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Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011)
Director: Robert Rodriguez

Eight years after the third film, the OSS has become the world's top spy agency, while the Spy Kids department has since become defunct. A retired spy Marissa is thrown back into the action along with her stepchildren when a maniacal Timekeeper attempts to take over the world. In order to save the world, Rebecca and Cecil must team up with their hated stepmother. Carmen and Juni have since also grown up and will provide gadgets to them.

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World (2011)

Multiple Copies

I‘m aware that many people like to encounter films as a small, unchallenging adventure. That isn’t possible with me, but I have something similar: sometimes a simple film is a relaxed encounter with the filmmaker, a sort of illustrated visit in his home.

I like Rodriguez. I like his joy in image and his independent enthusiasm. I do not ever expect him to produce something that changes my life, like fellow Austinite Malick can. But sometimes you just want to hang out. One thing that is impressive is knowing that he creates his films mostly in his own studio with greenscreen, networked to special effects subcontractors. He must have had to do things that few others do in order for his work to seamlessly integrate with his life.

So, though there is nothing profound about him except his passion, visiting a film can simply relax into that passion. I am particularly hooked on the Spy Kids franchise because the first one had so many inside references to old AI tools and techniques that I assume he worked very closely with someone from that era, perhaps even someone I know. Perhaps it was a side effect from setting up his personal production infrastructure.

But it also because I know he is coming at this as a dad who enjoys his kids and basically wants to share at a cinematic level. That is why, for instance that I tolerate the over top ‘dad message‘ about the importance of spending time with your kids now rather than be absent in a studio. (Yes, that is the basic plot.)

The first film was themed on AI as mentioned. The second on genetics, and the third on a Tron-like game. This one plays — in the most superficial way — with speculations on parallel universes and time joins.

Others will inform about the amazingly bad acting by both pairs of siblings, the really off- beat pacing and the general heavy-handed nature of the thing. But under all that is a genuine human, being genuine and open, inviting us into the world he decorated himself (there’s a joke about that). Where else but with Rose‘s influence will you get a superspy kicking butt first as she goes into labor and later with the baby strapped on her chest. That alone will stick with you.

Posted in 2011

Ted’s Evaluation — 3 of 3: Worth watching.


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