Movie Review: ‘Spy Kids 4’ introduces scratch-and-sniff


Jessica Spy Kids 4: All the Time in the World Movie Poster, dimension films

By Kiana Kamalu, Op-Ed editor

Director Robert Rodriguez strikes again with his fourth movie in the Spy Kids series: Spy Kids: All the Time in the World in 4D. With the previous Spy Kids movies, the cool gadgets, and Jessica Alba as one of the leads, one would think this movie would have a fighting chance, but sadly, this is not the case.

Spy Kids was a cliché from the moment the beginning credits flashed on screen. The script was full of cheesy lines, and the unconvincing actors were…well…unconvincing. Their lines felt forced and scripted.

Not even the actors from the original movies (Alexa Vega and Daryl Sabara) or the cute new leading characters Rebecca and Cecil Wilson, played by Rowan Blanchard and Mason Cook, could save the poorly written script.

I was curious as to what the 4-D part of the movie was, but was disappointed to learn it was just a gimmick. There are no vibrating chairs, squirting water, or anything akin to those as some would think.

Instead, the four-dimensional aspect was a scratch-and-sniff card called an Aroma-Scope.

There are eight numbers on a card, and when those numbers appear on-screen, you rub the number and sniff the card to “experience” the smells in the movie. I found this distracted from the movie and ended up placing mine in my cup holder. Some of the smells did not even work.

The graphics in Spy Kids 4 were just as bad as the rest of the film. Everything looked green-screened. Although the video game look worked for Spy Kids 3D: Game Over (since it was a video game), it did not do this film justice.

Personally, I thought Spy Kids and Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams had better graphics, and those movies were filmed 10 years ago.

In general, this movie did not score well on my scale, though there were a lot of entertaining moments with the stepdaughter’s pranks and the amusing comments from the robotic dog, Argonaut. Even the baby had its moments.

Even if my experience with this movie was not the best, I am sure there are children under 7 somewhere who would be ecstatic to see it.

I hope this will be the last of the Spy Kids movies, for good. I give it two scratches and a disdainful sniff.