Spy Kids (franchise)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Spy Kids
DVD box set of the four films
Created byRobert Rodriguez
Original workSpy Kids (2001)
OwnerTroublemaker Studios
Print publications
Book(s)Spy Kids Adventures series
Films and television
Television seriesSpy Kids: Mission Critical (2018)
  • Spy Kids Challenger (Game Boy Advance)
  • Spy Kids Mega Mission Zone (PC)
  • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (Game Boy Advance and PC)
  • Spy Kids: Learning Adventures series (PC)
  • Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (Nintendo DS)
  • Spy Kids
  • Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams
  • Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over
  • Spy Kids: All the Time in the World

The Spy Kids series is an American spy adventure comedy film series created by Robert Rodriguez. The franchise follows the adventures of Carmen and Juni Cortez, two children who become involved in their parents' espionage. The rest of their family are also spies as well, including their estranged uncle, Machete, and maternal grandparents. The films tend to have a strong Hispanic theme, as Rodriguez is of Mexican descent.[1]


Spy Kids (2001)[edit]

After retiring from espionage for ten years, Gregorio and Ingrid are pulled back into duty for their important assignment despite the fact they were out of practice, and were captured. Their two children, Carmen and Juni (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara), discover the truth of their parents' past, which they had neglected to tell them because they were afraid that if they knew, they would picture danger at every corner; and decide to rescue them. On their first mission, Carmen and Juni manage to bring around their estranged uncle, Isador "Machete" Cortez (Danny Trejo), a genius gadget inventor and Juni helps to redeem Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming). Together, Carmen and Juni thwart the plan of Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub) to develop an army of androids resembling young children for a mastermind named Mr. Lisp (Robert Patrick) and his partner Ms. Gradenko (Teri Hatcher). The robots based on Carmen and Juni became part of Floop's show.

Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams (2002)[edit]

As agents of the OSS, Carmen and Juni face a particularly hard competition with Gary and Gerti Giggles (Matt O'Leary and Emily Osment), the two children of a double-dealing agent Donnagon Giggles (Mike Judge), whom Carmen and Juni helped to rescue them from the first film. Juni gets fired from the OSS after fighting with Gary over a smaller version of the transmooker, a device that can shut off all electronic devices even though it was Gary who started the fight. Juni loses his spot for the best spy kid of the year award, while Donnagon plans to steal the transmooker to take over the world. On their second mission, Carmen and Juni follow the trail to the mysterious island of Liki-Liki which is home to Romero (Steve Buscemi), an eccentric scientist who attempted to create genetically-miniaturised animals, but instead ended up with his island inhabited by mutant monsters. Eventually, Donnagon is fired and Gary is suspended, and the transmooker is destroyed. Juni is offered his job back, but in order to take a break from the OSS, he retires to start his own private eye agency.

Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over (2003)[edit]

After retiring from the OSS, Juni is thrust back into service when an evil mastermind named Sebastian the Toymaker (Sylvester Stallone) creates a fictional video game called Game Over, which hypnotizes its users. Carmen was sent on a mission to disable the game, but disappeared on Level 4. With the help of his maternal grandfather, Valentin Avellan (Ricardo Montalban), who uses a wheelchair, Juni is sent after Carmen and helps her to disable the game in order to save the world. It is revealed that Sebastian was the one who disabled Valentin in the first place. Instead of avenging his former partner, Valentin forgives Sebastian who is redeemed.

Spy Kids: All the Time in the World (2011)[edit]

The OSS has become the world's top spy agency, while the Spy Kids department has become defunct. A retired spy Marissa (Jessica Alba) is thrown back into the action along with her two stepchildren, Rebecca and Cecil (Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook), when a maniacal Timekeeper (Jeremy Piven) attempts to take over the world. In order to save the world, Rebecca and Cecil must team up with Marissa.

