4D flicks are the next best thing at least according to director Robert Rodriguez, whose 4th installment of the family flick “Spy Kids: All the Time in the World” releases in theaters this Friday.
The director, composer, writer and producer, who re-introduced 3D movies in 2001, with the release of the first in the Spy Kids series, knew that with the fourth franchise, he had to top a digital phenomenon that’s becoming the norm in modern day cinema.
“There hadn’t been a 3D movie in 20 years, and Spy Kids started that whole resurgence of 3D, so for the fourth, we knew we had to go 4D, and come up with more stuff and more gadgets,” shares Rodriguez, whose directional debut “El Mariachi” won a Sundance Film Festival Award in 2001.
A live-action family flick, where average kids become mini-spies, “Spy Kids” stars Jeremy Piven, Joel Mchale, and franchise favorite Jessica Alba and sees the return of Alex Vega and Juni Cortez the original Spy Kids.
“Children at that age really want to be empowered,” Rodriguez continues. “Seeing other kids flying around and saving the world completely fuels their dreams, so anything that draws them closer to that experience, like being able to smell what their characters are smelling, makes them feel like they are part of the movie more. They identify even more with those characters,” adds the director who has five kids of his own.
With a familiar theme of family values coupled with mind blowing gadgets, and a robot dog, moviegoers will employ the sense smell for their 4D experience with numbered scratch and sniff cards. As the corresponding numbers flash on screen, viewers are encouraged to participate by scratching and sniffing their cards.
A new type of viewing experience, the movie’s concept began to take shape in 2009 while Rodriguez was filming “Machete” with his frequent collaborator and friend Alba, who had recently given birth.
“I saw Jessica changing her baby’s exploding diaper and got the idea to cast her as a spy mom. I got excited about it and started writing the part for her and coming up with the idea to revitalize the series with a new set of kids,” he explains.
As with previous films, he’s created a family with real issues that both kids and parents can relate to: parents that are too busy working to spend time with their family, kids who are too distracted with other things and a new mom balancing motherhood with returning to work.
“I wanted to see a modern mom,” weighs in Alba on her attraction to the role. “Someone who is trying to work and deal with family as I think a lot of women want to relate to characters they see on the big screen.”
The 4D release was something Rodriguez held back from the actors during filming.
“I wanted to keep it secret so nobody else would have a 4D out there. When you say it, it kinda gets out there in the universe. It was pretty fun to figure out, but coming up with new gadgets was the hardest part. We were just jam packed with ideas.”
Rodriguez, who glides easily between R-rated movies and PG flicks is currently working on sequels for both “Sin City” and “Machete” at his fully equipped CG studio studio in Austin, Texas.
“We are just finishing the script for that and will start the shooting soon,” he says.