I am a fan of the Spy Kids franchise, there is no shame in admitting that. Even that crazy CGI orgy of mangled ideas that was Spy Kids 3(D) had a certain amount of enjoyment during its run time. One of the trademark elements of the Spy Kids films, and honestly any Robert Rodriquez film, is the music.
Rodriquez usually plays a very active role in the sound of his films, and the newest adventure of the extended Cortez family is no different. Written with Carl Thiel, the score for the fourth Spy Kids feature retains much of the same sound of the franchise predecessors. The music is a fun mix of sexy spy action, trademark Rodriquez guitars and a bubbly sheen that works perfect for this brand of kid movie.
Evoking many of the same tones as the previous Rodriquez kiddie films, this score generally works a collection of themes and action beats for general children consumption.
There is a lot to like about the music on this album, and sight unseen from the context of the film the music has wonderful pace. I find myself going to listen to one track and looking up a little later three or four tracks down the list. There is an infectious quality to the music in this movie, it has all of the bubble gum charm one comes to expect from one of these films.
I particularly appreciate a strong appreciation for specific themes that this soundtrack seems to have. There are themes for almost everyone in this release, and that is exactly how to appeal to younger kids. Broad strokes that are easily identifiable, yet strong on their own.
Well not all of the themes are strong, in fact several of them are quite boring. This is indicative of the biggest problem this score has, it is just to dame repetitive.
While is is awesome to hear a subtle evolution of theme and sound from album to album, for a film soundtrack the luxury of letting the music define itself is lost. Every track carries with it the weight of a scene from the movie, and I don’t say this as someone who has seen the movie, I say this because the broad strokes of this score fit perfectly with the notion that every scene from the movie is likely heavily punctuated by the obvious beats that are laid out for us.
Three Favorite Tracks:
Spy Mom By Carl Thiel & Robert Rodriguez – This is the opening track for the score and it does a wonderful job reminding the audience what a Spy Kids movie sounds like, as well as giving the music a coherent connection to the rest album. It has all the fun hallmarks of a Robert Rodriquez movie and sets the table perfectly for a Spy Kids adventure. It is likely that this music is the opening of the film and punctuates an action scene with the “spy mom” Jessica Alba. The music does a great job of getting you ready for whats to come.
Hammer Hands By Carl Thiel & Robert Rodriguez – One of the things that often gets forgotten about the first Spy Kids movie is that Danny Elfman wrote music and songs for the films. The general sound scape of the films fits so well with the style of Rodriquez that is becomes hard to pinpoint the classic Elfman music that exists in the franchise’s past. This track does a brilliant job of evoking the very ‘Elfmanian’ style of the original film. In fact, it honestly sounds like a sound track piece right out of Elfman’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Times Up By Carl Thiel & Robert Rodriguez – I’m going to take a huge leap here and assume this music is the climactic end battle music. This is some of the best action music on the album, and it builds up to a particularly stirring climax that undoubtedly represents the end of the villiany from the picture. One of the biggest flaws this soundtrack has is it’s inability to find a core, film specific sound, but it is this climactic track that gets the closest to developing something uniuqe. Don’t get me wrong, it is still pretty standard action movie music with emotional climax, but it is damn good standard music and climax!
Least Favorite Track:
O.S.S. By Carl Thiel & Robert Rodriguez – What a missed opportunity this track is. On an album that has so many themes, both unique and those slightly altered by the films needs, the O.S.S. should have one of the better general tracks. Instead you get a nice intro that just sort of fades away into what some of the most standard sounding musical cues I have ever heard.
In all, the music for this movie is solid, but the soundtrack lacks a certain something that would ensure a well rounded listening experience. Although for what it lacks in definition is does make up for it in terms of quality tracks.
Total Score for Spy Kids: All the Time in the World:
3 out of 5