-ray Review: 'Spy Kids' Trilogy

Jason Coleman Jason Coleman
August 4th, 2011 10:12am EDT

Spy kids photo

While there may only be two original "Spy Kids" (newbie wave from All The Time In The World not withstanding!), there are three films hitting Blu-ray this week and we’re decoding their family-viewing goodness!  So check out "Spy Kids," the Steve Buscemi ridden "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams" and the Sly Stallone infused "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over" all ala filmmaking maverick Robert “El Mariachi” Rodriguez!

 

Spy kids Blu-ray

 

   Title: "Spy Kids"

   Grade: 4

   Cast: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas

   Director: Robert Rodriguez

   Rating: PG

   Runtime: 91 minutes

   Release Company: Lionsgate

   Website: www.miramax.com

 

 

The Flick: Obviously inspired by his segment in "Four Rooms," Rodriguez thankfully makes his first "Spy Kids" flick about both the parents and children.  Meaning even though young pups Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara respectively) end up being the unlikely heroes of the piece, proud mom and pop Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino get to have some super spy fun too.  Plus the inclusion of not-so-bag guys Tony 'Monk' Shalhoub and Alan 'Floop' Cumming makes for one cool, fun and knowing Rodriguez inexpensive high-tech outing all can enjoy.

Best Feature: Seeing the tadpole 'Ten Minute Film School' on a kid flick like this is more than enough, but to see that Rodriguez is still applying old school style tricks – he used footage of real sharks and had two guys holding either end of a pole walk the kids up the wall – even here brings a tear to the purist filmmaker eye.

Best Hidden Gem: There’s a 'Ten Minute Cooking School' with now grown up Alexa and Daryl joining Robert making good and bad smoothies and a killer Texas Grilled Cheese via Rodriguez!

Worth the Moola: Hey, any kid flick that dares to introduce the world to 'Uncle Machete' Danny Trejo gets the espionage award for awesome.

 

Spy kids 2 Blu-ray

 

   Title: "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams"

   Grade: 3 1/2

   Cast: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas

   Director: Robert Rodriguez

   Rating: PG

   Runtime: 100 minutes

   Release Company: Lionsgate

   Website: www.miramax.com

 

 

The Flick: The parents, and now feisty Grandparents Ricardo Montalban and Holland Taylor, have been somewhat relegated to the background in favor of more Carmen and Juni for the pint sized audience members and a few extra spy kids thrown in for good measure.  (Is that Haley Joel Osment in a blonde wig?!)  Fortunately the adults are granted a reprieve via gamey southern cowboy Bill Paxton and also Island of Dr. Moreau inspired wacko Steve Buscemi who creates small zoo farms that accidentally get big – fast!

Best Feature: The legendary Robert Rodriguez 'Commentary track' is in the house and in his rapid fire giving the most bang for your buck best spouts everything from keeping effects cheap to the keys to casting – you the man! 

Best Hidden Gem: Even on a bigger budget, seeing the ever-economical Rodriguez in the 'Ten Minute Film School' cheat by using the same ships chair for both of the parents instead of building two – way to cut them costs Robert! 

Worth the Moola: Not as good as the first, but hey we can't all be Empire.  (And Han was no Mr. Pink!)

 

Spy kids 3 Blu-ray

 

   Title: "Spy Kids 3D: Game Over"

   Grade: 2 1/2

   Cast: Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas

   Director: Robert Rodriguez

   Rating: PG

   Runtime: 84 minutes

   Release Company: Lionsgate

   Website: www.miramax.com

 

 

The Flick: Possibly the weakest of the three outings for adults, but most likely the coolest for kids with Juni in a 3D computer game trying to save a mostly MIA Carmen.  (It's Juni ‘s Excellent Adventure!)  To top it off we get a bad guy in the form of four different Sly Stallone’s (four too many!) and almost no parent sightings.  Good side is some extra walking gramps Montalban, a sweet relationship between Juni and Courtney Jines’s Demtra and a killer everyone in the house ending that reminds one of the first film.

Best Feature: Again the 'Ten Minute Film School' where we see that all the former cast members who appear at the end all shot at different times and never met each other – very Sin City!

Best Hidden Gem: Shameful perhaps, but the song and dance performance at the Premiere of the film featuring a now more grown up Alexa Vega is actually kind of...hot?!  (I feel ashamed!)  Also notable is the commentary where Rodriguez revealed he was trying to put together a scene with old retired spies Montalban, Sean Connery and Roger Moore – would that have been sweet or what?!

Worth the Moola: To complete the collection for the kids – check.  For the adults who watched for Gugino and Machete – stick with the story of there only being one of "Spy Kids" flick!

 

Spy kids photo

© 2011 Starpulse.com
Photo Credits: Photos Courtesy of Lionsgate