Animated series[edit]

On June 16, 2016, Netflix announced an animated Spy Kids television show entitled Spy Kids: Mission Critical with The Weinstein Company.[2] The first and second seasons will both consist of 10 episodes[3] and is produced by Mainframe Studios.[4]

The series was announced by Mike Fleming Jr and created by Michael Hefferon and Sean Jara on May 6, 2015, with the villains being described “as colorful” as the protagonists, and the series is said to contain “as much comedy as wish fulfillment.” FM DeMarco is head writer of the series. WOW! Unlimited Media Inc.'s Vancouver-based Mainframe Studios, the TV division of Rainmaker Entertainment, partnered with the Weinstein Company to produce the series, with the series being described as a "multi season commitment". Robert Rodriguez serves as executive producers due to Bob Weinstein dropping out and Harvey Weinstein getting fired from TWC. It premiered on Netflix worldwide on April 20, 2018.

Cast and characters[edit]

List indicator(s)
  • A dark grey cell indicates the character did not appear.
Characters Films Animated series
Spy Kids Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Spy Kids:
All the Time in the World
Spy Kids:
Mission Critical
2001 2002 2003 2011 2018–present
Carmen Cortez Alexa Vega Alexa Vega Ashley Bornancin
Addisyn Fair
Juni Cortez Daryl Sabara Carter Hastings
Gregorio Cortez Antonio Banderas Antonio Banderas
(deleted scene)
Christian Lanz
Ingrid Cortez Carla Gugino Carla Gugino
(deleted scene)
Mira Sorvino
Isador "Machete" Cortez Danny Trejo
Donnagon Giggles Mike Judge
Fegan Floop Alan Cumming Christian Lanz
Alexander Minion Tony Shalhoub
Felix Gumm Cheech Marin
Gary Giggles Matt O'Leary
Gerti Giggles Emily Osment
Romero Steve Buscemi
Valentin Avellan Ricardo Montalban
Helga Avellan Holland Taylor
Dinky Winks Bill Paxton
Ms. Gradenko Teri Hatcher
Mr. Lisp Robert Patrick
Devlin George Clooney George Clooney
Alexandra Taylor Momsen
The President of the United States Christopher McDonald
The Toymaker Sylvester Stallone
Francesca "Cesca" Giggles Salma Hayek
Demetra Courtney Jines
Arnold Ryan Pinkston
Francis Bobby Edner
Rez Robert Vito
The Guy Elijah Wood
Rebecca Wilson Rowan Blanchard
Cecil Wilson Mason Cook  
Marissa Wilson Jessica Alba
Wilbur Wilson Joel McHale
Danger D'Amo / The Timekeeper / Tick-Tock Jeremy Piven


Crew/detail Films
Spy Kids Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over Spy Kids: All the Time in the World
2001 2002 2003 2011
Director Robert Rodriguez
Producer Robert Rodriguez and Elizabeth Avellan
Writer Robert Rodriguez
Composer Harry Gregson-Williams, Gavin Greenaway, Heitor Pereira, Robert Rodriguez, John Debney, Danny Elfman and Los Lobos Robert Rodriguez and John Debney Robert Rodriguez Robert Rodriguez and Carl Thiel
Editor Robert Rodriguez Dan Zimmerman
Cinematographer Guillermo Navarro Robert Rodriguez Jimmy Lindsey and Robert Rodriguez
Production Company Dimension Films and Troublemaker Studios
Distributor Miramax Films The Weinstein Company
Running time 91 minutes 100 minutes 84 minutes 88 minutes
Release date March 30, 2001 August 7, 2002 July 25, 2003 August 19, 2011
Box office $147.9 million $119.7 million $197 million $85.6 million

Background and production[edit]


Spy Kids was influenced by James Bond films. Director Robert Rodriguez says the first film was "Willy Wonka-meets-James Bond"[5] and the second was the "Mysterious Island and James Bond mix". Technology in the films is portrayed as looking friendly, and a bit cartoonish.

The spy organization featured in the films is called the OSS. The initials seem to have been derived from the Office of Strategic Services, a former American intelligence organization during World War II which later evolved into the CIA. Note there is a character named Donnagon Giggles, after William Joseph Donovan, the director of the real OSS.[6] What the initials stand for in the Spy Kids universe is never specified on screen, but, according to one of the books, they stand for the Organization of Super Spies.


One of the chief themes of Spy Kids is the unity of family. The films also play with the idea of children having adult responsibilities, and how keeping secrets from family members can have a negative effect on relationships. The first film also deals extensively with sibling rivalry and the responsibility of older children. It also has a strong sense of Hispanic heritage.

