Spy Kids (2001) Poster

(2001)

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Daft and silly but it doesn't take itself seriously once and is surprisingly fun for adults and older children
bob the moo9 January 2006
Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez are ex-spies who were at the top of their game until they met, married and decided to retire for their own mutual safety. Years later they have normal lives and have children who know nothing of any of this. When Gregorio learns of former colleagues vanishing, he looks into it, only for him and Ingrid to be captured by the evil Floop, whose children's television puppets are really mutants developed as part of building a private army for Lisp. With their parents gone and the alarm raised, Carmen and Juni learn the truth and are suddenly faced with having to rescue their parents.

You shouldn't come to this movie expecting it to be serious or logical because it really isn't. Instead it is silly, goofy and really very daft but still quite good fun for slightly older children and also for adults. The plot is pretty much summed up by the title insofar as you really need to know what is going on because it doesn't make much sense. The film is really about the kids becoming spies and playing with gadgets etc on their way to becoming heroes of a sort. It never takes itself too seriously and it draws humour from this approach well, making it easy to relax and watch because, yes it's silly, but at least it knows it is silly. The Floop creations are too silly to appeal to adults but will probably provide some laughs for kids but generally the film gets the tone right for both groups.

Rodriguez directs with his usual approach and I quite enjoyed the effect it had here because it does suit the silly, hyper material (which he also wrote). The effects are mainly good and it should work for most kids in the way that older boys like their gadgets and fantasy video games. The cast did it for me as well, featuring as it did a lot of people who've worked with Rodriguez before. Banderas and Gugino are both sexy and cool in the parental roles but it is Vega and Sabara who lead the film. Neither of them are typically "cute kids" and it helped me enjoy the film for them to be quite natural and buy into the material. Support is surprisingly classy and most of them work. I didn't like Cumming at all but that was more to do with his character; Shalhoub was OK, Hatcher was fun, Cheech pops up briefly, Patrick has a small role, Trejo is ever reliable and George Clooney puts in a small but amusing appearance.

Overall this is not a great film because it all nonsense but then, as a kids' film, it doesn't matter so much. The energy, pace and sense of fun covers up for the daft central plot and nobody seems to be taking it seriously. Surprisingly fun to watch, even for adults and worth a look.
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7/10
Secret Agents have never been so much fun - 3 cheers for Robert Rodriguez!
0rbita110 July 2001
Robert Rodriguez is not the first person you'd suggest to make a children's film. As entertaining as 'Desperado', 'The Faculty' and 'From Dusk Till dawn' are, you wouldn't line them up alongside 'Toy Story 2' and 'The Jungle Book' for good, old-fashioned family entertainment. Yet, as this energetic, light-hearted Bondesque spoof proves, Rodriguez has the talent to turn his hand to just about anything, and inject it with the suspense and adrenalin that are his trademark.

From the gloriously OTT opening scene (which tells the story of how two agents sent to kill each other fall in love and settle down) to the last second, 'Spy Kids' doesn't miss a trick. The obligatory gizmos, mad villains and dastardly plot to take over the world are all there, along with a star cast all playing their roles with tongues firmly in cheek. The action/humour mix is extremely well-balanced too, with some hilarious visual gags sitting within a sharp script and Banderas, in particular, revels taking a sly swipe at his normal 'strong yet silent Latino' image. Yet, refreshingly for a children's film, it's never patronising, never obvious, and genuinely original in places (soldiers made of thumbs, secret agents transformed into tellytubby-type TV characters - imagine Goldeneye-meets-Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory-meets-Any Tim Burton film and you'll be close). In truth, some of the surreal moments and the more graphic effects may get a little too much for younger kids at times, but these moments are few and far between.

Ok, it's a 'U' certificate and you may well have to sit through the trailer for 'See Spot Run', but don't let that put you off. This is one of the better films you'll see this year, and the best out over Easter by quite a way. Go and have some fun.

8/10
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8/10
A Boost For The 'Family Unit'
ccthemovieman-114 August 2006
This was a silly kids' adventure story but still fun the younger ones and for adults, thanks to colorful scenes, great special effects, decent humor and a nice family tone to it. The kids are alright, except the girl is a little bossy, and the villains aren't too nasty. This also looks very good on DVD.

Included in the color and characters are "the thumb people" who were especially fun to watch.

