ChildCare Action Project (CAP): Christian Analysis of American Culture


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Entertainment Media Analysis Report
A service to parents and grandparents

Spy Kids (2001), (PG)
CAP Score: 88
CAP Influence Density: 0.22

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ALERT: To fully understand this report you should first visit the topics suggested by the CAP Table of Contents.

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NOTE: If you do not want the plot, ending, or "secrets" of a movie spoiled for you, skip the Summary/Commentary. In any case, be sure to visit the Findings/Scoring section -- it is purely objective and is the heart of the CAP Entertainment Media Analysis Model applied to this movie.


If Scriptural references appear, the full text appears at the end of the Summary / Commentary likely using a mix of KJV and NIV.

SPY KIDS (PG) -- A "hard G" but a G nonetheless.

Comparatively, Spy Kids is a delightful and creative ingenius romp of two kids to rescue their captured parents from the bad guys. I will break with professional ethics and quote Roger Ebert because, for this movie, he is right on target at least in one aspect:
"Movies like Spy Kids are so rare. Families are often reduced to attending scatological dumber-and-dumbest movies like See Spot Run--movies that teach vulgarity as a value. Spy Kids is an intelligent, upbeat, happy movie that is not about the comedy of embarrassment, that does not have anybody rolling around in dog poop, that would rather find out what it can accomplish than what it can get away with. It's a treasure."

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun Times

"...movies that teach vulgarity as a value." If even the secular industry recognizes the teaching properties of vulgar entertainment, why is there so much of it? Because people will consume such entertainment. We will watch it and come back for more. We will suffer vile things before our eyes [Ps. 101:3] to have a couple hours of "escape" from the day-to-day miseries, trials and routine. Too often we do not realize the vulnerability such escapism may create -- vulnerability to reshaping our perceptions and values. And our kids, through no fault of their own, are exceptionally vulnerable because of their lack of experience and the wisdom that comes with experience and from your teachings over time. When we continue to consume the extremes Hollywood creates, they will make more and more. God knew this [Ps. 12:8]. But, hey! What your kids watch is your business. Your management of your family is your responsibility. But I would just ask that you consider all sides and weigh all pros and cons. As God tells us in Hebrews 13:17, it is the parents not the filmmakers who will give an account for the management of the family including its entertainment diet. And if I read the Scriptures right, it will be the father who does the song-and-dance when God calls for an accounting of the family. When God came down for an accounting of the sins of Adam and Eve (the first family), He did not call for Eve [Gen. 3:8-9]. And if that scares some of us dads, it should.

Wow! From what started out as a bright accounting of Spy Kids, I have dragged us into a rather sobering reality. Though not trying to slight the reality, let me try to recapture the brightness of this movie. To start, Spy Kids earned a CAP final score of 88 which makes it equivalent to a G-rated movie of those in our database (100 to 86). A "hard G" but a G nonetheless.

Previously enemies but now married superspies Ingrid and Gregorio Cortez (Carla Gugino and Antonio Banderas) once again, after 10 years of "retirement", burst into sleuthing. But this time they are captured by evil-doer Minion (Tony Shaloub). Minion works for world ruler wannabe Fagan Floop (Alan Cumming) who masquerades as a kids show host. What better way to capture the world than by capturing the minds of children? Sound familiar? Mom and dad are gone! What to do!? The two Cortez kids, Carmen (Alexa Vega) and Juni (Daryl Sabara) are perplexed about what to do about mom and dad. Mentor and protector Uncle Felix (Cheech Marin) and friend Mrs. Gradenlo (Teri Hatcher) propose the kids rescue their parents. And that they do. And a world of antics, gadgetry, and color explode.

Part of Floop's plan to conquer the world is to use kids. He creates an army of robot kids. Only one thing stands in the way -- their brains are, well, empty. An artifact of Gregorio's escapades from yesteryear includes a third brain. The third brain is why Floop was after Gregorio in the first place. The third brain is all Floop needs to power the robot kids. Floop had another interesting army to help him in his plan to conquer the world -- an army of thumbmen. The thumbmen were odd creatures consisting of arms made of thumbs, legs made of thumbs and a head made of a thumb. And yes, they were all thumbs.

While indeed a delightful romp, Spy Kids is rated PG and thus will contain some programming that may at least raise the mom/dad eyebrow -- and should. The MPAA calls it action sequences and brief language. While the action sequences put the kids in positions and activities you would not likely want your kids to emulate, I noted only one use of foul language and it was by Carmen. She mumbled a four -letter word masked, beginning the monosyllabic word but changing the ending letter to change the word at the last instant. Though not a violent movie per se, there are abductions, hair on fire, great falls, and somewhat bizarre fantasy in Spy Kids. A taxi driver cheats the kids out of some of their cash. And the CAP analysis model found some matters of child autonomy possibly dangerous if emulated by your kids and of snippiness toward mom. However, I could find NO sexual improprieties at all. No toilet humor.