Technical innovations[edit]

The other films were shot with High Definition digital video,[7] parts of the third film using an anaglyphic process to create the 3-D effects. Audiences were given red/blue glasses with their ticket purchase in movie theatres. Four sets of these glasses were also included in the DVD release. The third film was also used as a test for a special Texas Instruments digital projector which is supposed to be able to project polarized 3D, a process that does not require the red-blue lenses.


Box office[edit]

The first film was a surprise hit, opening with $26.5 million and grossing a total of $112.7 million USD in North America and $35.2 million over-seas. The second film had a disappointing but still strong opening weekend of $16.7 million and a total of $25 million since its Wednesday launch. Overall, it grossed $85.8 million in North America and $33.8 million overseas. The third film opened with a surprising $33.4 million, but didn't quite live up to the first "Spy Kids" total gross. In the end, it grossed $111 million in North America. However, its international gross was double either of the first two "Spy Kids" at $85.3 million. Altogether, the "Spy Kids" trilogy grossed over $450 million worldwide.

Critical reception[edit]

The first film received positive reviews from critics and audiences alike, being the most critically acclaimed film of the series. The sequel, The Island of Lost Dreams, achieved less critical acclaim, but still positive reception. Game Over, the third and final in the original trilogy, received mixed reviews and later on more negative reception. It was heavily criticized for the poor 3D visual effects. The fourth film, All the Time in the World, received the worst reception. It was panned by critics, who criticized the plot, cast, acting, visual effects and the 4D Aroma-Scope effect in the film.

Film Rotten Tomatoes Metacritic CinemaScore
Spy Kids 93% (123 reviews)[8] 71 (27 reviews) A[9]
Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams 75% (129 reviews)[10] 66 (29 reviews) A-[9]
Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over 45% (140 reviews)[11] 57 (30 reviews) B+[9]
Spy Kids: All the Time in the World 22% (56 reviews)[12] 37 (14 reviews) B+[9]

Home media releases[edit]



Isador "Machete" Cortez (played by Danny Trejo) had a series of two spin off movies. However, the Machete films share little in common with the Spy Kids franchise thematically and canonically, instead being action exploitation films and also being an alternate universe to the Spy Kids films.[13] The idea for a Machete film came from a fake trailer promoting the "Grindhouse" double-feature by Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino.


  1. ^ The Walt Disney Company had to cut their own share on the fourth film with The Weinstein Company to 5% after the latter party lost their bid to reclaim Miramax Films.[14]


  1. ^ AFP (October 23, 2013). "'Machete' director Robert Rodriguez doesn't see Oscar future". /gulfnews.com. Retrieved October 4, 2014.
  2. ^ Brian Steinberg (June 16, 2016). "Netflix Readies Animated 'Spy Kids,' 'Llama Llama' Series (EXCLUSIVE)". Varietyaccessdate=July 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "And just like that we are underway on mixing our second season episodes of Spy Kids: Mission Critical #SpyKidsMC18 First up - ep. 3!". November 17, 2017. Retrieved November 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Pinto, Jordan (March 24, 2017). "Wow! Unlimited inks deal with Weinstein Co, Netflix". Playback. Brunico Communications. Retrieved April 17, 2017.
  5. ^ "Interview with Mexican director Robert Rodriguez | Film". The Guardian. 2001-04-11. Retrieved 2018-09-16.
  6. ^ CIA: Look Back … Gen. William J. Donovan Heads Office of Strategic Services
  7. ^ Fred Topel (August 2002). "Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams". Cinefantastique. Vol. 34 no. 5. pp. 46–49. Rodriguez shot SPY KIDS 2 entirely with High Definition digital cameras
  8. ^ Spy Kids Rotten Tomatoes
  9. ^ a b c d https://www.cinemascore.com/publicsearch/index/title/
  10. ^ Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams Rotten Tomatoes
  11. ^ Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over Rotten Tomatoes
  12. ^ Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D Rotten Tomatoes
  13. ^ Rodriguez, Robert (February 2014). "I am director Robert Rodriguez, here again with El Rey. Let's play". Reddit. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  14. ^ "Miramax movies, Harvey and Bob Weinstein, Ron Tutor". NYDailyNews.com. February 3, 2011.