The only problem I found with it is the last 30 minutes in which it got too silly and emphasized (typical Hollywood) how the kids can do the job better than the adults, which a ludicrous film cliché. However, overall "family unity" gets a big boost in this here, even in the end, and that good message is probably a big reason this movie was such a success.
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8/10
Fun for kids and their parents, good for a family movie. *** (out of four)
Movie-1210 April 2001
SPY KIDS / (2001) *** (out of four)

By Blake French:

If James Bond married another secret agent, had kids, privately continued his life as a spy, became captured, and left his rescuing to his offspring, we would have the formula for Robert Rodriguez's new action adventure, "Spy Kids." Rodriguez normally directs harsher, more brutal movies, like "Desperado" and "The Faculty," but accustoms a slick style of adventure and humor in this film that exceeds past the level of any of his recent work. "Spy Kids" really does belong in some kind of James Bond picture.

As the film's writer, director, and co producer, Rodriguez does a lot more with the material here than we expect. The film has a stunning array of special effects, ranging from walking thumbs to a particularly imaginative experience in the villain's headquarters. Even the introduction has zest and intrigue: we meet a seemingly normal family of four, consisting of Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez (Alexa Vega and Antonio Banderas), and their children, probably middle school aged, Juni and Carmen (Daryl Sabara and Alexa Vega). As the movie opens, Ingrid tells her children a nice bedtime story about two daring spies assigned to kill the other, but fall in love, get married, and retire. She prepares her offspring for bed and turns the lights off, walks to her husband, and explains she thinks it would be a good idea to tell Carmen and Juni their real identities as top-secret spies; the story Ingrid enlightened her kids with was true.

Rodriguez quickly sketched his characters, but his method is surprisingly effective; the movie starts out with fast-paced action and captures our attention abruptly and does not really lose energy throughout its running time. We learn the two married spies have retired from the business nine years prior, but their fellow OSS agents are disappearing all over the world, and thinks it to be the work of a kids TV show host named Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming in a very whimsical, fitting performance) and his assistant, Minion (Tony Shalhoub). The agents have been converted into clay-like animated characters held captive at his mega tech laboratory. Imaginative and interesting, if a bit cheesy.

Ingrid and Gregorio call their "Uncle" Felix over to watch the kids while they go out on their latest mission. Unfortunately, this mission could be their last; they walk right into a trap and are snared from beneath their toes. Felix receives a distress call, sends the kids to a "safe house," but is captured himself, leaving the responsibilities to the younger members of the family.

The story isn't cheap or silly, although some of the material tests our tolerance for far-fetched science fiction. The underlying motives here are also legitimate. The movie puts confidence in strong family values, honesty, and trust, but does not preach, lecture, or on the other side of the barrel, become lost in an utter mess of silly dog poop and passing gas jokes like "See Spot Run." The movie takes itself seriously, and is well written. We understand the character's motives. "Spy Kids" gets one thing painfully right, and that is the

relationship of the brother and sister. Their relationship is all too familiar in American households, where name calling and mean-spirited behavior inhabit offspring of both sexes. The petty little conflicts they feel strained and forced, giving this movie, otherwise somewhat mature, an immature sensation. This familiar stereotype is profoundly irritating.

"Spy Kids" is often exciting, funny, and almost always entertaining. It is not the kind of movie that parents should just drop their kids off to, however, but should stay for themselves to witness some of the most effective family movie moments in quite a while. In a time when family movies are completely disposable, "Spy Kids" proves itself to stand out from all the others and provide us with a genuine spy movie experience.
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10/10
Finally a movie both me and my kids like!
penny7166 April 2002
This was a great movie. I particularly like the fact that a normal sibling relationship was shown, the rivalry and disdain but still the reality that blood is thicker than water and no matter if you think that your brother or sister is a twerp, you still do anything for them. The family sticks together and although it is a very far-fetched concept, it was a movie both my children and I liked. It was filled with action and adventure but the good guys come out on top in the end against overwhelming odds. I think we could all use a little more optimism now and this movie delivers it. Carmen and Junie were not the impossibly perfect kids seen in most movies now. Nor were they brats who only care about themselves in other movies. They were too athletic to be real children, but I'd like to think that they are showing the kids seeing the movie that they can do anything that they put their mind to. Overall, a terrific family movie the kids will actually like-even though their parents do too.
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Take your kids to see it. It's very good and needs to be seen on the big screen.
karen_wood14 April 2001
I took my two boys (7 and 10) to see Spy kids today. They were transfixed and wanted to watch it again straightaway. Both are big James Bond fans but some of the content and dialogue of the Bond movies isn't suitable. Spy Kids fits the bill exactly for anyone under 13 who likes the Bond films. It came over to me as a blend of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory meets Home Alone meets Bond. It was at the kids level without patronizing them and was believable enough for adults to enjoy too. All of the acting was high quality and the special effects first class.

