SPY KIDS

I can?t remember the last time I watched a film starring kids that I have enjoyed as much as Spy Kids.
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REVIEW BY BETTY HAMM


SPY KIDS
(2001)


This page was created on April 10, 2001
This page was last updated on May 29, 2005

—Spy Kids (original)
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Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by Robert Rodriguez
Film Editing by Robert Rodriguez

Antonio Banderas .... Gregorio Cortez
Carla Gugino .... Ingrid Cortez
Alexa Vega .... Carmen Cortez
Daryl Sabara .... Juni Cortez
Alan Cumming .... Fegan Floop
Tony Shalhoub .... Alexander Minion
Teri Hatcher .... Mrs. Gradenko
Cheech Marin .... Felix Gumm
Robert Patrick .... Mr. Lisp
Danny Trejo .... Isidor 'Machete' Cortez
George Clooney .... Devlin
Mike Judge .... Donnagon/Donnamight
Richard Linklater .... Cool Spy
Guillermo Navarro .... Pastor
Johnny Reno .... Agent Johnny

Produced by Elizabeth Avellan (producer), Cary Granat (executive producer), Robert Rodriguez (producer), Bill Scott (line producer), Tamara Smith (co-producer), Bob Weinstein (executive producer), Harvey Weinstein (executive producer)
Original music by John Debney, Danny Elfman (theme music), Gavin Greenaway, Harry Gregson-Williams, Heitor Pereira, Robert Rodriguez
Cinematography by Guillermo Navarro
Film Editing by Robert Rodriguez

PG - for action sequences


Spy Kids SOUNDTRACK
Various Artists - Soundtrack - 2001

1. Cortez Family 2. My Parents Are Spies 3. Spy Wedding 4. Spy Kids Demonstration 5. Parents On Mission 6. Kids Escape House 7. Pod Chase 8. The Safehouse 9. The Third Brain 10. Buddy Pack Escape 11. Oye Como Spy 12. Floop's Song (Cruel World) 13. Spy Go Round 14. Minion 15. Sneaking Around Machetes 16. The Spy Plane 17. Floop's Castle 18. Final Family Theme 19. Spy Kids (Save The World)

THE FAMILY IS WORTH FIGHTING FOR!
Click to enlargeSYNOPSIS:
When the notorious husband-and-wife spy team, Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino), is kidnapped by the evil Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming), the two Cortez children are the only ones who have the right skills and the insider know-how to help. Together Carmen and Juni Cortez (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) set out on their first spy mission to find Floop and rescue their parents. SPY KIDS is a high-wire family adventure that lets the kids save the day.
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeClick to enlarge


A Most Difficult Job
REVIEW BY BETTY HAMM
bhamm@efcn.org
Arts Director
Evangelical Free Church,
Naperville Il (630)983-3232
http://www.efcn.org

Click to enlargeClick to enlargeDR SEUSS AND PEE WEE HERMAN MEET
It?s a fairy tale love, home and lifestyle. Spy Kids is a fun movie with unbelievable situations and villains (a cross between Dr. Suess and Pee Wee Herman) that the audience enjoys throughout the film.
Click to enlargeMARRIAGE IS A MISSION
We begin the story with mom, Carla Gugino telling a bedtime tale of two spies who fall in love and marry. ?Marriage is a mission so complex, that only the most amazing or insane need to apply.? Mom tells them. Of course she is telling of her own story. She goes on to say how this spy couple retired and raised a family. She says ?in a way they exchanged one life of adventure for another.?
Click to enlargeClick to enlargeGREAT FUN
Throughout Spy Kids we see strong family and marriage themes. This is a great film that re-enforces wonderful family priorities without getting too preachy or slighting us on the fun meter.
Click to enlargeSOMETHING WORTH FIGHTING FOR
?Spy work?that?s easy. Keeping a family together that?s difficult and worth fighting for.?---Juni (Daryl Sabara) I can?t remember the last time I watched a film starring kids that I have enjoyed as much as Spy Kids. It is a great conversation starter on what is valuable in life?people and family being way up there!
Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
—Spy Kids (original)
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BEST KIND
Subject: Spy_Kids
Date: Sat, 19 Jan 2002
From: Sergio

The best kind of kid?s movie, in my opinion, is the one the actually makes kids gather empty cardboard boxes, colored paper, glue and other things, to build their own submarines, helicopters and jets - build their own toys, create, draw "Flooglies" and all those exciting things you can do with your imagination.

That?s one of the best things I see in SPY KIDS.

HOLLYWOOD NEEDS TO INTERPRET THE SIGNS!
Subject: Spy Kids and The Mummy Returns
Date: Sun, 10 Jun 2001
From: "Steve Forsyth"

Between this film and The Mummy Returns, we have seen that Hollywood can produce films with pro-family messages when they try hard enough. What I think is really cool is how well Spy Kids has been received. With no language or sexual innuendo (an increasingly disturbing trend in many of todays "family friendly" films), this film still managed to turn a coimmanding profit - it's still playing in the min theaters in my town after several months!

