SPY KIDS 3D Well Worth the Headache

From: "Rev. Ivan Stang" <stang@subgenius.com>
Date: Wed, Aug 13, 2003

When, for our first "movie out" in months, given the choice of the
dozen summer blockbusters at our nearby multiplex, how could we pick

A GREAT CHOICE! Best movie I've seen in a theater this year, that I can
remember. The only other ones were probably Matrix Reloaded and Spy
Kids 2.

I just about barfed at least 5 times, due to the spectacularly
vertigo-inducing uses to which they put the combo of 3D and computer

I have to admit that I am partial to Robert Rodriguez as a director,
for reasons that have little to do with the quality of his movies. He
is one of those BORN FILMMAKERS who has specific ideas about how to do
EVERY LAST DETAIL of his wacky project, and the skills to at least
rough them into shape. It's his story, his art design, his music even;
he edits and animates. (He also hires a jillion helpers.) The great
Saint Mike Jittlov was like this and so was I. (Mike and I however did
not make the Hollywood cut. Mike and I are both kind of weird. Granted,
the invention of videotape may have eased things a bit for the young
auteur.) My heroes Ray Harryhausen, Palmer Rockey, Ed Wood and Orson
Welles likewise had unusually hands-on approaches to every aspect of
their movies.

The fact that Rodriguez's quirky talent is devoted mostly to children's
films lately suits me just fine. The Spy Kids movies are always full of
the COOLEST monsters, robots, weapons, vehicles and alien landscapes.
They are heartily tongue-in-cheek, and ver self-referential, because
they take place in an enclosed Rodriguez universe that he probably
dreamed up first as a child, and later pumped up full blast after he
had his own kids and some Hollywood backing. I underwent a similar
Return to Monster Island when I became a dad. (And GOD, the TOYS and
MONSTER MOVIES had become so much BETTER! And the monster situation has
only improved for the young monster-fan moms and dads of today.)

75% of this movie's look consists of the actors, and constantly-moving
cameras, performing before a bluescreen (green screen actually these
days), which was then replaced by a completely artificial and cartoony
computer-generated world, with pretty astounding motion-matching.

And DISTANCE-matching. What makes this different is the 3D, which has
to work with the same apparent relative distances for the real
full-scale actors and for their virtual environment. And indeed
sometimes the characters appear to be floating just a wee bit over the
surface they're walking on. But rarely. Generally, the two are married
closely enough for bedazzlement.

Rodriguez eploits 3D to the very hilt. The "camera" is frequently
plunged into the midst of gloopy floating particle-animations, morphing
splattery shapes, and shifting textures, nifty looking psychedelia to
begin with, but with added brain-addlement due to the 3D.

The 3D works with the age-old red-and-blue glasses technique, and I'm
afraid it hasn't really changed since the 50s. It DOES WORK, but
there's always a slight souble image, the colors are flat and dim, and
it will probably give you a headache by the end.

Wisely, the film is set up so that you (and the characters) are
relieved of the need for the special glasses during plot breaks that
take place in the plain technicolor real-world, instead of the 3D
"virtual game world".

When the 3D kicks in, though, it is not wasted, especially in the
TRON-like racing and chasing scenes, which had Princess Wei and me
holding onto each other for dear life.

This WOULD be a GREAT movie to attend with the date who hasn't grown up
and isn't trying to be "cool."

If you aren't the kind of person who keeps toy monsters on your desk
and dashboard, you might not like SPY KIDS. It IS kid stuff. I would
recommend it to most of my friends.

My house is strewn with colorful toy dinosaurs and an autographed
picture of Ray Harryhausen. The sf book I'm currently reading is Greg
Bear's "Dinosaur Summer," a sequel to Arthur Conan Doyle's "The Lost
World", which takes place in 1947 and includes as characters the young
Ray Harryhausen and the old Willis O'Brien. You better believe I was in
absolute HOG HEAVEN watching this crazy, Mexicanized, half-home-made
children's film. But so was Princess Wei, and she was never a little

ATTN MAGDALEN-JESUS and any other Austin parents: I hope you take ConBo
to this. The climactic battle between giant robots and all the
super-spies takes place right in front of the State Capitol in Austin.
And everything has this Dr.-Seussish TexMex look that's like San
Antonio as painted by Salvidor Dali.

