February 21, 2018

Review- Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

15 years ago while I was in the teaching credential program the buzz was all about giving girls a louder voice in the classroom so that they’d see their importance and abilities in life.  I’ve noticed this Girl Power theme cross over to movies, books, even commercials ever since- girls are smart and powerful, while boys and men, sadly, are portrayed as buffoons.


Spy Kids: All The Time in the World is definitely a movie about Girl Power.  The main characters, who are all tough and smart, are the girls.  While Jessica Alba is a secret spy, her husband bumbles as a spy hunter who has yet to snag one.  And of the siblings, Alba’s stepchildren, who the emotional story line surrounds, the girl is the one with the brains and bravery. While she plots their next moves as Spy Kids, the brother is scared and non-committal. In one early scene they whiz through the sky while ensconced in their own rockets, the brother in a pinkish one, hurling violently into barf bags, while the girl, Rebecca, in a blue rocket, coolly gets them out of harm’s way.


The movie is worth seeing on the big screen, though. When we bought our tickets my 7 and 9-year-olds (I didn’t bring the little girls this time) were given a sheet of scratch and sniff numbers that correspond to the movie.  Each time one of the numbers flashed on the screen, we were directed to scratch and sniff that number for a multi-sensory experience. Kind of like 3-D for your nose!  I wasn’t too keen to sniff baby food, dog farts and gummy bears, when they came up visually in the film, but the kids loved it. Each time a number came up during the movie they quickly got to work on their sheets like little spy kids.  This won’t be a perk for home video renters later.


Also, the effects were great to see in the theatre. Throughout the film there are many plays on the theme of time. Freezing time made for great special effects, talking about living in the past and future added a fantasy element that made for eye-popping action scenes, too. Some of the “time” language was a little repetitive, but kids shouldn’t mind.


There were also solid themes that made the movie not your usual kid fluff, e.g. stepfamily dynamics, sibling relationships, trust and more.


The spy kid characters from the original 2001 Spy Kids movie have supporting roles, and are now all grown up.  I haven’t seen the original, but it didn’t matter.  The brother and sister characters, Juni and Carmen, return as older, savvier spies, looking for spy protégés.  It didn’t need any back-story, though there seems to be a little which should be fun for fans of the first movie.


I must say, the male characters do somewhat redeem themselves by the end, making the movie rise above what could have easily been flat characters. Alba’s husband, played by Joel McHale, finally shows he has pride and his son, the brother and boy spy, ends up using his tech knowledge to get them all out of more than a few binds.


Overall, it was a good film with great special effects and a solid story line.  There are lots of action scenes, but nothing violent.  The language is fine, except for one scene when the original spy kid, Carmen, yells, “Oh, SHI-take mushroom!”  My boys both looked right at me.  They knew exactly what word was meant for shitake.  Overall, I recommend this movie to kids 7 and over, with an adult watching with them. spy kids: all the time in the world




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