Monday, September 5, 2011

Spy Kids (with Smell-o-scope)

We have been doing some travelling and so our movie going activities have been slim this summer. For some reason we caught, Glee: The 3D Movie, in Australia; one advantage, we had the whole theatre to ourselves -- a private showing. That said, we paid too much for it. 

Today, we went to our first movie here in Toronto. Unlike the previous experience it was packed. I have no idea why as the weather wasn't too bad but I guess summer is officially over. The movie we saw was Spy Kids: All the Time in the World. It turns out that this is actually the fourth movie in a series that I dimly remember seeing the first of. Suffice it to say, the kids in that movie were no longer kids so they had to focus on two new ones. Same basic plot: kids think parent is lame -- in this case, a step-mother -- until she turns out to be a spy and is in need of help. We, the audience, know she is a spy right from the beginning as she goes into labour (being 9 months pregnant) and still manages to catch the bad guy. Then, with baby in tow, she sticks around the home for a year or so under the cover of being an interior decorator. The house comically breaks her cover -- or does it -- hard to know with artists. 

Anyhow, she is brought back into duty as something happens to time. What happens is an opportunity for the script writers to engage in cliche and puns on a scale never before seen in movies. Think of all the "time" and "clock" puns out there and you'll get the picture. I, for one, was thinking that I really shouldn't be spending time in this movie and the time could be better used. Apparently, that was a theme for the parents in the movie too which I guess made me wonder about the overall irony of the situation. 

But I digress. The other feature of this movie -- if the obligatory third dimension wasn't enough -- was a fourth dimension, smell. This movie included 'Smell-o-scope.' Now, it used to be the case that when you advertised that a theatre would smell that was a problem for the theatre. Well some marketing geniuses have made lemonade out of lemons and sold the smells as a feature rather than a bug. Of course, if you were expecting some technology -- pumped into the theatre or integrated into the obvious place on the 3D glasses -- you would be disappointed. They just handed you a card with numbers that you scratched to reveal a smell with the numbers carefully integrated into the movie. 

Anyhow, I had to admit that the movie producers did not seize this opportunity. With 3D they throw stuff at you to cause fear. The same was clearly possible here. They had a baby appear in the first five minutes. If you can't make a fearful smell out of that, you are not trying.

Then again, it would have been just an amusement factor for us parents or, as it was in actuality, a lot of sniffing what seemed to me to smell like cardboard. I think that fourth dimension isn't going to take off.

Now I'd like to give you more insight into the plot of the movie, how it turned out, was it suitable for kids and all that. But I can't. Somewhere around smell number 5 I feel asleep and didn't wake up until the closing credits. I was surprisingly refreshed. Hey, what do you know, I did end up using the time well. (Note to movie-makers: the 4th dimension in children's movies is to provide an environment where parents can have an afternoon nap. That is something we will pay for.)