Spy Kids 3D: Game Over – Film Review (Warning: Spoilers will follow)

Spy Kids 3D: Game Over is a film released in 2003 and is set inside a video game world.  The main character, Juni Cortez, goes inside the video game world to find his missing sister and to save kids throughout the world from the “Toymaker,” who is using the video game as a trap to enslave kids’ minds.  Throughout this movie,Juni, along with a mixed-up group of kids traveling alongside him travels through different sub worlds inside the game, which follows the games being released at the time, except in a highly fashioned way, and includes several tropes.

One of the first tropes that is highly noticeable in this film is the villain. The Toymaker is the villain in the film. Like most villains in games, the Toymaker’s goal is to take over the world.  However, this is a unique villain as he tries to take over the world by controlling kids’ minds to have the future he wants.

The Toymaker, played By Sylvester Stallone

One of the other tropes found in video games is lava.  Most games have lava as a barrier to force players to either find another way around in the level, or to block access to the next level until a player solves a puzzle or beats a boss (see Dark Souls and the boss battle against Ceaseless Discharge).  In the movie, the lava was to be a blockade to the gang.  Instead of trying to find away around, the Toymaker sends enemies their way, so they were forced to use hoverboards to get on the lava.  However,a lava monster knocks them off their boards, but here is the different part from games: the lava did not give them a game over, like most games would.  The lava was cold and hid the passage to the next level.

The lava monster that knocks everyone off their hoverboard when going through the lava
Ceaseless Discharge found in Dark Souls.  Compare this guy with the lava monster in Spy Kids 3D

The other trope was the life counter attached to every player in the game. This goes back to the 1980s and 1990s when lives in a game were a thing.  The movie and the games shared this in common.  Once you run out of lives, the game ends, like every game back then, such as Super Mario Bros.

Start this clip at around 1 minute and 52 seconds to see the life counter on “The Guy” (please note that life counters do not drain super fast like it did here)
A life counter in Super Mario Bros (1985) for comparison

The technology and the apparatus was futuristic for its time, as it showed lots of stuff from the future.  Take the mega race, for example.  Cars usually do not go as fast as they did in that race, which leads to a reference to F-Zero GX, where cars go 1000 km/h.  Plus, cars don’t usually have special weapons or have three wheels.  Another example was the glasses everyone was wearing when the Toymaker’s forces entered the real world near the end of the film. Those glasses showed the robots to everyone, since without them, the robots were invisible.  Glasses like that are definitely not going to be available in the real world, and there is no invisibility in the real world.  Some games have tried to simulate the effects of the glasses.  Take Tom Clancy’s Ghost Recon: Future Soldier.  The soldiers had special equipment that included x-ray vision, to help see enemies behind walls and hiding behind cover, or to see through smoke.

This is the mega race in the movie
Compare the gameplay of F-Zero GX to the Mega Race in Spy Kids 3D
These are the glasses everyone had to wear in order to see the Toymaker’s robots
You can kind of see a comparison between the x-ray vision these soldiers had and the glasses everyone wore in Spy Kids 3D since they revealed hidden enemies

Obviously, the movie was designed for kids.  The graphics inside the video game world were very cartoon-ish and would only be found in actual kids’games.  If you look at level one in the game world, the buildings were all wacky and out of shape.  Also, the dialogue is very cringy for adults who still want to see the film. 

You can see in this clip that the buildings are comically fashioned

Overall, the film is alright for kids and people who have even the slightest interest in video games, but it is definitely not for everyone.  The setting and the technology found in the film is futuristic and has reference to games past and present.

Rodriguez, R.(Director), & Avellan, E. (Producer). (2003). Spy kids 3-D: Game over [Video file].

(This citation is in APA, since that is what I am used to)

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