Robert Rodriguez is once again breaking the boundaries of the moviegoing experience by pushing bravely back into the past. Spy Kids: All The Time in the World in 4D, his latest installment in the occasionally excellent Spy Kids series, will be presented in “Aroma-Scope.”
What’s the high-tech distribution method? Scratch-and-sniff cards.
In all honesty, I thought this was a joke. You know that feeling you get in today’s mediasphere when an ad or a news story is so absurd that you can’t decide whether or not it’s serious? And one half of your brain cautiously commits to the information while the other half has one hand on the emergency exit handle? Yes, that’s the feeling. The Germans should have a word for this—partly because it’s rapidly becoming the signature cognitive experience of the 21st century, but also because I love twenty-syllable German terms for phenomena that the rest of us can’t be bothered to pin down.
Rodriguez defends his choice as a kind of game for kids. “Just watching my own kids with interactive gaming, you ask them to watch a movie, it just feels so passive to them. I thought, this helps bridge the gap. It’s an interactive thing, almost like playing a game while you’re watching the movie.”
I have a grudging respect for Rodriguez. His movies are sometimes godawful, but it’s clear that he’s thinking about the ways that his audiences experience movies. And he’s willing to get a bit silly to give people a little extra. For the grownups, that something extra is Jessica Alba and Joel McHale. For kids, it’s a card that smells like poopy diapers. Fair enough.
Spy Kids 4 opens August 19.