Blu-ray Review: Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World

Spy Kids 4 Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Weinstein Company/Anchor Bay | DIRECTOR: Robert Rodriguez | CAST: Jessica Alba, Jeremy Piven, Ricky Gervais, Alexa Vega, Danny Trejo, Joel McHale
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 11/22/2011 | PRICE: DVD $29.98, Blu-ray/DVD Combo with 3D $39.99
BONUSES: interview, deleted scenes, featurette
SPECS: PG | 88 min. | Children’s adventure | 1.78:1 aspect ratio | 5.1 DTS-HD audio | Spanish subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the WorldRobert Rodriguez (The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl) has always maintained that his Spy Kids franchise is made for kids, and Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World makes that very obvious. Like the movies before it, Spy Kids 4 has plenty of action, but the film isn’t so much a family affair. It’s strictly a children’s adventure and it’s potty jokes and weak humor will get tiresome quickly for older kids and parents.

This time around, the spying is in a new family. Jessica Alba (An Invisible Sign) plays Marissa Wilson, a former spy who’s now got a husband (Joel McHale, TV’s Community), two step-children (Rowen Blanchard and Mason Cook) and a baby of her own — all of whom think she used to be an interior designer. When her old nemesis Time Keeper shows up, her secret is revealed and she has to go back to work. But this time she has help — you guessed it, by Blanchard and Cook. Even the baby gets some spy action. Previous spy kids Alexa Vega (Broken Hill) and Daryl Sabara (Machete) make brief appearances to reinforce the film’s theme that family’s should stick together.

The story is simple and the movie’s effects are good, but the acting leaves a lot to be desired. And I’m not talking about the newcomer kids. Blanchard and Cook are perhaps the best parts of this film. Although, Ricky Gervais (British The Office) is pretty good as the voice of the robot dog Argonaut. But Alba, McHale, Jeremy Piven (TV’s Entourage) and Vega and Sabara overact terribly.

They don’t get much help from Rodriguez’s script, which is cringe-worthy in many places. Kids will forgive these, though, and enjoy seeing other children running around beating the bad guys.

The movie looks incredible in high-definition. Rodriguez uses plenty of color, and it’s all nicely saturated in the video, like Blanchard’s pink laser whip and the glowing blue time tunnel. The sound is equally clear, but the soundtrack is not as impressive.

The Blu-ray package is stuffed with goodies. A four-disc combo, it comes with the movie on Blu-ray, DVD and Blu-ray 3D as well as a digital copy downloadable onto a computer or portable players.

Plus, there are loads of bonus features. Again, these are geared toward children, but they’re not too Saturday-morning-TV-ish. Kids will most enjoy the video diary by Blanchard and Cook, who take viewers behind the scenes of the movie, to makeup and hair (we learn that Cook’s hair is actually light, so he had to get it dyed every three weeks), costumes (and laundry) and various others. The footage is mixed with interviews of the young actors saying how much they enjoyed working on the film, natch, and now older actors Vega and Sabara, who say they can’t believe how little the new spy kids are, even though they were the same in the first movie.

Gervais has fun telling the audience how he got into his role in the “How to Build a Robot Dog” featurette. Apparently his research included sleeping in a basket. And we see the adorable Elmo who acted as Argonaut. Cook tells us Elmo was a rescue dog and that it’s pretty incredible to go from being in the pound to being a famous dog star. We agree.

Rodriquez is interviewed by a young reporter in one section, which looks like it was a promo for the film rather than made for this Blu-ray. He’s a bit stiff, but, again, kids will have fun seeing one of their own asking questions of the movie’s director.

Other featurettes look at the gadgets in the movie, and the Blu-ray has a collection of deleted scenes.

Buy or Rent Spy Kids: All the Time In the World
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.