Here’s what we know about “Spy Kids 4 : Armageddon” so far : Robert Rodriguez is the film’s writer, director and producer; production begins in July at Rodriguez’s Troublemaker studios; the flick will be shot and consequently released in 3-D; and the film is scheduled for release in August of 2011. And quite frankly, we’ve no real reason – what, after the dire “Spy Kids 3D : Game Over” – to be that excited…. based on that information, anyway, right?
Nothing like a little Starbucks meeting with someone involved in a big-time film to spark a webbie’s interest in something though. This morning, over a way-too-hot skinny decaf latte, I was privy to some information on the upcoming “Spy Kids” film – and I have to admit, by the time I’d licked the froth from the exterior of my paper cup, I was a little more enthusiastic about this “Spy Kids” reboot. Kids, this sounds like it could be as good as the original flick – which, if you don’t recall, was actually a great little family flick (must show it to my daughter sometime). Rodriguez had said recently that he wanted this to look and feel less like the last couple of films in the “Spy Kids” series and more like the first film – practical effects, lots of adventure, some fun characters – and, if it’s cast right, he might just succeed in doing that.
So here’s what I now know :
- If “Predators” is the energized restart of that ugly MF-headlined series, then “Spy Kids : Armageddon” sounds like it’ll breathe new life into the “Spy Kids” series – both of those flicks, by the sounds, been conceived with a lot of TLC and imagination. Gotta love Rodriguez. “Predators” and “Spy Kids” could serve as either sequels or spin-off’s, because they’re set after the previous films in their respective series, and feature characters from those earlier movies – though in “Spy Kids :Armageddon’s” place, you’ll only see the original characters (as opposed to ‘The Predator’ in Rodriguez’s “Predators” reboot, who is present for that thing’s entire duration) quite briefly.
- “Armageddon” is, as per the ‘reboot’ tag, an entirely new adventure with an entirely new cast of characters – though one of the original cast members (see below) has a pretty pivotal role in the flick.
- The ‘Spy Kids’ in the new film are seemingly a little bit younger than the pint-sized adventurers in the previous films – but I guess that’s only noticeable because both Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara were well and truly beyond puberty when “Spy Kids 3-D : Game Over” hit theaters, and they don’t want these two tykes growing up quite so fast… especially if Rodriguez is envisioning a couple more sequels.
- The villain is a chap named ‘The Time Keeper’. The ‘Time Keeper’, considered by many to be either completely crazy or the most dangerous super villain ever to surface, gets around wearing a strange looking mask with a Clock on it.
- The main duo, er, ‘Spy Kids’, this time are twin siblings Rebecca and Cecil Wilson. They’re apparently described in the casting breakdowns as “the world’s most competitive ten-year-old’s”.
- Ex-Spy Kid Carmen, played by Alexa Vega in the previous three films, is the new “boss” (George Clooney played the ‘boss’ in the other films). She contacts Rebecca and Cecil via her wrist com to let them know – much to their surprise – that they’ve been “activated”.
- ‘Uncle Machete’, played once again by Danny Trejo, appears briefly.
- Rebecca, who is aged somewhere between 9 and 12, is a clever little cookie who takes pride in the fact that she is “30-seconds older” than her brother. As Rebecca teases in one scene, “I beat you silly at the first game we EVER played : ESCAPE THE WOMB… Your 30-seconds younger… which makes you my little brother. FOREVER!”
- Cecil, who as I mentioned is the same age (well, 30-seconds younger) as Rebecca, is the light relief of both the family – and the film. He’s just as competitive as Rebecca, but rather than trying to outmsart his stepmother, like his sister does, he spends his time working on anagrams. Cecil wears hearing aids, but it doesn’t seem to worry him, in fact he uses them to his advantage, especially when his sister starts yammering on about how awful their not-so-awful stepmother is.
- Jessica Wilson is Rebecca and Cecil’s new step-mother (and, of course, she’s a former agent). Rebecca’s not exactly supportive of her father’s new partner, and “utilizes her ingenious skills as a prankster to thwart her stepmother every step of the way”. Cecil’s a little less hard on Jessica, frequently asking his sis to cut her a break. Ultimately, Jessica and Rebecca have to put their differences aside when they’re both called up for active-duty.
- Wilbur Wilson is Rebecca and Cecil’s father. He hosts a show called “Wilbur Wilson : Spy Hunter” in which he attempts to track down shadowy crime figures. Wilbur’s currently trying to get an interview with the legendary ‘Time Keeper’. Just as the original Spy Kids thought their dad was a boring sack of sap who had a fairly breezy job, Rebecca and Cecil will get a bit of a surprise later on in the movie.
- They’re are as much laughs as they’re are action/adventure sequences.
By-and-large, the film sounds like it could be quite good – and I’m not surprised, Rodriguez barely makes a wrong move these days. If Hollywood’s insistent on rebooting and sequelizing a lot of their past money-makers, which they seem to be, they could probably do themselves (and us) a favour by asking the Troublemaker guys to get involved…. they don’t seem to own a xerox machine over there in Texas.