Spy Kids (franchise)

Spy Kids

DVD box set of the four films
Directed by Robert Rodriguez
Produced by Robert Rodriguez
Elizabeth Avellan
Bob Weinstein
Harvey Weinstein
Written by Robert Rodriguez
Starring Alexa Vega
Daryl Sabara
Rowan Blanchard
Mason Cook
Antonio Banderas
Carla Gugino
Jessica Alba
Joel McHale
Marie Fagundo
Sly Johnson
Distributed by Miramax Films (1-3)
The Weinstein Company (4)
Release dates
Running time
358 minutes
Country United States
Language English
Budget $154 million
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.[1]



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)

Main article: Spy Kids

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.

Animated series

On June 16, 2016, Netflix announced an animated Spy Kids TV show entitled "Spy Kids: Mission Critical" with The Weinstein Company set to be released in 2018.[2]

Cast and characters

List indicator(s)
  • Italics indicate a cameo
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character did not appear in the film
Characters Films
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)
Alexa Vega
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
Romero   Steve Buscemi  
Dinky Winks   Bill Paxton  
Devlin George Clooney   George Clooney  
Mr. Lisp Robert Patrick  
Ms. Gradenko Teri Hatcher  
Alexandra   Taylor Momsen  
The President of the United States   Christopher McDonald  
The Toymaker   Sylvester Stallone  
Francesca "Cesca" Giggles   Salma Hayek  
Demetra   Courtney Jines  
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


Film Director Producer Writer Composer Editor Cinematographer
Spy Kids Robert Rodriguez Robert Rodriguez
Elizabeth Avellan
Robert Rodriguez Harry Gregson-Williams
Gavin Greenaway
Heitor Pereira
Robert Rodriguez
John Debney
Danny Elfman
Los Lobos
Robert Rodriguez Guillermo Navarro
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Robert Rodriguez
John Debney
Robert Rodriguez
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Robert Rodriguez
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World Robert Rodriguez
Carl Thiel
Jimmy Lindsey
Robert Rodriguez

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"[3] 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.[4] 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.

Technical innovations

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.


Box office

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.

Critical reception

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.

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic IMDb
Spy Kids 93% (123 reviews)[5] 71 ( 27 reviews) 5.4
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams 74% (129 reviews)[6] 66 ( 29 reviews) 5.1
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over 45% (135 reviews)[7] 57 ( 30 reviews) 4.1
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 22% (56 reviews)[8] 37 ( 14 reviews) 3.6
Average 59% 58 4.6

DVD and Blu-ray releases



  1. ^ The Walt Disney Company had to cut their own share on the fourth film with The Weinstein Company to 5% after the latter party lost their bid to reclaim Miramax Films.[9]


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