Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
The final chapter of the Spy Kids trilogy draws to a close in fine form with Dimension Home Video's fantastic two-disc release -- which presents the film not only in the original 3-D format, but offers a great-looking two-dimensional version as well. Presented in 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen, the images in both the 2-D and 3-D versions are near flawless -- and for those who have had nothing but disappointing experiences with home viewings of 3-D movies, prepare to be pleasantly surprised because this may be the best and most effective use of the gimmick on the small screen to date. The film offers a surprising amount of depth and some great moments of high-tech action; Robert Rodriguez's gamble to release the film on 3-D DVD was certainly worth the effort. While former 3-D home video releases were frequently eye-straining affairs that offered little payoff, Spy Kids 3-D goes easy on the optics while dazzling viewers with inventive special effects. For a real kick, follow Rodriguez's advice from the commentary track and check out the 3-D scenes on a high resolution computer monitor -- you'll be surprised at how effective home 3-D can really be. Of course, the 2-D version of the film looks great as well. For those who complained upon initial release that the colors looked somewhat muted in the 3-D sequences, they come through bright and vivid here and almost make the film feel even more like a video game. Few complaints can be made about the strong overall image in either presentation, and the Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtrack also packs a hearty punch with numerous directional effects during the high-speed action sequences. As far as extras go, Rodriguez has never been one to disappoint, and this release is certainly no exception. Beginning with a "Ten Minute Film School With How to Make Cool Home Movies," Rodriguez attempts to inspire creativity in young, aspiring directors by stressing the importance of sound effects and imagination. Alexa Vega fans will find out that the Spy Kid can do more than sleuth when she takes to the stage for an electrifying performance of three songs from the film's soundtrack. The featurette "Big Dink, Little Dink" offers a brief look at actor Bill Paxton's day on the set with his son (who also has a brief cameo in Spy Kids 3). Getting into more technical areas, Rodriguez's feature-length audio commentary track discusses everything from the new 3-D Active Convergence technique utilized in Spy Kids 3 to his support of emerging filmmaking technologies and the creativity that a lack of funds, time, and technology can inspire. A multi-angle "Surfing and Stunts Piece" takes a look at the fun lava surfing sequence and a few other key stunts sequences from storyboard to final realization, and "The Effects of the Game" visually walks viewers through the various special effects as they are assembled to create a convincing video-game world. "An Adventure Into the 3rd Dimension: The Making of Spy Kids 3-D Game Over" offers the usual things that one might expect from a making-of featurette, with interviews with the cast and crew and a brief history of 3-D films. The feature that kids will likely have the most fun with is the "Mega Race" set-top game, which places viewers in the driver's seat for a high octane blast through the film's futuristic race track. Playable in either eye-popping 3-D or plain old, flat 2-D, the race is especially exciting when viewers opt to take it into the third dimension. A real treat for both children and 3-D lovers alike, this release sets a pretty high standard for any future 3-D DVD releases.