I should mention that the young actresses in it are DISCOMFITINGLY

4th Stangian Orthodox MegaFisTemple Lodge of the Wrath of Dobbs Yeti,
Resurrected (Rev. Ivan Stang, prop.)


From: subspecies23@aol.comyourmom (SubSpecies23)

You mean people actually watch those movies? Ugh.



From: hellpopehuey@subgenius.com (HellPopeHuey)

"Rev. Ivan Stang" <stang@subgenius.com> wrote:
> it will probably give you a headache by the end.

That's what real life is all about.

>which had Princess Wei and me
> holding onto each other for dear life.

This too.

> I would
> recommend it to most of my friends.

But not this.


HellPope Huey, hellpopehuey@subgenius.com
Yes, there's a PLACE for you in this world,
even if you look like 12 pounds of buffalo ass
in a 5-pound, see-through brassiere.

"We did what we did because it was right...not to be remembered.
History will attend to itself; it always does."
- "Babylon 5"

"Like some great Vegas magician,
I have to pull a dog out of the toilet, VOOMP!"
- Denis Leary


From: "Rev. Ivan Stang" <stang@subgenius.com>

SubSpecies23 <subspecies23@aol.comyourmom> wrote:
> You mean people actually watch those movies? Ugh.

I repeat:

This WOULD be a GREAT movie to attend with the date who hasn't grown up
and isn't trying to be "cool."

If you're between kid and parent and trying your damndest not to look
like a kid anymore, then by god DON'T be seen anywhere near the LINE
for a movie like this.


From: "Rev. Ivan Stang" <stang@subgenius.com>

HellPopeHuey <hellpopehuey@subgenius.com> wrote:
> "Rev. Ivan Stang" <stang@subgenius.com> wrote:
> > it will probably give you a headache by the end.
> That's what real life is all about.
> >which had Princess Wei and me
> > holding onto each other for dear life.
> This too.
> > I would
> > recommend it to most of my friends.
> But not this.

Don't worry. Cool and mature, 20-somethings-style, will always win
out. Wei and I were literally the only two spazzes in the theater for
this children's movie. You don't have to fret that somebody else
besides me and Wei might be seeing a movie that isn't mature and cool.
Everyone else in Cleveland Heights is cool. They all went to see
Terminator 3 and those other movies, the real intelligent stuff for

But SPY KIDS 3 beat the shit out of Matrix Reloaded, The Hulk, Spy Kids
2, or the other movies I've downloaded lately. Less childish. At least
Rodriguez is grown up enough to stop trying so FUCKING hard to be cool.

You cannot imagine how refreshing such a thing is for some of us.

I liked "Resident Evil" too! AHAHAHAHAHA!!!!


From: "U. M. Zaporets" <reverend_jim_jones@yahoo.com>

"HellPopeHuey" <hellpopehuey@subgenius.com> wrote:
> Yeah, you get to have the pleasure of the AFTERMATH, as the
> radioactive cloud spreads ino the tertiary zones, making your teeth &
> hair slowly fall out as you hemorrhage from every orifice. That sure
> does sound like a whiz-bang of a jubilee to ME.

Ah, but I could revel in schadenfreude, at least until the bloody vomit and
liverspots started. Then that pleasure would devolve to those smug
lantern-jawed military wonks, buttoned up safely underground with filtered
air and pneumatic women. Bastards.

But I feel certain that my dirt hole covered with a suitably sturdy door
would protect me from the worst of it without completely ruining the
possibility of grotesque mutations. After a month or so, I would be ready to
emerge and assume my rightful title as The Overdog of Zaporetstahn, Formerly
Known As Northern Colorado.

>Anyway, I agree with you about the nuke scene. I want
> that on a loop.

Splice in some Col. Slim Pickens bomb-riding, stock footage, the only good
bit from True Lies, the surprisingly easy-to-deal-with loss of Baltimore in
the Sum of All Fears, snippets of Duck And Cover, WOPR trajectory
projections, and any other worthy armageddon scenes. Then you got yourself a

Less plot! More free neutrons!

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