Stuntman And Lover Of Cheese

by Dan Bostonweeks

Robert Rodriguez Is the Man

So, I got a call from my friend Doug yesterday. Pixar was having a screening of Spy Kids 3-D: Game Over and he wanted to know if I would like to see it. Of course, since I liked the other two I wanted to see this one. If it’s for free that’s even better. So, I left work early, got over to Pixar, and got into the theater (great theater that it is). Before the movie started John Lasseter introduced Robert Rodriguez (yeah, he was there to watch it with us!). He gave a little run down, explained the 3-D glasses stuff and then kicked off the movie. We watched a digital projection of the film and it was very nice. I like the fact that Rodriguez used HD cameras. The plates were clean and still very film like, but being all digital makes for a cleaner process throughout. At the end of the show Mr. Rodriguez gave a little talk about making the film and showed us the first cut of his “10 Minute Film School” for Spy Kids 3-D. He mentioned that they had a very small green screen stage, but you would never have guessed it from the movie (which takes place largely in a video game). His inventive use of camera and green screen really made it so you didn’t pay attention to the effects, you watched the movie. He also said that being able to work with digital technology really helped. Rodriguez works out of his home and, when not shooting, would work on a night schedule so he could get more work done and still have time with his kids during the day. Simply Amazing. Rodriguez decided to use the anaglyph format (where you have two images that are contrasting colors and the glasses used to view them have filters of left eye red and right eye blue) rather than the more modern polarized filters. His reasoning was that (a) you can get into more theaters because standard projectors can still show the film and (b) as long as you plan for it you can get good colors in the 3-D sections, and darn it if he wasn’t right. I was actually expecting things to be tinted a bit, but they weren’t at all. In fact, Rodriguez did a great job of making a 3-D film that works great, doesn’t hurt the eyes or brain, and is fun. The only odd thing was after the movie was over I had been wearing the glasses long enough that when I closed my right eye I saw out of my left eye with a little blue tint and when I closed my left eye I saw a little red tint from the right eye. It was strange. Overall I liked the movie a lot. Yes, there was some cheese, but the movie made fun of it appropriately and Robert Rodriguez has done a great job of making a series of family friendly films on his own terms. He did say that this is the last of the Spy Kids films, but he’ll be around for a long time to make quality films. I just have to say that Rober Rodriguez is one person to learn lessons on how to be your own boss from (and I idolize him in that way). If you get a chance you should read Rodriguez’s book “Rebel Without A Crew,” which talks about the making of El Mariachi for a scant $7,000 and he being the entire crew. I read it about two years ago and loved it (of course I don’t have it any longer because I gave it to a friend and told him to pass it on when he was done).