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Spy Kids: review by David Richards

"Spy Kids" has a lot to offer. The young movie-goers will be in awe of its gadgets and gizmos, while the adult members of the audience, I suspect, will appreciate the special effects and the action sequences. It's a family film, mixed with the realm of fantasy.
   I remember growing up on similar films, such as Walt Disney's "Flight of the Navigator" and "D.A.R.Y.L." The special effects weren't as good as in "Spy Kids," but the entertainment value was the same.
   The film was written and directed by Robert Rodriguez, an established filmmaker (Desperado, Four Rooms), but one who is most known for his R-rated action films. With "Spy Kids," Rodriguez proves that his skills aren't limited.
   The adventure begins with the story of two spies, one from one country and one from another. The two, we learn, fall in love and decide to give up the danger, settle down and turn to parenthood. Played by Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino, the two spies take nine years off from the excitement, then decide to get back into it when several fellow spies have disappeared.
   While the movie begins with the story of the parents, the focus is mainly on their two children, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara). The two kids discover their parents have been kidnapped by a television host named Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming) and decide to take on the roles as spies to save them.
   Floop is in search of the third brain, a device which would give intelligence to his army of child robots, ones that resemble the children of world leaders. Carmen and Juni's father invented the third brain and Floop believes that it is his key to taking over the world.
   There's more to Floop, though, as we learn that the colorful characters in his television show are actually mutated spies, a fate which he also plans for Juni and Carmen's parents.
   Juni and Carmen are the only hope to outsmarting Floop and his army of robots and mutations.
   "Spy Kids" works on several levels. The story is entertaining and keeps us interested, while the effects are creative and fascinating to watch.
   On the flip-side, I found Floop's television show to be rather disturbing, which plays out a lot like a demented version of the teletubbies. And some scenes may be actually too violent for young children, although there isn't a lot of it.
   Even though it's not flawless, "Spy Kids" does what it's intended to do. It takes us away from the fast paces of life and brings up into the surrounding of make believe. If I had to live my childhood over again, I wouldn't mind entering the world of Floop as a spy, taking on the bad guys.