I shall enjoy it again in the future on video but it deserves to be seen on the big screen first. Another bonus were the trailers for Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter and the Philosophers Stone. I often come away from Cinema trips with the kids feeling that we haven't really had our moneys worth, but not today!
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7/10
Good film, especially for what it is
TBJCSKCNRRQTreviews11 March 2006
This is a somewhat unusual film; it's a children's film, but it doesn't talk down to its audience. And as an added bonus, it can be watched even if you are over ten. As the far too little-known short Bedhead, Robert Rodriguez has here created a film for children, featuring children... which doesn't treat them with the lack of respect for the smarts and sense of logic that they do already possess. Adults often forget what children are like, and think of them as 'less' than the grownups. Rodriguez gives them(and us) a film that allows them a similar status to adults. The film has stuff that will appeal to kids(spy equipment hidden in children's things) but it isn't offensive to us who aren't. While it is more directed towards those of the preteen persuasion, it doesn't aim so low as to feel stupid for us who aren't of said persuasion. The plot is pretty good, though I guess it's not all that original... and as usual with children's films, the kids are the heroes, which puts too much pressure on them, as a Danish film critic so perfectly put it. The acting is a usual high(as most of the actors are quite talented), no performances really let you down, even the (intentionally)overplayed ones. The characters, many of them fairly clichéd and thin, are all credible. As with many(most) Rodriguez films, pretty much all of those that he's written, himself... there are subplots and such, many of which are either overly easily resolved or not properly addressed. The humor is pretty good, I laughed out loud several points, rather unusual for children's films, and I was never insulted by the humor. None of it tries too hard to garner laughs, either. The special effects are quite impressive, and though it's still evident that it's Rodriguez' mini studio, it will fool you for the very most part. The action is quite intense and exciting, and like the humor, it's got Rodriguez' unique touch. Any fan of Rodriguez(such as myself, which is by far the main reason I watched this very film in the first place) will enjoy this, if maybe not to the same extent as one of his typical films. I recommend this to any fan of Rodriguez or any of the actors, and definitely most kids. Very much worth watching, even if you've outgrown childhood. Indulge your inner kid. 7/10
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4/10
The first and best Spy Kids film
studioAT26 April 2015
I loved this film as a kid and wanted to go back and watch it again to spot all the moments I enjoyed first time around.

I think all these years later the film still holds up as a bitter than average family film. I don't think the director needed to stretch it out to be a trilogy (or add the very poor fourth entry many years later)but that's another matter.

The two lead kids play the parts well and have a good dynamic between them and Antonio Banderas/Carla Gugino are good support as the parents.

Watching it back now though I think it does have some slow parts and the technology looks a bit dated compared to what we're used to today, but Spy Kids 1 still remains a quality film for all the family.
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9/10
Right up there with Willy Wonka!
Scott Piehler30 March 2001
Finally, a live-action family movie that entertained me and my wife immensely, while my six-year old daughter had a blast too!

The most obvious (and fitting) comparison film is Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Amazing fantasy world, some true menace, and a great message about being true to yourself and your family.

Spy Kids as a family movie for the post-Matrix age. It's witty, but never falls into that oh-so-hip faux-ironic self awareness that plagues so many movies today. It hands you a fantasy world, and encourages you to believe in it.

It has a great deal of action and slapstick, but (thankfully) was completely missing the mean-spirited undertones of the slapstick in Home Alone.

Like all great children's literature or entertainment, Spy Kids doesn't talk down to kids. It assumes they're intelligent and can pay attention. Having said that, there are sections of the film that are hyperkinetic, but they flow naturally.

It has something of a similar vibe to the Pixar films (Toy Story 1&2, Bugs Life), without as many in-jokes. There are some wonderful adult-only laughs, mostly stemming from the trials and tribulations of being a parent.

