Spy Kids (franchise)
DVD box set of the four films
|Directed by||Robert Rodriguez|
|Written by||Robert Rodriguez|
Miramax Films (1-3)|
The Weinstein Company (4)
|Box office||$550.2 million|
The Spy Kids series consists of four American/Spanish spy adventure comedy films in franchise comedy series produced by Troublemaker Studios and Dimension Films written and directed by Robert Rodriguez. The main plot initially follows the adventures of two Cortez children (portrayed by Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) who become involved in their parents' espionage. The rest of their family are also spies as well, including their estranged uncle Machete and maternal grandparents. The films tend to have a strong Hispanic heritage theme, as Rodriguez is of Mexican descent.
Ten years before the first film, there was a period of enormous political turmoil. Fearless agents were recruited for espionage missions against enemy spies. Gregorio Cortez and Ingrid Avellan (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) were enemy spies assigned to kill each other, but instead they fell in love and married. After a typical wedding, Gregorio and Ingrid took a break from espionage and started a family.
Spy Kids (2001)
After retiring from espionage for ten years, Gregorio and Ingrid are pulled back into duty for their important assignment despite the fact they were out of practice, and were captured. Their two children, Carmen and Juni (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara), discover the truth of their parents' past, which they had neglected to tell them because they were afraid that if they knew, they would picture danger at every corner; and decide to rescue them. On their first mission, Carmen and Juni manage to bring around their estranged uncle, Isador "Machete" Cortez (Danny Trejo), a genius gadget inventor and Juni helps to redeem Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). Together, Carmen and Juni thwart the plan of Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub) to develop an army of androids resembling young children for a mastermind named Mr. Lisp (Robert Patrick) and his partner Ms. Gradenko (Teri Hatcher). The robots based on Carmen and Juni became part of Floop's show.
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)
As agents of the OSS, Carmen and Juni face a particularly hard competition with Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matt O'Leary and Emily Osment), the two children of a double-dealing agent Donnagon Giggles (Mike Judge), whom Carmen and Juni helped to rescue them from the first film. Juni gets fired from the OSS after fighting with Gary over a smaller version of the transmooker, a device that can shut off all electronic devices even though it was Gary who started the fight. Juni loses his spot for the best spy kid of the year award, while Donnagon plans to steal the transmooker to take over the world. On their second mission, Carmen and Juni follow the trail to the mysterious island of Liki-Liki which is home to Romero (Steve Buscemi), an eccentric scientist who attempted to create genetically-miniaturised animals, but instead ended up with his island inhabited by mutant monsters. Eventually, Donnagon is fired and Gary is suspended, and the transmooker is destroyed. Juni is offered his job back, but in order to take a break from the OSS, he retires to start his own private eye agency.
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)
After retiring from the OSS, Juni is thrust back into service when an evil mastermind named Sebastian the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) creates a fictional video game called Game Over, which hypnotizes its users. Carmen was sent on a mission to disable the game, but disappeared on Level 4. With the help of his maternal grandfather, Valentin Avellan (Ricardo Montalban), who uses a wheelchair, Juni is sent after Carmen and helps her to disable the game in order to save the world. It is revealed that Sebastian was the one who disabled Valentin in the first place. Instead of avenging his former partner, Valentin forgives Sebastian who is redeemed.
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011)
The OSS has become the world's top spy agency, while the Spy Kids department has become defunct. A retired spy Marissa (Jessica Alba) is thrown back into the action along with her two stepchildren, Rebecca and Cecil (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook), when a maniacal Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) attempts to take over the world. In order to save the world, Rebecca and Cecil must team up with Marissa.
Cast and characters
- Italics indicate a cameo
- A dark grey cell indicates the character did not appear in the film
| Spy Kids
| The Island of Lost Dreams
| Game Over
| All the Time in the World|
|Gregorio Cortez||Antonio Banderas||Deleted scene|
|Ingrid Cortez||Carla Gugino||Deleted scene|
|Carmen Cortez|| Alexa Vega
Addisyn Fair (infant)
|Juni Cortez||Daryl Sabara|
|Isador "Machete" Cortez||Danny Trejo|
|Valentin Avellan||Ricardo Montalban|
|Helga Avellan||Holland Taylor|
|Donnagon Giggles||Mike Judge|
|Gary Giggles||Matt O'Leary|
|Gerti Giggles||Emily Osment|
|Fegan Floop||Alan Cumming|
|Alexander Minion||Tony Shalhoub|
|Felix Gumm||Cheech Marin|
|Dinky Winks||Bill Paxton|
|Devlin||George Clooney||George Clooney|
|Mr. Lisp||Robert Patrick|
|Ms. Gradenko||Teri Hatcher|
|The President of the United States||Christopher McDonald|
|The Toymaker||Sylvester Stallone|
|Francesca "Cesca" Giggles||Salma Hayek|
|Arnold||Ryan Pinkston||Deleted scene|
|Francis||Bobby Edner||Deleted scene|
|Rez||Robert Vito||Deleted scene|
|The Guy||Elijah Wood|
|Rebecca Wilson||Rowan Blanchard|
|Cecil Wilson||Mason Cook|
|Marissa Wilson||Jessica Alba|
|Wilbur Wilson||Joel McHale|
|Danger D'Amo/The Timekeeper/Tick-Tock||Jeremy Piven|
|Spy Kids||Robert Rodriguez|| Robert Rodriguez
|Robert Rodriguez|| Harry Gregson-Williams
|Robert Rodriguez||Guillermo Navarro|
|Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams|| Robert Rodriguez
|Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over||Robert Rodriguez|
|Spy Kids: All the Time in the World|| Robert Rodriguez
| Jimmy Lindsey|
Background and production
Spy Kids was heavily influenced by James Bond films. Director Robert Rodriguez says the first film was the "Willy and James Bond mix" and the second was the "Mysterious Island and James Bond mix"; by this pattern the third film could be described as the "Tron and James Bond mix". Technology in the films is almost always portrayed as looking friendly, and a bit cartoonish.
