Throwback Thursday (Movie) | Spy Kids (2001) PG

This movie brings back all my childhood hopes and dreams, and it’s fantastic.



I haven’t seen Spy Kids in years. I’ve been waiting for it to come to Netflix and was really excited when it finally did. Sitting down and watching it to review, however, I became hyper aware that the film might not be as good as I thought when I was a kid. After years of studying film, I thought I’d no longer enjoy it. I’m so glad I was wrong.

Espionage is a big topic in Hollywood. We have the Mission: Impossible franchise, James Bond, the Bourne series, and more, not to mention the hundreds of stand-alone spy films. All of these are geared toward adults, however. Children are usually overlooked in this market, which is what makes Spy Kids a success, even today.

Spy Kids follows Carmen (Alexa Vega, recently married and changed to Alexa PenaVega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) Cortez (around 13 and 10, respectively), kids who don’t know their parents are secret agents, until their parents are captured on a mission and the kids have to go save them. The story is a lot of fun and is constantly moving. It’s action all the way—easy to follow for kids, but with a hundred things happening at once so adults don’t get bored.

Writer/director Robert Rodriguez created complex characters so each member of your family is bound to find someone to relate to. Carmen is the typical new teenager, full of angst, rebellious, searching for adventure, but deep down she has a large, caring heart. Juni is less sure of himself, insecure, wants to break out and be in charge of his life but does not yet have the means to do it. Even more impressive are parents, Ingrid (Carla Gugino) and Gregorio (Antonio Banderas). Ingrid is completely content with her life as a wife and mother, but is full of unease because she’s losing touch with her children, and senses unhappiness in her husband. Gregorio, while a loving and devoted husband and father, longs for the exciting spy life he has left behind. He doesn’t like being “average”— he knows that he was destined for greatness.

Spy Kids has something for everyone – there’s action, comedy, and hints of romance. The film is very well done, beautifully shot, and even though it’s 14 years old, the special effects don’t look as bad as we usually think they do in older movies. The film is timeless, as it explores family dynamics and drives home the theme of “family first,” whether that family is choice or blood.

I love everything about this film, especially as someone who always wanted to be a spy growing up. This movie brings back all my childhood hopes and dreams, and it’s fantastic. | Samantha LaBat

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