Thursday, July 19, 2007

Movie Review: Alex Rider, Operation Stormbreaker

Where did this movie come from? Why didn't I hear more about it when it came out in theaters? This was one of the best kids' action movies I've seen in a long time! Imagine James Bond before puberty (or just after, but before all the girlie stuff). James Bond minus all the hormones--that's what you have in Alex Rider. Alex Rider, Operation Stormbreaker is all the things boys love--action, danger, gadgets, bad guys, and skulking around trying not to be noticed. It's also got some things parents love . . . or rather, it's missing some things parents dislike--immodesty (or anything "romantic", for that matter), cursing (I didn't notice any, and neither did the boys), excessive violence, disrespect for adults (except the bad guy, of course!).

Alex Rider is thrust into spy work after his uncle dies and he discovers he has actually been groomed especially for the business. He is a reluctant hero, but a hero indeed. He carries cool gadgets to help him with his spying (but nothing lethal, interestingly enough). While there IS a girl, it is nothing overtly romantic, and she is called upon to help Alex in the final chase scene. Yes, there is some shooting, and yes, there are one or two deaths, but the deaths are cartoonish or implied (not shown), and the shooting never seems to actually hit its target. I never saw any blood.

This movie is based on the first in a series of books by Anthony Horowitz. While I did find at least one book listed at the library that sounded like it had supernatural undertones, I didn't see any of that in the movie. We've placed the first two books on hold so I'll let you know how they are once I read the first one.

This is definitely a movie worth seeing, especially if you have a boy. Just be prepared for them to pull out all the spy gadgets and dark clothing, and to hit and kick things (maybe each other?) a lot for a few days. (Are we the only ones who dress according to the latest movies we've seen?) It'd be perfect around my house if they'd talk with the Brittish accent Alex Rider has . . . . almost like living with a cleaned-up version of James Bond.

Update: I read the book and loved it. There is one minor cuss word in it, a British one (bli**y), and LOTS of action violence. But . . . one of the things I really liked is that Alex is not even expected to carry a gun. He's trained to handle all those kinds of circumstances, but the adults in charge don't feel right about him having a gun. Cool. The only thing that kind of bothered me is that Alex is a spy under duress (he's blackmailed), and he doesn't really want to be one. Horowitz stresses that while spies used to work from patriotism or loyalty, now they are mostly just used. While it bothers me, it is, I think, an accurate picture of our times. "Operation Stormrider" was very true to the Stormrider book.

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