It's PG for a reason. It's not for the youngest moviegoer. A mature 5 or a six-year-old is about as young as I'd recommend. There are some scary moments, ala Willy Wonka, or The Wizard of Oz. But that's "good scary" in my book, as opposed to needlessly scaring folks to death.

The message of family is delightful. The Cortez family is a *real* family. They have disagreements, but they love each other. Thankfully, Rodriguez avoids the sit-com smartmouth syndrome, and gives us kids we can believe.

And I love the fact that Rodriguez never downplays the Latino heritage of the family. Hey, I'm so Anglo I'm practically translucent, but it was such a refreshing change to not have typical whitebread heroes out to save the world.

Not since Bob (Porky's) Clark pulled A Christmas Story out of his hat has a director come up with such a pleasant surprise in a genre you'd never imagine. Summary? A cup of Bond, a splash of Willy Wonka, and a dash of The Matrix. Sit back and watch the fun!
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5/10
Good movie but I think Robert could do better!!!!
hollywood actress2 August 2005
"Spy Kids" was a big kids hit! I thought it was pretty cool that there are these two kids Carmen and Juni Cortez who have to save their parents from danger. But I think it could have been better. I didn't really like how they showed how Carmen and Juni's parents got married because seriously, lets get on with the movie!!! But I LOVED the cast. Alexa Vega, i thought was the best one in the cast! She is a great teenage actress and should go really far in the Hollywood movie making business. Daryl Sabara was so cute playing Juni and should go far as well. There was Also Antonio Banderas, and it was an okay movie, not the best, but i expected better.
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Young sleuths in action
giants15632 April 2001
"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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Self-Reference for Kids
tedg5 May 2001
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

Most art refers to itself in some way, but nowadays almost every film has some straightforward self-reference in the form of being about some kind of show. There must have been a very influential executive producer some time back pushing this idea for it to be so common.

The notion of these kinds of films is to create another world, so combine that with the self-reference gimmick and you have a fantasy kiddie show about a fantasy kiddie show. More, essentially all research in self-reference for decades has been in artificial intelligence, which is the device around which this plot turns. The language of AI is LISP, the name of the archvillain. In the heyday of LISP machines, the leading system was Flavors LISP Object Oriented Programming or: you guessed it -- Floop. I myself worked on a defense AI program that included the notion of a `third brain,' that is an observer living in a world different than (1) that of the world's creator, and (2) of the characters.

The third is the brain of the observer. This is also a strong element in film criticism where the camera is the third eye, the eye of the artificial narrator. The most intelligent film about the third eye spying on the action is `Snake Eyes,' where we last saw Gugino. (You may want to check my comments on that film to see what I mean.)

Even more: this is the third time Cumming has played the evil thug Gates, the others being `Titus' and `Get Carter.' The blooper of course is that Gates wouldn't know AI if it bit him (despite buying up some of the big names from the past). So having him trapped in the virtual room is apt.

The point is that there was some intelligence in this script, not all artificial.
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7/10
Interesting concept
Robert16 May 2012
Warning: Spoilers
I watched the first one finally, and have to say that despite the cheesy story plot at times, it wasn't that bad. Some kids find out they are spies and end up having to save their parents from some evil dude. The technology and gadgets are very impressive and funny. I liked the age the kids were, not too old (teenager) but not too young to not be, I guess, easy to relate too.

I did find the conclusion a bit cheesy and the characters were at times a little over done, but the special effects and everything was done quite well.