Why doesn't Hollywood realize that there is a HUGE market for well-made films that are also family friendly? If you look at the current list of TOP TEN money making films, you'll find few if any R-rated films. You find the likes of Home Alone, Star Wars trilogy, Jurassic Park - I suppose the most "offensive" film on the list I can think of off the top of my head is Titanic. These are mostly clean and family friendly films. So why does Hollywood keep churning out other films filled with such garbage? I'm always thrilled when a quality film like Spy Kids does so well - it just reinforces the point that families DO see movies if they are put out for them to see. I hope there will be more like this in the future!

ENJOYABLE WITH MY KIDS
Date: Sun, 22 Apr 2001
From: Joe

This is probably the most enjoyable movie I've taken my kids to see in a long time. Lots of exciting gadgetry and action to keep us entertained, but nothing too violent. But it also had a very pro-family message and showed kids who haven't quite fit in finding a way to adjust. And siblings actually come to like each other by the end!

I'm glad to see how well this movie is doing at the box office. There are almost no PG movies these days. It's become mostly PG-13 (and R) movies aimed at teens. It's nice to have a family film I can take my 7 and 10 yr old boys to.

CROSS BETWEEN WIILY WONKA AND JAMES BOND
Subject: Fun Family Entertaninment
Date: Sat, 21 Apr 2001
From: "Mike Furches"

The last reviewer compared this film to PeeWees Playhouse and James Bond. I actually made a similar comparison after seeing the film but I said I thought it was a cross between James Bond and an older imaginative film Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. While this was my response after the fact, it was not my attitude before seeing the film.

I have to say that the producers of the film did an excellent job in the original marketing of the film. It certainly grabbed the attention of my son who is 11 and my wife who noticed that Antonio Banderas was one of the stars. Personally, I had no desire to see the movie but after being bugged and bugged by my son I decided to go ahead and go. It wasn't long after the opening credits that I did something I normally never do in a movie. I almost shouted to my wife as the opening credits rolled, "This is a Robert Rodriguez film, do you know who he is?" I have been a fan of Robert Rodriguez for some time and had no idea that he had written, produced, edited and directed this film. If I had, I would have been willing to see it during the first week of release as opposed to the second.

Robert Rodriguez, is, without exception, one of the best young talents in the "Hollywood" market. He has a technique of using quick edits and lots of action in his stories that keeps the viewer drawn into the film. His films have become cult classics and for a good reason. Most of his past films have been more of the macho type which is great for catching the attention of the macho types but not much for the family. Most of his previous films are filled with very interesting story lines, yet at the same time not for the kiddies, definitely the opposite of the direction of this film. With this said, Spy Kids was actually a rather enjoyable film with some nice underlying messages.

Without giving away the film, mainly because I don't like spoiler reviews, I believe that this is a good film with some quality underlying messages that many Christians could enjoy and benefit from. There is a positive spin on family relationships as well as opportunity to discuss forgiveness. Antonio Banderas character Gregorio Cortez, has a unique relationship with his brother in the film played by a Robert Rodriguez regular Danny Trejo. There is also an aspect of forgiveness played out by the children with another important character portrayed in the film. Spy Kids, in its own sort of way, also pokes fun at the marketing ploys of many television shows and movies targeted towards children. It will be interesting to see if there are toys released from this film for sales to children.

There are a number of additional interesting characters played by popular actors and fans of the Robert Rodriguez genre such as Cheech Marin, George Clooney and others. The film also has Terry Hatcher, Lois Lane from the television Superman series, who has a nice role which she plays to almost perfection. While there are lessons in this film that are learned from the children and parents it is nice to see that each prospective party is willing and capable of learning from each other.

Time for an editorial comment. I often find it interesting at the criticism that we as Christians sometimes place on movies and I'm sure that this is one that may draw some criticism, after all it is not "blatantly Christian", whatever that is. This is a film however, that Christians will be able to go see with other non Christian families and not be offended. It is nice that as families we can approach the concept of forgiveness and change through the benefit of a movie. This is especially true in that for many families this may be the only method they are willing to approach these subjects. Spy Kids will also provide wonderful opportunities to talk about Christian concepts such as the forgiveness that we have received through Christ, despite the bad things we have done in our lives. It is a film that some as Christians, if used properly, can share these messages in a fresh and unique way from drawing comparisons to some of the characters and situations in the film. They will also be able to address the need for parents being with children and the influence we as parents can have on our children. Does this water down the Gospel? I don't think so as long as we make sure to draw the distinction between the fantasy characters of the film and the real life experiences of Christ. So, don't just see it yourself with your own family. Go with non Christian friends and use the opportunity to share the Gospel in an interesting and unique way.

On a scale of 1 - 10 on this one I had fun, lets go with a 7

Mike Furches mike@furches.org

FOUND IT EXCITING
Date: Thu, 19 Apr 2001
From: Jonathan Fletcher

Kind of a cross between James Bond and (dare I say it) PeeWee's Playhouse. I liked the plucky kids jumping in to take responsibility for their parents rescue--a tribute to the nuclear family. I liked the Bond-ish gadgets and the by-their-wits problems-solving.

I thought it bogged down a little in places, but overall it sustained enough of a pace to keep me from looking at my watch. My daughter and I both thought it fun and . I was encouraged (a little) about Hollywood by the sentiment at the end: "It's the family, stupid!" Go see it. And take someone you love.
-- Jonathan Fletcher

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Spy Kids? 2001 Miramax Films. All Rights Reserved.