Spy Kids: All The Time In The World In 4D
- Director:Robert Rodriguez
- Cast:Jessica Alba, Antonio Banderas, Jeremy Piven, Danny Trejo, Alexa Vega
- Release Date:September 22, 2011
- Running time:89 minutes
- Film Worth:$15.50
- FILMINK rates movies out of $20 - the score indicates the amount we believe a ticket to the movie to be worth
Displaying a visual flair rare for a family film, this is entertaining, escapist fun.
It's not often you find a director with real visual flair at the helm of a family film. While the predictable elements of the genre are all here, writer/director Robert Rodriguez (Sin City, Grindhouse, Machete) also brings a rare wild energy and adrenalinised artistry to the multiplex during school holidays.
The fourth installment of Rodriguez's franchise begins with the extremely pregnant Marissa (Jessica Alba) chasing the bad guy just as her contractions begin... A year later, she's a retired spy, settling into domestic life with her husband - a second-rate TV show host - his two kids, and the baby. But the villain of the piece, the evil Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven), is speeding up time, and soon the world will end - a dark lesson to a humanity that only knows how to waste the hours. Cue Marissa and the budding spy kids to save the world in 90 minutes.
Grown-up sibling spy kids Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) - Marissa's niece and nephew - remain on board as support characters, while Danny Trejo returns for literally a nanosecond. Gone is the franchise's biggest name, Antonio Banderas. Originally part of the script, Rodriguez has said he'll bring the Spanish actor back for the fifth film.
While eternal charmer Banderas is missed, this new generation gadget-fest is almost as wonderfully entertaining as the 2001 film that kick-started the series, and franchise newcomer Alba carries the lead well. Her screen husband Joel McHale is on the bland side, but the kids (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook) are fine. Jeremy Piven (Entourage's incomparable Ari Gold) is particularly enjoyable if you're a fan of his TV work, and Ricky Gervais is a scene-stealer as the voice behind Argonaut, the talking robo-dog.
The script could have been stronger but the action and effects are a Rodriguez rollercoaster ride. The only real wrong move is the alleged 4D - meaning you enter the cinema with 3D glasses plus a scratch and sniff card - the extra visual dimension is a treat, but on the olfactory front, it's a failed gimmick (either FILMINK's card was a dud, or they all are).
Yet the film succeeds in the three dimensions that count. Fun rather than funny, it's a good bet for both young and older kids, while adults should enjoy the utterly escapist experience - after all, escapism is one of cinema's greatest offerings.