I rate this 7/10.
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1/10
WHAT IS THIS???????????
eagle1-830 July 2001
This movie is best described with a capitol S, and it's not for,"super," trust me. The concept was rather cute, "little kids save their spy parents," but the execution was, well, weird. The bad guys live in a virtual world of Thumb Monsters and deformed mutants, which manage to look stupid and creepy all at the same time. Often, the special effects and screen concepts look simply rediculous, the plot turns are stupid, and the characters are 2 dimensional. What could be worse than Spy Kids? The SEQUEL! OH, NASTY!!!!!!!!!! I don't want to think about it, and I am DEFINITELY not going to see it!
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2/10
stupid
joshua-halstead21 June 2008
Warning: Spoilers
this movie was incredibly stupid with meaning what so ever. i fell bad for all the actors and actresses that ruined there career to be in this stupid movie. the entire movie was based on how unrealistic they could make it, to make little like it which made it even stupider. even some of the names were unrealistic. the film is fun to watch which is why it had 2 out of 10 stars. this is probably the 3rd stupidest movie ever made. i got really made after i realized that it had mostly adult actors in it yet in was a kid movie. the most upsetting one was Danny Trejo a horror movie actor who is always dirty. the other actors were pretty much clean as far as i'm concerned.
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5/10
Save your time, save your money
Doogie D22 April 2001
Warning: Spoilers
I saw the ads and thought SPY KIDS looked awful. Saw the stills, thought they looked awful (just posing the kids defensively in front of the parents, all in a fighting stance, implies incredible irresponsibility). I kept reading these wonderful reviews about what a delightful confection this is, and eventually I got suckered in, thinking I didn't want to miss another BABE or something, and the film was probably being poorly marketed to get the kiddies.

Well, kiddies might have a good time (though in the theater I attended, restless kids had to be told repeatedly to hush, and one child articulated in the aftermath, "I was hoping for more action"). But this is one where the adults will definitely need to shut their brains off. If you're on the fence about whether or not to check this out, I'd strongly suggest not going. It's not awful like CURLY SUE or something -- I laughed aloud once and got a couple of chuckles elsewhere -- but it is... well, it's poor. The adventure isn't manic enough, the inventions by and large not that incredible (a packet, when microwaved, becomes a McDonald's meal. Yipee!). SPOILERS AHEAD: Yeah, the thumb thumbs are kinda cool, but the villain is far too toothless. Kids' movies CAN survive real villainry and, in a way, need it: Wicked Witch of the West, anyone? And then when the villain goes soft and is revealed as NOT the villain, Villain #2 is even less frightening.

SPOILERS OVER. I guess one of the main problems is that the sense of threat is never tangible. The film has obviously been designed not to frighten children, giving no sense of real evil or malice onscreen (almost all critical physical contact happens either off camera or with simple karate flips). In cushioning every blow in this manner, SPY KIDS leaves no sense of tension, danger, or conflict. That's probably why the kids got so shifty during the screening and parents got testy; the kids saw that this emperor had no clothes -- or, more to the point, a candy colored but rather dull one-piece. 5/10
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2/10
From blood, sex, profanity and gore to a cheesy version of the ‘Teletubbies meet Charlies Angels: The Movie'
stamper7 February 2002
This is really an awful film. There is almost nothing good about it. The music is pretty good. The beginning is OK and the scene with George Clooney in the end is good too. FAST forward the rest, for it is pure crap and a complete waste of time. I mean it is nice to see actors as Trejo, Marin, Banderas and Clooney pay tribute to Rodriguez, who all starred in one of his films before becoming (more or less) of an item (again or not), but they all are mostly wasted here. I hope I'll see Banderas, Clooney, Trejo and Marin in Rodriguez' next though: Once upon a time in Mexico. (I'm kind of hoping for Tarantino as well).

2 out of 10

Post scriptum: I know this was a box office hit ($ 140 Million or so World-wide) and I heard they are making a sequel. Well I'd say DON'T. Your luck's gonna wear off someday and I bet they'll fall on their asses. There is NO WAY that Spy Kids 2 will make more than 100 Million Dollars World-wide!!!
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1/10
Shame on Rodriguez!
Tobbes3 September 2001
Wow, this is a really bad movie! O.k., it's supposed to be a movie for kids, but is this a reason for a bad story development (this kind of story definitely had the potential to produce a good movie) and a huge mass of logical errors? I think not. And so did many kids that saw the movie, as I noticed afterwards. There are lots of good movies for children, but this one is definitely not one of them. We all know Rodriguez can do it better, at least in the "grown-ups-section". Maybe he should just keep his hands off of movies for children. Anyway, keep your hands off of this movie. You will regret if you don't.

Rating: 1 of 10, realistically seen still too high.
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1/10
There is no hope for humanity... Just no hope.
zakatak361325 June 2013
Warning: Spoilers
Honestly, I don't know where to start. I first saw this movie when I was nine years old, and it insulted my intelligence then. Having just seen a few fragments recently while my younger siblings were watching it, I decided to do a comprehensive criticism of exactly WHY it was so terrible. And let me tell you, there are plenty of reasons. Here are my top three.