In this case, reading the Findings/Scoring section will provide little more that might warrant your concerns. But it follows and I ask you to read it if only to expose you to the link images to the left of it and the seldom-read material that follows.


If needed to focus or fortify, applicable text is underlined or bracketed [ ].
  • Ps. 101:3 I will set before my eyes no vile thing. The deeds of faithless men I hate; they will not cling to me.
  • Ps. 12:8 The wicked freely strut about [e.g., create progressively extreme vulgar and vile entertainment with impunity] when what is vile is honored among men [when enough people continue to willingly consume it].
  • Heb. 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.
  • Gen. 3:8-9 And they heard the voice of the LORD God walking in the garden in the cool of the day: and Adam and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the LORD God amongst the trees of the garden. And the LORD God called unto Adam, and said unto him, Where art thou?

    *******Food for Thought*******
  • 1 Cor. 15:33 (KJV) Be not deceived: evil communications corrupt good manners. (NIV) Do not be misled: Bad company corrupts good character.
  • Jude 4 For certain men* whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are godless men, who change the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. [*men: anthropos {anth'-ro-pos}, generic, a human being, whether male or female]

    As always, it is best to refer to the Findings/Scoring section -- the heart of the CAP analysis model -- for the most complete assessment possible of this movie.

    FINDINGS / SCORING: Spy Kids (2001) CAP Thermometers

    NOTE: Multiple occurrences of each item described below may be likely, definitely when plural.

    Wanton Violence/Crime (W):
  • abductions
  • great falls without hitting bottom
  • somewhat bizarre fantasy
  • taxi driver cheating kids out of money

    Impudence/Hate (I)(1):
  • child arrogance against mom
  • "I wish I could go away to your world."
  • a single masked four-letter word by an adolescent
  • two kids on their own, taking dangerous chances

    Sex/Homosexuality (S):
  • none noted

    Drugs/Alcohol (D):
  • booze

    Offense to God (O)(2):
  • a single use of God's name in vain without the four letter expletive

    Murder/Suicide (M)(3):
  • none noted

    NOTE: The CAP Analysis Model makes no scoring allowances for trumped-up "messages" to excuse or for manufacturing of justification for aberrant behavior or imagery, or for camouflaging such ignominy with "redeeming" programming. Disguising sinful behavior in a theme plot does not excuse the sinful behavior of either the one who is drawing pleasure from the sinful display or the practitioners demonstrating the sinful behavior. This is NOT a movie review service. It is a movie analysis service to parents and grandparents to tell them the truth about movies using the Truth.

    "There are some in the entertainment industry who maintain that 1) violent programming is harmless because no studies exist that prove a connection between violent entertainment and aggressive behavior in children, and 2) young people know that television, movies, and video games are simply fantasy. Unfortunately, they are wrong on both accounts." [Emphasis is mine] And "Viewing violence may lead to real life violence." I aplaud these associations for fortifying 1 Cor. 15:33. Read the rest of the story. From our five-year study, I contend that other aberrant behaviors, attitudes, and expressions can be inserted in place of "violence" in that statement. Our Director - Child Psychology Support, a licensed psychologist and certified school psychologist concurs. For example, "Viewing arrogance against fair authority may lead to your kids defying you in real life." Or "Viewing sex may lead to sex in real life." Likewise and especially with impudence, hate and foul language. I further contend that any positive behavior can be inserted in place of "violence" with the same chance or likelihood of being a behavior template for the observer; of being incorporated into the behavior mechanics and/or coping skills of the observer. In choosing your entertainment, please consider carefully the "rest of the story" and our findings.

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  • (1) As noted in CAP Special Report-001, "Investigation Area and Scoring Trend," of the six CAP Investigation Areas, Impudence/Hate was the strongest presence in all four movie classifications. It has a strong revelation about the entertainment media.

    (2) The use of the three/four letter word vocabulary without God's name in vain is incorporated into the Impudence/Hate Investigation Area. The use of God's name with or without the four letter expletive is incorporated into the Offense to God Investigation Area. There is no duplication.

    (3) Only portrayal of successful murder or suicide are incorporated into Murder/Suicide. Portrayal of attempts to commit murder or suicide and deaths by police action or war are incorporated into Wanton Violence/Crime.

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