Australian Council on Children and the Media

Spy Kids: All the time in the world

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Not recommended under 8, PG to 13 (Violence; Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for Spy Kids: All the time in the world
  • a review of Spy Kids: All the time in the world completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 12 September 2011.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 8 Not recommended due to violence and scary scenes.
Children aged 8-13 Parental guidance recommended due to violence and scary scenes

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: Spy Kids: All the time in the world
Classification: PG
Consumer advice lines: Mild crude humour and violence
Length 89 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

The fourth film in the Spy Kids series revolves around Marissa Wilson (Jessica Alba), a former O.S.S. (Office of Strategic Services) spy, and her life since leaving this American intelligence agency.  For the past few years, Marissa has spent most of her time caring for her baby daughter (Belle Solorzano), alongside the older Rebecca (Rowan Blanchard) and Cecil (Mason Cook), who are children from her husband Wilbur’s (Joel McHale) previous marriage.  Despite every effort on Marissa’s part, Rebecca frequently reminds her that she will never measure up to her dead biological mother.

Marissa’s life changes when she is unexpectedly called back to work as a spy.  Danger D’Amo (Jeremy Piven), who is head of the O.S.S., asks her to find and stop the evil genius known as “The Timekeeper” (also played by Jeremy Piven).  This villain and his protégé “Tick Tock” are plotting to bring about an Armageddon, or end of the world by altering the passage of time.  On returning to the O.S.S., Marissa is reacquainted with original Spy Kids operatives Carmen Cortez (Alexa Vega) and her brother Juni (Daryl Sabara).

At first, Marissa hopes to keep her O.S.S. involvement secret from her family, who have no idea about her past life as a spy.  Unfortunately, Marissa’s mission becomes more complicated when The Timekeeper’s henchmen threaten Rebecca and Cecil.  Marissa is then forced to reveal her real identity to the children, and finally, to her husband.  As events move towards a final battle, the entire family (including their dog, Argonaut (voiced by Ricky Gervais) is drawn into her quest to stop The Timekeeper.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Family relationship problems; espionage; Armageddon

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is repeated physical violence in this movie, some of which is both directed at, and perpetrated by children, including scenes where:

  • Men dressed in combat gear and carrying large weapons chase, surround and threaten Rebecca and Cecil.  Such scenes occur frequently throughout the film;
  • Fights between Rebecca and Cecil involve punching and slapping
  • Rebecca uses a laser-like whip to slash at Timekeeper henchmen.  She knocks several over, while others are caught up in the end of the whip and jerked metres into the air;
  • Cecil punches several Timekeeper henchmen unconscious whilst wearing “spy gloves”;
  • Cecil throws a bag of vomit at Timekeeper henchmen during a mid-air chase.  This results in one man slamming head first into a large metal pole and falling, apparently to his death;
  • Both Carmen and Wilbur punch a number of Timekeeper henchmen
  • The spy baby knocks one of The Timekeeper’s henchmen unconscious by throwing him over her head in a martial arts-style move.

Some potentially disturbing examples of violence are perpetrated by Marissa both when she is in the final stage of her pregnancy and when her baby daughter is strapped to her chest in a baby carry pack.  In the film’s opening scenes, for example, Marissa is depicted beginning labour contractions, and is then involved in a series of fight sequences with The Timekeeper’s henchmen. Later, Marissa faces a similar circle of henchmen while the baby is strapped to her chest. 

There is also some verbal violence and verbal descriptions of violence in the film, such as when:

  • Rebecca argues with and insults Marissa
  • Carmen and Juni argue heatedly
  • Cecil relates an incidence of bullying at his school.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there are several scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including:

  • Tick Tock almost always appears with infra-red goggles over his eyes, and despite his large, masculine frame, speaks with a woman’s voice
  • The Timekeeper’s head is not human, but rather, appears as a distorted mantle clock.  He speaks in a low, menacing growl. Later, The Timekeeper rips off his mantle-clock head to reveal his true identity
  • The Timekeeper stands on a time-machine platform and then disappears in a haze of smoke.  Seconds later he reappears in another burst of smoke, but this time he is an old man
  • The Timekeeper’s henchmen are often depicted bursting into rooms with their combat gear on and infra-read goggles covering their eyes, which gives them a non-human appearance
  • Repeated scenes depict giant spinning cogs, which slice through the air past various characters
  • Argonaut the dog suddenly begins speaking, which is intended to be a little startling to viewers
  • Cecil pulls off one of Argonaut’s paws, to reveal a bionic-style stump. Later, Argonaut appears to be cut into several pieces, but then almost magically reassembles himself.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes and scary visual images, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged five to eight, including the following:

  • Marissa, Carmen and Juni begin sinking in a form of quick sand
  • Rebecca and Cecil are transported in high-speed flying capsules, which dart at great height between buildings
  • Rebecca and Cecil stand on a time-machine-like platform, which shakes them about violently and surrounds them with coloured clouds of dust and atomic particles
  • Rebecca and Cecil become frozen in time, which means that they are temporarily paralysed.  Later, many other characters are similarly frozen in time
  • Rebecca and Cecil stand on a platform that unexpectedly drops hundreds of metres, and it appears that they may die.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, there is at least one scene in this movie that could scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen, wherein:

  • A disembodied computerised voice is heard, telling the children to go and hide in the “Panic Room”

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

There are no further scenes in this movie that are likely to scare or disturb children over the age of thirteen.

Product placement

Some products are displayed or used in this movie, including:

Apple computers;

Mercedes Benz cars; and

The Youtube website.

In addition, there are verbal references to musician M.C. Hammer, prior Spy Kids films, and James Bond movies.  There are also many musical references to James Bond films.

Sexual references

There are some mild sexual references in this movie including: 

  • Argonaut the dog says suggestively to Carmen Cortez (when seeing her again for the first time in several years), “well, hel-lo!  You are bigger now”.

Nudity and sexual activity

There are no direct depictions of nudity in this film, however Marissa and Carmen are both frequently shown in very tight, figure-hugging clothing.

There are no direct depictions of sexual activity in this movie, however there are some scenes where Marissa and Wilbur kiss and cuddle.  At the close of the film, they share a long, passionate kiss.

Use of substances

None of concern

Coarse language

There is some mild coarse and threatening language, and several put-downs in this film, including:

  • “Jeez”; “Oh my God”;
  • “Shi-take mushrooms”;
  • “Butt head”;
  • “Goon”;
  • “Bobble-head”;
  •  “Monster”;
  • “Annoying kids”; “Dumb kids”; “Ankle-biters”; in addition to “Kiddo” and “Baby” (both said as an insult);

In addition, there are several jokes involving urine, poo, farting, and vomit.

In a nutshell

Spy Kids: All the time in the world is a fast-paced children’s science fiction action film that utilises a range of clever special effects.  Its predominant message concerns the importance of restoring damaged family relationships while there is still time to do so.  There is also an emphasis upon reassessing life and work commitments in order to ensure that enough time is spent with loved ones.  However, such positive themes are somewhat disempowered by the continual displays of violence, which produce an equally strong message that conflict is best resolved through aggression and force.

Values in this movie that parents may wish to reinforce with their children include:

  • working together to achieve shared goals
  • honesty
  • patience
  • courage.

This movie could also give parents the opportunity to discuss the negative outcomes of violence and alternative forms of conflict resolution.

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