Number One: Story

Okay, so the concept of "Parents were spies, kids find out, have to rescue parents before plot to take over the world is successful," isn't actually ALL terrible. It has some holes, and is admittedly pretty cheesy, but isn't so bad, if executed right. Unfortunately, this movie wasn't executed right, for several reasons. First off, where the Tartarus did the script writer get the gods-awful idea to make the villain a kids TV show star?!? Yes, a sadistic, Burton-esque, disturbing kids show which uses mutated spies as it's actors, (more on that later) but seriously? What the heck? I seriously want to know what Muse (or lack thereof) whispered in your ear to have produced this bizarre monstrosity. Why did you choose to make the generic, faceless henchmen into THUMB PEOPLE? Why is your army of indestructible automatons disguised to look like children? Why did you have to make his base a fun house that seemed to have been designed by MC Escher in the middle of the ocean? Why are your supercomputers designed to look like little deformed cyborg brains? (perhaps to resemble the minds of the producers of this movie?) WHY?!? *Ahem, sorry.* Second reason: this movie brought the art of the cliché to an all-new level. Seriously, when my friend and I were watching this, we literally predicted EVERY plot twist. Keep in mind that we were nine-year-olds."Oh look, there's a bad guy who serves the Demon Tellytubbies show guy! I'll bet he's the REAL bad guy, and has some connection with their parent's past!" or "Oh, look, they introduced Uncle Machete, but he doesn't want to help. I wonder how long we'll last until he shows up to save the day?" And so on and so forth. In all, they could have done WAY better with the storyline, which was pretty much just crap.

Number Two: Special FX

Really guys, did you even try to make these effects look real? I'm all for CG animation, but honestly, you could have gotten better animation results from my 11th grade Graphic's Design class, and we were only using Photoshop! For example, during the scene when Mom and Dad Cortez drove their submarine car off a cliff, there was a glaringly visible change from real car to CG-ed car. All of the other fanciful technology (Escape Sub, Jetpacks, Thumb-Thumbs, Movie Room in Fruit-Loop Guy's castle, etc) was obviously green-screened. The lighting and shading was all off, the coloration was garish, gaudy, and generally crappy, and overall, the animation looked like a bunch of circus clowns came in and covered everything in overly polished balloon latex. It looked that fake. And don't get me started on the crummy rubber suits they did for the mutated spies. Really peoples? To quote the internet term, "DERP."

Number Three: Psychological Damage I swear, as a nine-year old, this movie didn't die in my mind easily. Even now, many many years later, it still disturbs me. Maybe I'm overly sensitive, but I saw Lord of the Rings around the same time, and the grisly orcs didn't even make me bat an eye. Yet the Burton-esque feel to the main villain was just too much for me, and the floating eyeballs, mutated dudes with their overly happy squeaking and tittering, and tinkly music-box music didn't help. Seriously, overly cheerful and bizarre kids shows are the stuff of nightmare. It seems like they went all out to make this particular aspect as weird and disturbing as possible, and I really can't understand why. Don't get me wrong, it wasn't SCARY or intense or thrilling like a spy movie should be, it was just WEIRD. Sort of the creepy weirdness that's usually associated with clowns or carousel music. It just felt out of place and frankly, I'm surprised no-one else has sued this company for psychologically scarring their kids. I don't know how to describe it, I just was seriously weirded out by this factor.

In all, this movie is scraping the barrel when it comes to entertainment, which is why I'm depressed that some relatively prominent actors like Antonio Banderas lowered their dignity and restating by participating in this blot on the name of film. Maybe they signed on before they realized what they were getting into, I don't know. The acting was the only commendable part of this film, which frankly wasn't much to work with. Kudos to you, the actors for a good effort, but not good enough to salvage this shipwreck. My only thought is that the gods must hate humanity to allow this monstrosity to exist. Which gods, you ask? ALL THE GODS! May mercy be had upon the souls of those who spawned forth this crime against art.
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10/10
I would've never expected what I saw.
jagsports018 June 2012
When I saw this movie, I immediately was pulled in and obsessed. The trailers made the movie look bad, so I decided, no I shouldn't see it. Then on rotten tomatoes, I saw 93% which is a great amount. I decided to see it, and I loved it. For anyone who is uncertain about seeing this movie, go for it. It is an original, unexpected journey, that you can see repeatedly, and will not get bored. I think the best part of this movie is... the storyline, and the acting. Outstanding roles from Alexa Vega, Daryl Sabara (Carmen and Juny), and any other actor/actress in the movie. I recommend any parents to go take there kids to this movie.

