FantasticFest is the largest genre film festival in the U.S., specializing in horror, fantasy, sci-fi, and action movies from all around the world. Here's a list of some of our favorite movies at FantasticFest.
Set in a world where superheroes are commonly known and accepted, young Will Stronghold, the son of the Commander and Jetstream, tries to find a balance between being a normal teenager and an extraordinary being.
Gregorio and Ingrid are the two greatest secret agents the world has ever known: masters of disguise, mavens of invention, able to stop wars before they even start. Working for separate countries, they are sent to eliminate their most dangerous enemy...each other. But in an exotic corner of the world when they finally come face to face, they fall in love instead and embark on the most dangerous mission they have ever faced: raising a family. Now nine years later, after their retirement, having exchanged the adventure of espionage for parenthood, Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez are called back in to action. When their former colleagues, the world's most formidable spies, start disappearing one by one, the Cortez's are forced to take on techno-wizard Fegan Floop and his evil, egg-headed sidekick, Minion. But when the unthinkable happens and they too disappear, unfortunately there are only two people in the world who can rescue them...their kids. Written by
Anthony Pereyra <firstname.lastname@example.org>
"Spy Kids" is one heck of a movie. Never have I seen a kiddie flick come along which is so clean, and yet still so entertaining at the same time. This odd blend of one of the best (The Matrix) and worst (Baby Geniuses) movies of 1999 is surprisingly exciting for something so "PG", and director and writer Robert Rodriguez (From Dusk Till Dawn) manages to create loads of fun while still keeping the violence level down.
He manages to do all this by being incredibly inventive with his special effects. "Spy Kid's" is a visual fun house of ideas which are all so playfully intuned with kids and their level of interest. He comes up with things such as movable thumb people and floors that fall apart like puzzle pieces. Rodriguez also has a lot of fun with this topic, putting in loads of high tech equipment and transportation, which offer kids and adults an incredible ride which is most always played for humor and thrills.
The basic set up for "Spy Kids" is this. Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid (Carla Gugino) were both spies working for different agencies, when a "hit" put out on each other brings them closer together. They decide to put away the spy work and live normal lives as husband and wife, and soon father and mother.
But the perfect family they dream about is far from. Their kids are keeping secrets from them, a trait from their former job that they feel they have passed on to their children. Their daughter Carmen (Alexa Vega) is skipping school, while Juni (Daryl Sabara) is being bullied at school and instead of telling his parents, just makes up a couple of imaginary friends.
They see how their past lives have affected their children, but before they can correct their wrong, their past catches up with them. They are thrown back into the spy game to investigate the capture of several other spies, but only end up being captured themselves.
The culprit also just happens to be Juni's favorite televison star, Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). Floop is after a brain prototype that Gregorio created years ago. If he can implant that into the heads of his robot and mutant henchmen, nothing can stop him from taking over the world and becoming the number one rated show on TV. But his other human henchmen Minion (played dastardly well by Tony Shalhoub) has other plans. Back home, the feuding siblings must learn to work together in order to save their parents and the world as they are tossed into the spy game as well.
It seems as if the best kids movies always have a family-like theme to them, and "Spy Kids" is no exception. Much of this movie is exciting, but then there are those other parts, which are to cuteness what Charlie's Angels was to sexy clad women. Some may accuse Rodriguez of turning corny on us all of a sudden, but luckily he is also working with some very funny material here, as well as with newcomer Daryl Sabara.
His partner Alexa Vega also comes off very strong in her role as his sister. Together they are a very good crime fighting team, and I look forward to seeing them in upcoming sequels. Alan Cumming is also very good, turning in an absent minded Willy Wonka style performance that also fits in very well with Rodriguez's style for this movie, which seems to be based largely around an amusement park surrounding a James Bond movie.
His film may be corny for older kids, but this is for the young ones and chances are you will never find a movie as decent and fun for them as this one is for a long time. Out of four stars, Spy Kids definitely scores a three.
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