While grownups at Black Box Industries work to improve the handheld gizmo that's this year's high-tech must-have, neighbourhood kid Toby "Toe" Thompson has something even better: he's found the Wishing Rock. Be careful what you wish for, Toe! Spy Kids filmmaker Robert Rodriguez hatches a fun-filled story of the chaos that erupts when folks young and old get their hands on the rainbow-striped stone. Hang out with an army of tiny outer-space friends? Turn a pesky brother into a beetle? Own a mountain of cash? Be the most powerful person in the world?
To be honest, we didn’t think we’d be impressed with this movie after glancing at its DVD cover. A bunch of kids who look like they starred in some low rating TV series reject. A gang of adults forced to look ridiculously stupid in their getups behind the kids. A scattering of other B grade looking monsters and creatures around the kids. How can any self respecting movie goer find this appealing? How can anyone finish watching the movie and praise it for its ingenuity? If not for moviemaking master Robert Rodriguez’ name fronting this, we’d have given it a really bad rating. But because we know the man is capable of delivering the goods, we sat through all 89 minutes of the movie, and to our confirmation, we found it satisfactorily enjoyable.
Call us superficial for trusting the big names in filmmaking, but hey, that’s how the world works, dude.
The story written by Rodriguez is colourfully amusing. To put it across simply, a young boy discovers of a colourful rock which grants wishes. However, it begins to cause chaos in his hometown when baddies want to take over the world, and worse, jealous kids who want to own it for their own selfish needs.
The creative approach to telling this story is to relate them in shorts, short tales, that is. Credit has to be given to man himself whose directing credits include Planet Terror (2007), Sin City (2005) and the Spy Kids series. Put across in non chronological order, this movie will actually make you, gasp, use your brains quite a bit. But the accompanying imaginative and creative visuals will make the viewing experience lightweight and pleasurable without trivializing the whole production. The highly energized movie is fun to sit through. And if you are familiar with Rodriguez’ style, you won’t be surprised to see the end credits that he also takes on the roles of music composing, editing, cinematography and producing. What a talent, we hear you say. That’s the only way you can gain creative control, people.
Granted that this is a kids’ movie starring kids, you can bet that the characters are likeable, and the adults acting silly are all part of the package. William H. Macy (Wild Hogs, Bobby) and James Spader (TV’s Boston Legal) are two more known actors taking on the role of a scientist and a scheming businessman.
Even the monsters are amusing here. A monster created by nose picking? Eww, only someone like Rodriguez could come up with that without being slammed. Oh, and look out for a baby girl who goes around in her walker wheels prophesizing about the future of the world. It is guaranteed to draw a few chuckles from the most cynical viewer.
SPECIAL FEATURES :
There are two clips in the special features of the Code 3 DVD. In Ten Minute Cooking School: Chocolate Chip Volcano Cookies, we see Rodriguez making cookies with a kid. Err, we have no idea what purpose this 10 minute clip serves In Ten Minute Film School: Short Shorts, Rodriguez shows you how to make interesting home videos with your kids. This eight minute clips is definitely more interesting.
The visual transfer of the movie is pristine, while you can choose to watch the show in either English or Thai audio tracks.
by John Li
Posted on 31 January 2010