After all, Spy Kids is an original, first one out of the package piece of paper that sucks you in, making you stare at the drawing all day.
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7/10
Silly, surreal fun
NateWatchesCoolMovies11 January 2016
Robert Rodriguez's Spy Kids has a very special significance for me: it's the first movie I ever saw in theatres, and therefore left quite an impression on me. It has loads of Rodriguez's trademark imagination and vision, as well as a stacked cast and a whimsical sense of adventure that makes it a super charged Saturday morning cartoon style bucket of fun. Rodriguez makes two types of films: shamelessly violent, over the top, bloody genre fun, and family orientated sci fi/fantasy for kids. He fares better in the former, as this is really the only good one in the secondary category. The sequels are trash, and I don't know what he was thinking with Sharkboy and Lava Girl, but with this one his filmmaking skill and passion for the craft work its charm and provide a wonderful experience. Newcomers Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara play youngsters Carmen and Juni Cortez, who are surprised to learn that their unassuming parents (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) are in fact lethal undercover spies, and need their help after being kidnapped by eccentric megalomaniac Floop (Alan Cumming hamming it up terrifically). Aided by their uncles Felix (Cheech Marin) and Machete (Danny Trejo) they embark on a dazzling adventure to find Floop's surreal, isolated palace, take down baddies Ms. Gredanko (Teri Hatcher) and Mr. Lisp (Robert Patrick) and save their parents. The four have amazing chemistry as a familial unit, especially when it comes time to kick major butt. The practical based effects have a wondrous vitality, from the Thumb Thumb henchman to the eye boggling, Terry Gilliam-esque realm that Floop resides in. There's also work from Tony Shaloub, Mike Judge, Richard Linklater and a sly cameo from George Clooney. No shortage of imagination, creativity and fun.
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9/10
Rodriguez Goes Youth.
Python Hyena25 May 2015
Warning: Spoilers
Spy Kids (2001): Dir: Robert Rodriguez / Cast: Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Alan Cumming, Tony Shalhoub, Richard Cheech Marin: Wonderfully inventive and exhilarating experience for families. It is about little people doing big things. The special effects are totally creative with a story that is straight forward but a lot of fun. Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino are captured spies by an entertainer who mutates spies as props for his show. Gugino tells of the two spies who were suppose to eliminate each other but ultimately fell in love instead. Their children catch on quickly when villains that resemble thumbs search for a device called the Third Brain. Alan Cumming plays a villain who desires to take over the world using robotic children and the third brain is needed. Director Robert Rodriguez outdoes himself here with inventive visuals and creative gimmicks. This is a far stretch from the gory horror films he is known for such as From Dusk Till Dawn and The Faculty. Banderas and Gugino are a wonderful pairing with Alan Cumming on target as the entertainer. Tony Shalhoub plays the scheming villain. Richard Cheech Marin is an amusing edition as an uncle who is in on the big parental secret. The third act is mainly numerous action sequences that present cartoon style violence and predictable results. Otherwise this is a challenging family friendly visual delight. Score: 9 / 10
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4/10
Imaginative and has a good performance by Alan Cumming... That's it!
WakenPayne1 February 2014
Warning: Spoilers
Childhood nostalgia, that is simply the 2 words why I saw this movie again. I watched the first three movies quite a bit as a kid and I can even tell you why. Around the time I was into James Bond so when I saw this movie I saw it as the same except with kids (I was 7!). So watching this movie again did bring back some childhood memories but that's about all it did.

The movie is about the 2 world's best spies who are married. They retire once their children are born. 9 years later the 2 kids - Carmen and Juni are keeping secrets from their parents - Carmen skips school and all of Juni's friends are as real as the CGI in this movie. Their parents find a mission to track missing agents and through that we find out a kids show host named Floop (Alan Cumming) has the technology to change people's appearances into crazy-as-hell looking characters for his show as well as build robot kids - the robot kids being for some guy's army. After they get captured it is up to Carmen and Juni to save their parents.

