Trying to fall in love with film again.

'Spy Kids' is poetic cinema

Spy Kids (2001) - IMDbStory 

Carmen and Juni Cortez live with their parents who are secretly spies that have been retired for a decade. Gregorio and Ingrid (their parents) are called back into the field when OSS agents go missing but they also go missing. It's up to Carmen and Juni to find their parents and the missing agents

The story at its core is a very simple one making it easy to follow and get invested. There aren't that many spinning parts to focus on. And the lack of side plot means you can focus on what matters.

Acting 

The acting in this movie is very good. The Cortez's feel like a real family. Each character feels like a real person with their own idiosyncrasies.

Alexa Panavega and Daryl Sabara have incredible chemistry, for a while I genuinely thought they were siblings because of the way they interacted with each other. My siblings and I talk to each other like that more often than not. They have all the banter, insults and witty comebacks that you would expect siblings to have and even though most of that is down to the writing, their delivery is natural and it never feels like they're actors reading lines.

Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino are also very believable as Gregorio and Ingrid Cortez respectively. You believe their relationship and root for it. Even though they aren't the focus of the movie, each of them has their moment to shine. Antiono Banderas has some of the best jokes and works very well with visual humour. He's easily the comedic relief of the film.

The performances overall were very good albeit a but overacted by the antagonists. Alan Cumming, Teri Hatcher, Dany Trejo, and Tony Shalhoub all bring something to the film. George Clooney's cameo is so random that it's absolutely brilliant.

When I was younger I didn't realise how important this film was, as I grew older I noticed the lack of inclusivity but this movie has a largely Latino cast and even though I'm not Latina I understand what it means to have people on screen that look like you and represent you.

Writing/Direction

This movie was written and directed by Robert  Rodriguez and has very good direction with solid pacing. With a runtime of 88 minutes, this movie is very short and I was thoroughly entertained for the entire runtime

The central theme of the movie is family and the movie can be very heavy-handed with that message and constantly states the importance of family. Having a film tell me what I'm supposed to think is something that gets on my nerves and takes me out of the experience, however, this is a kids movie, so there is a reason that the film makes a constant reference to family its importance.

This movie is also funny even though the humour is a little low-brow but that tends to be the case when your target audience is quite young

Robert Rodriguez directs his films in a very distinct way, much like Zach Synder his films are heavily stylised from jump cuts to long-range shots but it never undermines the film or makes the film feel cheap

CGI/Set Design

 The first half of the movie takes place in locations that are grounded in reality and as the movies goes on, the locations get weirder and weirder but there is a good balance of realistic and fantastical.

Considering the fact that this movie came out in 2001, the special effects don't look that bad. Does the movie look like it was made in the early 2000s? Yes. Do the special effects detract from the film? No.

Score/Soundtrack 

The score was written by John Debney and Danny Elfman and it stands out. The theme popped into my head as I was writing this blog post even though I'm listening to something else. I wouldn't call this score iconic but it fits the narrative and flow of the movie very well. It's very reminiscent of 80s spy movies.

Overall Thoughts

Usually, when I watch movies I used to love as a kid, all I can see are the glaring issues and the usual consensus is "This film hasn't aged well". That's not the case with this movie, I enjoyed it as much now as I did the first time I saw it.

While I wrote this review I was worried that I was looking at the movie through rose-tinted glasses but the more I thought about it, the more objective I became. This is a kids movie. It's bound to be a little ridiculous. Regardless of that, this movie is good. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie from beginning to end.

I've been waiting for my parents to tell me that they were spies and it hasn't happened yet. Mum and Dad if you want to tell me that you're spies, now is your chance, just saying. 

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