Robert Rodriguez. Release Date: March 30, 2001. DVD Release Date: September 18, 2001.
It’s rough being a kid. Lots of things happen that you don’t understand. Everyone bosses you around. You’re in a constant phase of flux on so many levels. It’s no wonder so many adults wander around from trauma caused during their formative years. Because of this, it’s absolutely amazing to see a movie where kids are so… empowered. Granted, I don’t have children myself, so it’s possible that I appreciate this empowerment because I don’t know what it’s like when the seven year old tries to assert him- or herself when they feel like they’ve been wronged. Part of childhood is socialization, understanding the behavior that is expected of you from your parents, your teachers, your family, and your friends, and that much constant attention can be a nightmare, and there are kids that occasionally remind me of primates in the zoo. You know the ones I’m talking about, the ones who have been stared at so long that they’re dull and listless, staring pointedly in to a corner, or attempting to hide from view. It’s a hard thing, and I think grown-ups forget that, so I say go kid power.
This isn’t a great movie. But it’s fun and unapologetic that it focuses solely on its target audience, which I’m guessing is the 8-12 market. One of the major complaints about the movie that I've heard over the years is that it's too kid friendly. My usual reply is "duh."
For once, the child stars aren’t usurped or in competition with their adult counterparts. Spy Kids is all about the kids in a way that Home Alone wasn’t entirely about Kevin. The adults occasionally enter in to the stream of things, but even when they get the spotlight on them, it’s only a moment or two before something happens and the kids have to save the day.
There are some interesting special effects in the movie, but I found the setting to be a bit distracting, especially as the story winds down to its inevitable ending. Spy Kids borrows heavily from the Bond franchise for its momentum and plot devices, but the bright lights and colors of the final showdown weren’t quite in keeping with the inspiration, but if I was 10 and watching this for the first time, it might just blow my mind.