04 August 2007

Rodriguez (2002-2003)

2002 - Spy Kids 2: Island of Lost Dreams - Or, Spy Kids Go To Harryhausen Land. Which ain't a bad idea. As a kid, Mysterious Island was one of my favorite Disney movies. This is sort of the hyperactive, computer-generated version, which I'm sure suits modern kids just fine. The mid-level CGI does not stand-up to Harryhausen's stop-motion work, but it's at least creative. I felt like this one was a tad more violent than the first, probably because it featured kids doing kid-karate on human adults, rather than robot thumb guys. It was good to see Ricardo Montalban kicking some ass again. (7/10)

2002 - Ten Minute Film School: Big Movies Made Cheap - This installment of Ten Minutes takes a peak at the computer effects in Spy Kids 2. Here, Rodriguez applies his El Mariachi shooting philosophy to CGI. No need to make more than one fake rock for a cave wall: just duplicate it in the computer. No need to build a big set: just fake it in the computer. While it's all as practical and frugal as you'd expect from Rodriguez, this Ten Minutes is veering into standard DVD featurette territory. Maybe I'm getting old, but CGI isn't something I see independent filmmakers using a lot. Computer modeling and animation requires an entirely different skill set than regular, old filmmaking. (6/10)

2003 - Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over - I was afraid this one was going be the modern equivalent of Transformers: The Movie: flashy, surfing a sugar high and incomprehensible to adults. It was, but I enjoyed it anyway. I think the 3D aspect helped. Parts were plain exciting to watch wearing those red and blue glasses. My one complaint was that half of the movie was focused entirely on Juni's adventures in the video game. Fortunately, the entire cast of characters developed over the course of the series joined him for the final battle at the end. Also: Sylvester Stallone was hilarious, hamming it up in a quadruple role.

Extra bonus point for 1) casting Bill Paxton 2) having him say "Game over, man! Game over!" (7/10)