The first Spy Kids movie was released 15 years ago today on 30th March 2001.
A film that spawned three equally surreal sequels (it’s really hard to forget the antics that went on in the classic gem we all know as Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over), this bizarre yet enjoyable flick is a film that many people can be forgiven for forgetting that yes, it was actually released in 2001, just after the turn of the millennium.
Directed by Robert Rodriguez, this flick is certainly different to others in his oeurvre, due to its kid-friendly tone, as it tells the story of two top spies (Antonio Banderas and Carla Gugino) who set off on another mission after spending ten years to settle down and raise a family. When they are captured, it’s up to their children, Carmen and Juni (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) to save them.
When addressing the ‘kid-friendly’ tone of the film, there is a remarkably disturbing element of body horror in the bright, strange alien-looking characters which are lead by the equally strange, but redemptive TV host known as Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). It’s obvious that kids are not sensitive to every single thing, but I can certainly say that from my perspective, such horrific body transformation, which was inflicted on people for a kids’ entertainment show, was honestly a terrifying experience for me at the time. But what’s important to understand from this family feature is that it remained to be something for everyone. Sure, it’s weird seeing a bunch of a TV show henchman be made up of walking thumbs, but that’s all just part of the film.
Its combination of unique visuals and an amusingly colourful set of characters helped it stand out on a wonderfully surreal level. It produces great nostalgia, when we remember the simple goofiness we viewed as children whilst still being able to experience what was indeed a genuinely cool plot of seeing two ordinary kids becoming acquainted with the spy lifestyle.
Remind yourself of Spy Kids in the trailer below.