'Spy Kids' Is, Far And Away, One Of The Most Unsettling Kids Movies Ever Made
Photo: user uploaded image

'Spy Kids' Is, Far And Away, One Of The Most Unsettling Kids Movies Ever Made

2001’s Spy Kids marks a truly unnerving entry in the world of children’s entertainment. Spy Kids boasts ridiculous action, a lack of sentimentality, and a plot that's, to put it mildly, bonkers.

Directed by Robert Rodriguez, the man behind Desperado and Sin City, the film's stuffed to the brim with monstrously terrifying characters. And the movie focuses on themes that feel slightly more adult than what you'd expect from a children’s film. This isn’t to say Spy Kids is bad. It moves at a pace other kids’ entertainment should emulate, and the film is inherently likable thanks to its off-the-wall visuals. But it's definitely weird.

  • 'Floop's Fooglies' Are Monstrously Altered Humans

    'Floop's Fooglies' Are Monstrously Altered Humans
    Photo: Miramax

    In the universe of Spy Kids, Floop's Fooglies is an incredibly popular children's program starring Fegan Floop (Alan Cumming), an evil combination of Willy Wonka and Steve from Blue's Clues. On the show, Floop delivers positive reinforcement to kids while his Fooglies slide around on rainbows. 

    The Fooglies are horrific, nightmare creations sure to make a viewer's stomach turn. Of course, they're even more terrifying when it's revealed they were once human beings who Floop altered and engineered to fit his aesthetic purposes.

  • The Core Conflict Is An Existential Quagmire

    The Core Conflict Is An Existential Quagmire
    Photo: Miramax

    The core conflict of Spy Kids revolves around the battle between artificial and biological intelligence, which culminates in the children fighting dark mirrors of themselves. The two original siblings battle versions of themselves created to be technically perfect, and they only succeed by becoming imperfect. 

    This is all a bit too philosophical for kids. Especially since this is a children's movie that features a crayon made of acid which can cut metal bars in half. 

  • The Kids' Parents Have Been Lying To Them For Years

    The Kids' Parents Have Been Lying To Them For Years
    Photo: Miramax

    At the end of the first act of the film, the children learn their parents are not only spies, but they're missing and likely dead. The parents survive, but, for most of the film, the Spy Kids operate under the assumption that their parents passed away and they never really knew them. 

    Aside from being raised by people who thought it was okay to lie to their children for a decade, they're also ultimately frail, fallible human beings. Everyone wants their parents to be superheroes, but, in this instance, they're superheroes who can't do their jobs correctly.

  • Machete Actually Exists In This Universe

    Machete Actually Exists In This Universe
    Photo: Miramax

    A major plot point in the film involves Machete (Danny Trejo) helping the Spy Kids save the day with his inventions. Yes, this is the same character from the Machete franchise. Seeing as Machete's other adventures on the silver screen were extremely R-rated, Trejo's character presumably spent the rest of his offscreen time brutally murdering his enemies. 


  • The Cortez Parents Seem To Hate Their Lives

    The Cortez Parents Seem To Hate Their Lives
    Photo: Miramax

    Gregorio (Antonio Banderas) and Ingrid Cortez (Carla Gugino), the spy parents, seem to absolutely hate their lives. Before getting married, these two jet-set across the world and lived an exciting life. After their machine-gun wedding, they settle down, stop spying, and become consultants. 

    The couple no longer lives the life they loved. They barely speak, and the moment a mission is offered to them, they take it. Keep in mind, everyone else who's gone on this mission wound up dead. Seems like an odd thing to agree to if they're truly content with their lives. 

  • The Whole Design Is Unbelievably Weird

    The Whole Design Is Unbelievably Weird
    Photo: Miramax

    The design of Spy Kids remains exceptionally weird. It's hard to know where to begin with dissecting its visual aesthetic. The interior sets are practical and painted different shades of orange and brown, while the world of Floop is a green-screen hellscape.

    And it's not just the sets that are unsettling in Spy Kids - the character designs are equally as off-putting. The Thumb-Thumbs are disgusting, and after Alexander Minion (Tony Shalhoub) is "Flooped," he mutates and sprouts additional heads and hands.