Well to this movie's credit it has a lot of imagination to it. Which is a pretty good thing for the most part. I say for the most part because the CGI of some of them looks really dated. Not to say I still didn't appreciate the thought and effort but... yeah some of it just looks a little bit creepy to show younger children at least.

The only other thing I can really say about it is Alan Cumming's performance as Floop. He just nails whimsical, head-in-the-clouds, crazy inventor, Children's TV Show Host perfectly. If I were to talk about the acting some more Alexa Vega does an okay job but Daryl Sabara is AWFUL! I mean I know I shouldn't be too harsh on him, because he's just a kid but here, I don't think he's even trying.

If there was one thing I hated, and I mean LOATHED it would have to be the humour. It was terrible, I mean it might make some kids laugh but most of it is the bottom of the barrel toilet humour that dominates awful kids films.

Here's another thing, we have too many morals. Or at least the screenwriter has no idea how to balance them out. On one hand we have importance of family and that message is delivered okay, but when Floop tells Juni that all it was about was purity of heart and mind, it almost comes out of nowhere. There maybe other morals that they tried to get across but I really just couldn't see them.

So does Spy Kids hold up in my eyes? No, and why should it? All it has to offer in terms of quality really is one supporting performance and the imagination behind it. With that said this could entertain your 7-10 year old for an hour and a half and it is relatively harmless. If you're babysitting a kid sometime - check it out, or if you want to see how childhood nostalgia holds up.
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8/10
Limitless ideas handled brilliantly
Steve Pulaski11 August 2011
Spy Kids is a special kind of family film that will please adults and children alike. What a rarity. I critique family films by judging if both the parent and the child will enjoy seeing the film. The parents buy the movie or the ticket for the kids, so they should both be provided with entertainment.

Director Robert Rodriguez is all about special effects. So it comes as no surprise that Spy Kids relies heavily on technology. If Rodriguez had made this in the late eighties or early nineties, it would get more of a reputation as a cheesy, low budget picture, and wouldn't be remembered today in the hearts of many adolescents. If the first film would be made in 2011, we'd get the creepy hybrid of motion capture-like animation for most of this, most likely. So it's nice to see Spy Kids was made just in the nic of time when technology could produce such a fun, original picture.

The story is about two youngsters, Carmen (Vega) and Juni (Sabara), whose parents (Banderas and Gugino) are undercover spies. They don't know their parents are spies, but after staying with their "Uncle" Felix (Marin), he tells them about their parents during an emergency, and sends both of them off to rescue their parents from an evil TV show host named Fegan Floop (Cumming).

Spy Kids is only limited by the imagination from Robert Rodriguez head. My favorite scene is when Carmen and Juni are speeding on what resembles a water jet-ski pod (I'm just guessing, I really don't think Rodriguez knew what he was coming up with either), and evading the ninjas by just half a second. Something about that made me think back to when I was a kid, on my bed (or my spaceship) rolling around fighting imaginary bad guys.

The CGI works, but it's flawed when it comes to the thumb creatures. The thumbs look blocky, and not very life-like. Not like anything is, but this picture was flowing perfectly up until the "thumb thumbs" came in. They are just assembled awkwardly, and lack animation. I was actually hoping two would go to war with each other if you know what I mean.

The two leads are fairly decent actors, not perfect, but they have some time to practice, and I think these films are good places to start. The storyline was the least of my concerns, I just wanted good-humored, little to non-violent fun, and Spy Kids works. Its charm springs from the fact that it is just a kid's film, and it doesn't worry that it is being too unrealistic. It's meant to be that way.

Starring: Alex Vega, Daryl Sabara, Antonio Banderas, Carla Gugino, Cheech Marin, and Danny Trejo. Directed by: Robert Rodriguez.
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Kiddish
reelGenius5 May 2001
I kinda had it in the back of my mind that this is a 'kid' movie. (That all the previews they showed in the movie were either animation, clay-mation or imagination, didn't help either!) But I had to go see it, this being a Robert Rodriguez movie and all. And it did turn out to be - a 'kid' movie. Very kiddish story and very very bad special effects. (I guess that's what happens when you think like Spielberg and have a budget like Rodriguez.) But its assuring to know that Rodriguez's camera movements, editing techniques and fast-paced story-telling are still intact from El Mariachi. We just hope he'll come up with a more adult theme next time.
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