The spy organization featured in the films is called the OSS. The initials seem to have been derived from the Office of Strategic Services, a former American intelligence organization during World War II which later evolved into the CIA. Note there is a character named Donnagon Giggles, after William Joseph Donovan, the director of the real OSS. What the initials stand for in the Spy Kids universe is never specified on screen, but, according to one of the books, they stand for the Organization of Super Spies.
One of the chief themes of Spy Kids is the unity of family. The films also play with the idea of children having adult responsibilities, and how keeping secrets from family members can have a negative effect on relationships. The first film also deals extensively with sibling rivalry and the responsibility of older children. It also has a strong sense of Hispanic heritage.
The second and third films were shot with High Definition digital video, parts of the third film using an anaglyphic process to create the 3-D effects. Audiences were given red/blue glasses with their ticket purchase in movie theatres. Four sets of these glasses were also included in the DVD release. The third film was also used as a test for a special Texas Instruments digital projector which is supposed to be able to project polarized 3D, a process that does not require the red-blue lenses.
The first film was a surprise hit, opening with $26.5 million and grossing a total of $112.7 million USD in North America and $35.2 million over-seas. The second film had a disappointing but still strong opening weekend of $16.7 million and a total of $25 million since its Wednesday launch. Overall, it grossed $85.8 million in North America and $33.8 million overseas. The third film opened with a surprising $33.4 million, but didn't quite live up to the first "Spy Kids" total gross. In the end, it grossed $111 million in North America. However, its over-seas gross was double either of the first two "Spy Kids" at $85.3 million. Altogether, the "Spy Kids" trilogy grossed over $450 million worldwide.
The first film received very positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, being the most critically acclaimed film of the series. The sequel, The Island of Lost Dreams, achieved less critical acclaim, but still positive reception. Game Over, the third and final in the original trilogy, received mixed reviews and later on more negative reception. It was heavily criticized for the poor 3D visual effects. The fourth film, All the Time in the World, received the worst reception from critics and audiences. It was heavily panned by critics, who criticized the plot, cast, acting, visual effects and the 4D Aroma-Scope effect in the film.
|Spy Kids||93% (123 reviews)||71 ( 27 reviews)||5.4|
|Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams||74% (129 reviews)||66 ( 29 reviews)||5.1|
|Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over||45% (135 reviews)||57 ( 30 reviews)||4.1|
|Spy Kids: All the Time in the World||22% (56 reviews)||37 ( 14 reviews)||3.6|
DVD and Blu-ray releases
- September 18, 2001 (Spy Kids) on DVD by Buena Vista Home Entertainment
- February 18, 2003 (Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams) on DVD by Buena Vista Home Entertainment
- February 24, 2004 (Spy Kids 3D: Game Over) on DVD by Buena Vista Home Entertainment
- August 2, 2011 (Spy Kids, Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams, and Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over) on DVD and Blu-ray Disc by Lionsgate (However, all 3 DVDs are still the original Buena Vista Home Entertainment copies.)
- November 22, 2011 ("Spy Kids: All the Time in the World") on DVD and Blu-ray by Anchor Bay Entertainment
- December 4, 2012 (Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over, The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl in 3D 3D Double Feature) on Blu-ray 3D Disc by Lionsgate
- Spy Kids Soundtrack
- Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Soundtrack
- Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Soundtrack
- Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
- AFP (October 23, 2013). "'Machete' director Robert Rodriguez doesn't see Oscar future". /gulfnews.com. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
- Brian Steinberg (June 16, 2016). "Netflix Readies Animated 'Spy Kids,' 'Llama Llama' Series (EXCLUSIVE)". Variety. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- CIA: Look Back … Gen. William J. Donovan Heads Office of Strategic Services
- Spy Kids - Rotten Tomatoes
- Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams - Rotten Tomatoes
- Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over - Rotten Tomatoes
- Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D - Rotten Tomatoes
- "Miramax movies, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Ron Tutor". NYDailyNews.com. February 3, 2011.